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Research code of conduct
An Ethical Code for Research
1. It attaches considerable importance to the maintenance of high ethical standards in the research undertaken by its academic and research staff and students, whether supported directly by it or funded from external sources. It is our obligation to ensure that research undertaken in it is conducted to appropriate standards, conforms to generally accepted ethical principles and is in line with the values of the College of Cambridge Kipp.
2. It recognizes that in many cases outside research partners or funding organisations have their own ethical standards. A number of funding bodies already require research proposals to undergo independent ethical scrutiny, a trend which is likely to increase. This ethical code should be seen as a complement to these existing standards, not replacing them."cambridgekipp"
3. Companies and Foundations increasingly ask suppliers and business partners about their commitment to ethics and transparency. Addressing ethics may therefore make it more attractive to potential business or funding partners.
Where does this Code apply?
4. Ethical issues can arise in a wide range of situations, including those relating to ideas, plagiarism, teaching advice, research and other pedagogical information,safety and the environment, professional practice, employment, race and religious equality, intellectual property, patent and legal issues, responsible research, computers, data storage, confidentiality and new technology. The relationship between it and its national and international funders and commercial partners naturally provides scope for conflict of interest and ethical dilemmas. International research may bring along additional difficulties which may not be encountered within the UK.
5. Legislation will dictate in many situations how to approach and solve ethical dilemmas, but this will not always be the case. However, legislation should not be the only driver of it’s approach to ethical issues.
6. All research involving human participants, identifiable personal and/or medical data or animals, can be subject to ethical scrutiny by the researchers and by it of Technology’s Research Ethics Group.
7. All materials prepared for examinations or for submission to conferences and publications, should be submitted according to the highest academic standards with respect to recognition of previous work and the involvement of other researchers.
8. It is, in the first instance, up to the individuals and the individual research teams and their PIs to determine what is, and is not, acceptable behaviour for their organisations. In all circumstances, researchers should act with rigour, honesty and integrity in all their scientific work. They are also required to have respect for life, public good and act within the law. They have to ensure that their work is lawful, and justified, minimising any adverse effect their work may have on people, animals and the natural environment. Any of the following factors are likely to make the ethical context more complicated:
i. Subjects in research who are minors or have disabilities;
ii. Experiments that are likely to cause physical or mental distress or embarrassment; in all cases, consent forms should make it clear that subjects can withdraw at any time;
iii. Experiments and/or data analysis and interpretation involving deception;
iv. Data storage in any form that would allow individuals to be identified.
It is the scientists’ responsibility to seek further guidance in case of doubt. The Psychology Research Ethics Committee has published a useful handbook giving guidance on policy issues and pointers to further documents.
9. It does not require applicants to seek permission for every application, provided that:
a. Due consideration is given by the applicants to the policy;
b. Advice has been sought in case of doubt; However, the School’s Research Ethics Group should be informed prior to commencing research programmes on human participants or material derived from humans. All applicants using human subjects or human-derived materials must apply to the Human Biology Research Ethics Committee or Psychology Research Ethics Committee for ethical approval and comply with the Human Tissue Act (2004). The Human Tissue Act regulates removal, storage and use of human tissue and makes consent the fundamental principle underpinning the lawful storage and use of body parts, organs, tissues and cells from the living or the deceased for specified health-related purposes. It also creates a new offence of DNA “theft”, i.e. having human tissue with the intention of its DNA being analysed without the permission of the person from whence it came.
10. Where required, independent ethical scrutiny can be dealt with by a School Research Ethics Group with a minimum membership of three faculty members who have no personal or departmental conflict of interest with respect to the particular research proposal concerned plus a Human Resources and legal representative. Under normal circumstances, this Research Ethics Group will be chaired by the Head of the School, or his/her representative. He/she may count as one of the membership of five, provided that he or she has no such conflict of interest. The Research Ethics Group may, at its discretion, request advice and guidance from colleagues within the School with particular expertise, and in addition may call upon outside experts to assist with advice as required. The Group will aim wherever possible to notify the applicant of positive advice or
difficulties with the proposal within maximum two weeks of the request. It is recommended that this time delay should therefore be incorporated into the research proposal preparation timetable at an early stage. If difficulties with positive advice arise, the Research Ethics Group will consult with the applicant and seek to resolve the issues. In case of conflict within the Research Ethics Group, the decision of the chair on the advice will be binding.
11. The Research Ethics Group can be called upon to provide independent ethical advice where a funding body requires it, where a researcher requests it, or where
the Chair of the School deems it necessary.
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