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For researchers

Researchers at ISM – meaning anyone affiliated with ISM who conducts research, but applying in particular to faculty members who engage in research and publication in a professional, affiliated capacity – have a specific set of responsibilities, generally referred to as research ethics and research integrity.

 

Principles of Research Ethics

The UK Research Integrity Office’s ‘Code of Practice for Research’, perhaps Europe’s leading guide, describes the principles of ethics in research as follows:

“Organisations and researchers should adhere to the following Principles, which set out the responsibilities and values relevant to research. While some elements may seem self evident, and there is some overlap, these Principles aim to encourage all involved in research to consider the wider consequences of their work and to engage critically with the practical, ethical and intellectual challenges that are inherent in the conduct of high quality research, rather than treating codes of practice such as this as just another procedure to be followed.

Excellence:

Organisations and researchers should strive for excellence when conducting research and aim to produce and disseminate work of the highest quality. This Code, its Principles and its Standards are intended to support these goals.

Honesty:

Organisations should work to create and maintain a culture of research that fosters and supports honesty in research. Researchers should be honest in relation to their own research and that of others. They should do their utmost to ensure the accuracy of data and results, acknowledge the contributions of others, and neither engage in misconduct nor conceal it.

Integrity:

Organisations and researchers must comply with all legal and ethical requirements relevant to their field of study. They should declare any potential or actual conflicts of interest relating to research and where necessary take steps to resolve them.

Cooperation:

Organisations and researchers should promote the open exchange of ideas, research methods, data and results and their discussion, scrutiny and debate, subject to any considerations of confidentiality.

Accountability:

Organisations and researchers should recognise that in and through their work they are ultimately accountable to the general public and should act accordingly. They should ensure that any research undertaken complies with any agreements, terms and conditions relating to the project, and allows for proper governance and transparency. Researchers should follow the requirements and guidance of any professional bodies in their field of research. Researchers who are members of a regulated profession must follow the requirements and guidance of the body regulating their profession.

Training and skills:

Organisations should provide training and opportunities for development for their researchers, and the necessary resources to enable them to conduct research to the required standards. They should support researchers in identifying unmet needs for training and development. Researchers should ensure that they have the necessary skills, training and resources to carry out research, in the proposed research team or through collaboration with specialists in relevant fields, and report and resolve any unmet needs identified.

Safety:

Organisations and researchers should ensure the dignity, rights, safety and wellbeing of all involved in research and avoid unreasonable risk or harm to research subjects, patients, participants, researchers and others. They should report and address any concerns relating to the dignity, rights, safety and wellbeing of those involved in research. Research should be initiated and continued only if the anticipated benefits justify the risks involved.”

 

Resources

The Committee believes it is absolutely critical that ISM researchers continually educate themselves on, and conform to, the principles of research ethics and integrity. While it is a complex and dynamic set of responsibilities, the Committee advises ISM’s researchers to familiarise themselves with, and frequently consult, the following resources.

  • The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity was developed by All European Academies (ALLEA) and the European Science Foundation (ESF). “It is a living document that will be reviewed every three to five years and revised as necessary to take account of evolving concerns, so that it can continue to serve the research community as a framework for good research practice. The current revision is motivated by developments in, among others: the European research funding and regulatory landscapes; institutional responsibilities; scientific communication; review procedures; open access publishing; the use of repositories; and the use of social media and citizen involvement in research. Initiated by the ALLEA Permanent Working Group on Science and Ethics, the revision included extensive consultation among major stakeholders in European research, both public and private, to ensure a sense of shared ownership.”
     
  • The UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) is an independent body “which provides expert advice and guidance about the conduct of research”. The Committee recommends the following resources published by the UKRIO:
     
  • The Belmont Report is one of the leading works on the ethics of biomedical and behavioural research involving human subjects. Of particular interest to ISM researchers will be the sections on behavioural research. The report considers the following issues relevant to ISM’s research areas:
     
    • the role of assessment of risk-benefit criteria in the determination of the appropriateness of research involving human subjects;
    • appropriate guidelines for the selection of human subjects for participation in such research; and 
    • the nature and definition of informed consent in various research settings.
       

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues, and provides an excellent framework for research ethics that “helps you to consider ethics issues during the complete lifecycle of a project and includes information and guidelines on good research conduct and governance.”