Q: Is an ethics application required for a secondary research on a cost-effectiveness evaluation?

Detailed Question -

I’m planning to perform a research and submit a manuscript about a cost-effectiveness evaluation in the psychiatry area. The research design is a cost-effectiveness simulation that refers to a published medical paper (QOL value, effect size of systematic review) and public data issued by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. An ethics application would generally not be required for this area. Or would it be for the research I am planning?

1 Answer to this question

We can possibly see why you are concerned about this, as you are working in psychiatry and this research seems to touch upon the topic of quality of life (QOL) of individuals. However, you are right. No ethics approval is needed for such a study, as no new data is being collected. So, you are good to proceed; but it’s great that you are doing due diligence. :-)

Incidentally, your research sounds interesting, and we would love to know how it turns out. However, it’s not entirely clear if you are working on a simple literature review, a systematic review, a meta-analysis, or something that is between primary research and secondary research. Our curiosity is because you mentioned that the design is some sort of simulation. In case you are working on a meta-analysis, note that you will need to register your review protocol.

Also, it’s not clear if you meant ‘cost-effective evaluation’ or ‘cost-effectiveness evaluation.’ The former means that the evaluation is cost-effective, that is, it is worthy for the cost. The latter means that you are doing an evaluation of the cost and the effectiveness of a proposed solution.

Anyway, for more information on developing secondary research articles, you may refer to these resources:

And for help with editing the paper, you may refer to our Scientific Editing Service here.

All the best for your paper!