Poster Paper: In Pursuit of High Acclaim Through Higher Accreditation: The Use of Aaalac Versus Ahrpp Accreditation As a Signaling Device for Ethicality in R&D in Asii

Friday, November 8, 2013
West End Ballroom A (Washington Marriott)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Sara Jordan, University of Hong Kong
Emerging economies struggle to demonstrate their trustworthiness as partners in high-risk, high-reward business sectors.  This is particularly true in the area of research and development, where risks include accusations of violations of the rights of human participants and animal subjects, but the rewards can include patents on "blockbuster drugs" worth millions.  In the 1990s and 2000s, some of the Asian Tiger economies pursued a strategy of positioning themselves as trustworthy partners in this sector by actively pursuing accrediation of their programs by agencies with stringent standards.  For example, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea, and later the PRC, sought the accrediation of their human research participant programs by AHRPP while also pursuing accrediation of their laboratory animal programs through AAALAC.  The choice to pursue AAALAC accrediation versus AHRPP appears, from an examination of preliminary data, to lend support for the hypothesis that countries' choice of a difficul accreditor (AAALAC) for high visibility institutions (e.g., Seoul National University) is purposeful manipulaiton of the accreditation environment to enhance outsiders' perception that this nation is particularly trustworthy.

In the face of stiff competition from other small regional powers in Asia as well as in the face of competition from the overwhelming economies of scale held by the PRC, Singaporea nd South Korea sought, preferntially, ot have their IRBs and ULACs (or equivalent acronym) accredited by US-based non-profit agencies that oversee research conduct.  This purposeful choice of difficult accrediting bodies is used as a signalling devce to convey trustworthiness of organizations, such as unviersiteis, even in the face of perceptions of poor management or even corruption on the part of the local government. The consequence of my research, if the hypothesis appears to be true, is that nations seeking to develop their economies ought to pursue accreditation vigorously, but also that these agencies ought to take precautions to prevent their services from becoming a monopolistic "gold standard" for an industry that these non-profits are not prepared to handle.