Responsibilities for ethical research

Within a framework of good governance and appropriate training, responsibility for the conduct of ethical research must ultimately lie with the researchers themselves.

They will be expected to recognise the relevant ethical principles, to operate within the spirit of these principles, and be able to justify any research activity that does not accord with these principles.

Principle 1: Protection of the participants' interests

  • Gain informed consent from participants
  • Protect the interests of vulnerable groups
  • Assure the anonymity of participants, where appropriate
  • Assure the confidentiality of information, where appropriate
  • Respect the privacy of participants (and avoid undue intrusion)
  • Operate with transparency (open dealings with participants)
  • Provide equality of treatment

Principle 2: Compliance with the law

  • Ensure data security
  • Establish ownership of the data (intellectual property and copyright)
  • Recognise legal (and moral) sensitivities surrounding the topic of research
  • Use legally acceptable methods of research (avoiding fraud, 'hacking', 'spamming' etc)
  • Operate within the law (such as compliance with the Data Protection Act and equality legislation) and Government policy (such as Safeguarding)

Principle 3: Scientific integrity and beneficence

  • Inform the ethics reviewer of any significant changes made to the protocol following approval
  • Demonstrate the value of conducting the research
  • Have the necessary credentials (researcher qualifications and experience)
  • Use an appropriate research design (with suitable strategies and methods)
  • Be open and honest in dealing with colleagues and funding agencies

Principle 4: Safety

  • Protect participants from risks to physical and / or psychological harm or distress

Ensure protection of your own personal safety and that of any collaborators