Oral Presentation Australasian Association of Bioethics & Health Law and New Zealand Bioethics Conference

WORKSHOP (60 minutes): Research classification in bioethics: What should it be FoR? (1005)

Ainsley Newson 1 , Angela Ballantyne 2 , Wendy Lipworth 1 , Angus Dawson 1
  1. Sydney Health Ethics, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  2. Department of Primary Health Care & General Practice, University of Otago Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand

Research in Australia and New Zealand is subject to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC). This is a set of three classifications for measuring and analysing research: (i) the type of activity; (ii) the socio-economic objective, or SeO; and (iii) the field of research, or FoR. 

Anyone who has submitted a grant or lodged a paper in their institution's repository will have been asked to provide these classifications. These then filter through to research quality assessment, such as which panel a grant application is allocated to, or what disciplinary norms should be used when assessing research outputs.

There is much for bioethicists to like about the ANZSRC. Some of the SeOs are explicitly relevant to our research. There are also FoR codes specific to bioethics, which puts us at an advantage compared to some other countries. And yet, the ANZSRC is also a source of frustration...

After a decade of operation, the ANZSRC is currently under review. In that time, we have seen significant changes to bioethics research, not least the greater use of empirical methods.

At this workshop, we will discuss how the ANZSRC can best serve bioethics. Focusing on FoR codes, we will ask:

  • Do the current FoR codes work for bioethics? Why or why not?
  • Do we need new FoR codes for bioethics? If so, where should they sit?
  • Should FoR codes be used to determine who assesses our research? If not, then what?
  • How can the ANZSRC best account for interdisciplinarity?