Journal of Medical Internet Research
Vol 19, No 2 (2017): February
Navigating Ethics in the Digital Age: Introducing Connected and Open Research Ethics (CORE), a Tool for Researchers and Institutional Review Boards
John Torous, Camille Nebeker
Research studies that leverage emerging technologies, such as passive sensing devices and mobile apps, have demonstrated encouraging potential with respect to favorably influencing the human condition. As a result, the nascent fields of mHealth and digital medicine have gained traction over the past decade as demonstrated in the United States by increased federal funding for research that cuts across a broad spectrum of health conditions. The existence of mHealth and digital medicine also introduced new ethical and regulatory challenges that both institutional review boards (IRBs) and researchers are struggling to navigate. In response, the Connected and Open Research Ethics (CORE) initiative was launched. The CORE initiative has employed a participatory research approach, whereby researchers and IRB affiliates are involved in identifying the priorities and functionality of a shared resource. The overarching goal of CORE is to develop dynamic and relevant ethical practices to guide mHealth and digital medicine research. In this Viewpoint paper, we describe the CORE initiative and call for readers to join the CORE Network and contribute to the bigger conversation on ethics in the digital age.