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Clinician gate-keeping is the process whereby healthcare providers prevent access to eligible patients for research recruitment. This paper contends that clinician gate-keeping violates three principles that underpin international ethical guidelines: respect for persons or autonomy; beneficence or a favourable balance of risks and potential benefits; and justice or a fair distribution of the benefits and burdens of research. In order to stimulate further research and debate, three possible strategies are also presented to eliminate gate-keeping: partnership with professional researchers; collaborative research design and clinician education.

Original publication




Journal article


J Med Ethics

Publication Date





363 - 366


Biomedical Research, Cooperative Behavior, Ethics, Medical, Humans, Interprofessional Relations, Patient Rights, Patient Selection, Personal Autonomy