Ethics FAQs

Visit the Research and innovation Services 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

Research and Innovation Services, Room 310, Building 142 (The Science Place), James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, 4811.

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.

Yes, if possible you need to submit the final version of questionnaires and interview guides with the application. The version that is approved with the application is the version that must be used in the research.

If your questions may change or are dependent on the initial phase of the research, you can submit a draft version with the application, being sure to explain why it is the draft, and then submit the final version with an amendment at a later time.

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. This is called 'implied consent'. The preamble should contain all the information that would normally be on the Participant Information Sheet.

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.

Download the AEC's Application Guide for details of the AEC's processes and a guide to completing the application forms.

You will need ethics approval for observational studies, but the AEC has a shorter version of their application form for these studies. See the AEC's Application Guide for information on applying for observational-only activities.

The JCU AEC has a guide to humane killing of animals in research on their Resources, Downloads and Links page.

There are also other guides and resources on various aspects of scientific animal use available on that page.

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.