Making a complaint

Making a complaint

If you have any concerns about the conduct of researchers or about the research study itself, you can make a query or complaint.

What codes of conduct should researchers follow?

Human research (clinical, social and other health research)
All research involving humans must be conducted in an ethical way. In Australia, this means that research with humans must follow the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines – National statement on ethical conduct in human research. All proposals for human research studies must be approved by a recognised Human Research Ethics Committee (usually at hospitals, universities or government departments) before they can go ahead.

Market research
Many Australian market researchers belong to the Australian Market and Social Research Society (AMSRS) and/or the Association of Market & Social Research Organisations (AMSRO) and follow their codes of practice:

  • AMSRS Code of Professional Behaviour – see for more information
  • AMSRO Market and Social Research Privacy Principles – see for more information

Research relating to medicines
Any research about medicines in Australia must follow the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct. This means that:

  • The sole purpose of market research about medicines is to collect relevant and useful information to improve the quality use of medicines
  • Market research cannot be used as a means to promote a product to members of the general public
  • Payments for participating in research should be kept to a minimum and only be at the level to cover the time involved.

For more information, visit the Medicines Australia web site -

Making a complaint

There are different processes to make a query or complaint about a researcher or research study, depending on the type of research.

Human research (clinical, social, psychological, multidisciplinary, health services)
Contact the Human Research Ethics Committee that approved the research study. This information will be in the plain language information about the project and on the consent form.

Market research
Privacy: if the issue relates to privacy and the organisation is an AMSRO member, you can make a complaint to the organisation. If this is not resolved within 30 days, you can refer the complaint to the Privacy Commissioner – see for more information.

If the complaint relates to the behaviour of an individual researcher, and the individual is a member of AMSRS, you can make a complaint to the AMSRS Professional Standards Officer - see for more information.

Research relating to medicines
You can lodge a Code of Conduct complaint with Medicines Australia - see for more information.

Last Updated: 8th Apr 16