Ethics FAQs

Visit the JCU Connect website and select an option (i.e. animal, human, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research) under the heading “ethics and integrity”.

Contact Human Ethics Officer, Ext 16575, or

Animal Ethics Officer, Ext 14484,

The ethics office and staff are located at:

Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas

JCU Connect, Room 310, Building 142 (The Science Place), James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, 4811.

Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield

JCU Connect, Room 102A, Building E2 (Sir Robert Norman Building), James Cook University, Smithfield, QLD, 4878

Human Ethics

If your project has already received approval from a Health Service District HREC or any external HREC, the JCU HREC will accept the decisions of these committees and release a JCU ethics acknowledgement after a brief internal check of the above documentation.

Visit the web page.

Yes, you do – visit the human ethics web pages for further information.

Snowball recruitment is a useful recruitment technique, but researchers must be aware of privacy concerns. Disclosure of any personal information relating to a third party without prior consent breaches privacy provisions (see National Privacy Principles (Principle 1 – Collection) and the Queensland Privacy Act - Fact Sheet 29). The acceptable method of snowball recruitment is to request participants to pass on the details of the project (or pass on an information sheet for the study) to potential volunteers who may then contact the researcher direct if they are interested in the study. At no time should participants be asked for contact details of potential volunteers.

Surveys or questionnaires may be submitted to the HREC in draft or if a draft is not available a representative sample of questions may be submitted. (When available, the final version of the survey/questionnaire must be forwarded to the Human Ethics Officer.)

For standard published psychology questionnaires and test material, please include reference details in the application for these documents.

On-line surveys should include a “preamble” of consent before participants are allowed to begin the survey, i.e. an “I agree” icon. The preamble should adequately explain what is required of participants and time expected to be taken to complete the survey.

As telephone interviews can be intrusive, ethics applications should explain why this is the most appropriate method of interview in relation to the aims of the project. This protocol should only be used for low or negligible risk research. The target participants should receive an information sheet before any telephone contact is made by the researcher. A script of the telephone interview must be submitted with the application, i.e. introduction and verbal consent statement and draft or sample questions. Please note that telephone interviews cannot be taped unless consent is obtained.

House to house surveying must be justified in relation to the aims of your project, as the most appropriate method of gathering data. The researcher must be accompanied by at least one other person, wear JCU identification and carry a mobile phone.

You will be required to have a COVID Safe Plan when engaging face-to-face with community members, research volunteers, JCU staff and students.

JCU HREC can approve studies that involve patients/clients from private practices (non-health service district patients), such as General Practices, physiotherapy, speech clinics etc. You should also check with the practice if they have a requirement for you to obtain approval from other ethics bodies etc.

In accordance with the National Statement incentives are allowed, but the payment or incentive must not be disproportionate to the time involved, or … encourage participants to take risks (2.2.10). The HREC considers incentives on a case by case basis in relation to the aims and protocols of the study.

External organisations – letters of support/approval from external organisations should be included in your ethics application when it is submitted to the HREC. If letters have not been received by time of submission, it should be clearly stated in the application that these letters will be forwarded to the Human Ethics Officer when received.

Approval access to JCU students: Head of School approval must be sought to access students in specific disciplines or courses. To access the general JCU student body, approval should be sought from the Registrar.

If your project involves the use of a translator, i.e. information sheets and consent forms translated into another language, you must include a statement outlining the details and experience of the translator in your application.

Animal Welfare and Ethics

Visit the Animal Welfare and Ethics web pages.

You will need ethics approval for observational studies, as you may be disturbing habitats of other species. See guidelines and details.

Yes, there are specific guidelines for euthanasia of different types of animals.

You will need to contact the Manager, Animal Welfare and Research Ethics, request permission and provide certain information on your organisation and planned animal use. This request will then need to be considered by the AEC. If approved, you will need to inform the Queensland Regulator, Biosecurity Queensland, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. You will need to provide your scientific use number with the animal ethics application and sign a non-affiliated institutional agreement to access the AEC.

If you are affiliated with JCU (i.e. an Adjunct Professor, Research Fellow, a student from another organisation formally supervised by a JCU staff member) you may be able to work under JCU's scientific use registration. You must provide written evidence of the affiliation with the animal ethics application."

If you have any concerns, complaints. or enquiries about animals at JCU, you can contact the Ethics Office confidentially.