The Timing of Research Consent

The Timing of Research Consent
Benjamin Sachs
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 28 September 2021
Open Access
This essay is about the timing of research consent, a process that involves (potential) participants being given information about, among other things, upcoming research interventions and then being invited to waive their claims against those interventions being undertaken. The standard practice, as regards timing, is as follows: (potential) participants are invited to waive all their claims at a single moment in time, and that point in time immediately follows the information-provision. I argue that there we’re not justified in keeping to this practice. What we ought to do is disaggregate the claim-waiving part of the process and move it later, such that the (potential) participant is invited to waive her claim against the undertaking of any given intervention only the immediate moment before that intervention is to be undertaken.

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