Australia’s social science research, like that in most developed countries since the infamous Milgram experiments took place at my alma mater in 1961, occurs under the watchful eye of ethics boards.University ethics boards assess research involving human subjects against standards, such as the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. The standards are guided by the core value of respect for the individual research participant.This value is of fundamental importance. Yet the recent case of a University of Queensland professor having controversial research suppressed, together with my own experience, makes me question whether this core value is truly what guides our ethics boards and those who appeal to their oversight.The Queensland case involves Professor Paul Frijters, with whom I have co-authored research.His paper, first released in 2013 with PhD student Redzo Mujcic, explored racism in Brisbane.While the study initially received the all-clear from the relevant research coordinator due to the study being judged low risk, after its politically inconvenient findings came to light, Frijters found himself “victimised”for having conducted the study. Soon after his paper came out, he faced research misconduct charges alleging his research had not had the proper ethical clearance.According to my review of the public interest disclosure that Frijters submitted to UQ more than six months ago, the way in which the university has pursued these misconduct charges can only be described as poor, opening the university up to questions of misconduct. The University of Queensland declined to comment on the case