• Open Access

The Establishment of Research Ethics Consultation Services (RECS): An Emerging Research Resource


  • All authors contributed to study and survey. J.B.M. and A.L.O. collected and analyzed the data; J.B.M. drafted the manuscript; and R.R.S., A.L.O., C.R.R., H.A.T., and B.S.W. made significant contributions to writing the final document.

Correspondence: Jennifer B. McCormick (mccormick.jb@mayo.edu)


Emphasis on translational research to facilitate progression from the laboratory into the community also creates a dynamic in which ethics and social policy questions and solutions are ever pressing. In response, academic institutions are creating Research Ethics Consultation Services (RECS). All Clinical Translational Science Award institutions were surveyed in early 2010 to determine which institutions have a RECS in operation and what is their composition and function. Of the 46 institutions surveyed, 33 (70%) have a RECS. Only 15 RECS have received any consult requests in the last year. Issues that are common among these relatively nascent services include relationships with institutional oversight committees, balancing requestor concerns about confidentiality with research integrity and human subjects protection priorities, tracking consult data and outcomes, and developing systems for internal evaluation. There is variability in how these issues are approached. It will be important to be attentive to the institutional context to develop an appropriate approach. Further data about the issues raised by requestors and the recommendations provided are necessary to build a community of scholars who can navigate and resolve ethical issues encountered along the translational research pathway. Clin Trans Sci 2013; Volume 6: 40–44