The development and evolution of ethics review boards – Israel as a case study

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Although well established in developed countries, Ethics review boards in the academia, and specifically for social and behavioral sciences (SBS) research, is a relatively new, and still a controversy inducing endeavor. This study explores the establishment and functioning of ERBs in Israeli academia, serving as a case study for the challenges and progress made in ensuring ethical research practices in non-medical related spheres. A purposeful sample of 46 participants was selected, comprising ERB current or past members and SBS researchers, who each interacted extensively with ERB’s evaluation processes. The participants came from all eight research universities of Israel, as well as seven large public and private academic colleges. Open, semi structured In-depth interviews were conducted in order to facilitate a critical reflective stance among the various participants, exploring their experiences, behaviors and the meanings they assign to ERB processes. Our research revealed two major themes. The first is the developmental trajectories in the construction processes of ERBs in Israel, comprised of the following stages: Initiation, expansion, opposition, and acceptance and assimilation. The second was a typology of participation throughout the ERBs’ construction process. Inspired by Merton’s strain theory, this typology includes conformists, ritualists, ideologists, control-freaks, and insurgents. The findings expose a unique perspective into the initiation, establishment, and development of ERBs, which can shed light on the role of ERBs in general, as well as point out how resistance to ERBs, as well as the different reasons for championing them, affected not only ERBs form and their legitimacy, but also their interaction with researchers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch Ethics
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • ERB
  • Ethics review board
  • historical development
  • IRB
  • research ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Philosophy


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