This article discusses the development of guidelines to ensure that researchers work in culturally appropriate and non-exploitative ways with indigenous Australian populations. Reflecting the concerns of some research populations in developing countries, the authors note that indigenous communties in north-east Victoria had had negative experiences with research projects because of the lack of community control, lack of local benefits, and interpretation of data in isolation from social context.

The resulting guidelines are based on the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Guidelines on Ethical Matters in Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Health Research and include input from researchers and community representatives.

Issues covered include appropriate consultation measures before research is done in populations that work and act collectively, topics that needed to be agreed between the community and researchers before the start of research, ongoing community involvement in the research and implementation of any outcomes, administration of local ethical review of research, supervision of inexperienced researchers, and data storage and retention.


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