The two-part guidance, Good Practice in Research and Consent to Research, is intended to help GPs' decision-making through their research projects.
GPs engaged in research are obliged to report any evidence of financial or scientific fraud that they encounter to an employer or contracting body, and where appropriate to the GMC or other regulatory bodies, the guidance says.
The guidance also provides advice on research design, recruiting participants, seeking consent and the publication and dissemination of research, as well as the safety and well-being of participants.
Ros Levenson, chair of the GMC's Standards and Ethics Reference Group, said: 'Research is a vital area but it is often difficult to navigate.
We know that researchers work in a complex regulatory environment and face challenging ethical issues every day.'
The guidance takes account of recent changes to legislation and in society, as well as views expressed during consultation.
Ms Levenson said it was a starting point for all doctors involved in research.
The guidance coincided with the release of CONSORT 2010, the latest iteration of the guidelines for the reporting of randomised controlled trials.