There are many ethical considerations when undertaking research. Key amongst these are the protection of human participants, welfare of animal subjects, handling of personal data and respect for intellectual property. Various codes of conduct and policies exist to guide ethical behaviour and researchers should refer to those most appropriate to their discipline or area of study – see useful links. Reference should also be made to the University’s Research Ethics Policy and guidance documents detailing Research Ethics: Definitions, Principles and Responsibilities and Definition of key terms.
The University is committed to promoting safe environments free from abuse, harassment, bulling and physical violence for all individuals conducting or participating in our research and innovation activities. Our Code of Practice clarifies the responsibilities of the University and its researchers towards those that participate in our research and innovation activities.
Read our Safeguarding Code of Practice
Research involving human participants
With regard to research involving human participants, the University adheres to the six key principles outlined in the ESRC Framework for Research Ethics:
- Research should aim to maximise benefit for individuals and society and minimise risk and harm
- The rights and dignity of individuals and groups should be respected
- Wherever possible, participation should be voluntary and appropriately informed
- Research should be conducted with integrity and transparency
- Lines of responsibility and accountability should be clearly defined
- Independence of research should be maintained and where conflicts of interest cannot be avoided they should be made explicit.
Research involving animals
For research involving animals, the University adheres to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) and the principles of replacement, reduction and refinement:
- The principle of replacement is the principle that, wherever possible, a scientifically satisfactory method or testing strategy not entailing the use of protected animals must be used instead of a regulated procedure.
- The principle of reduction is the principle that whenever a programme of work involving the use of protected animals is carried out the number of protected animals used must be reduced to a minimum without compromising the objectives of the programme.
- The principle of refinement is the principle that the breeding, accommodation and care of protected animals and the methods used in regulated procedures applied to such animals must be refined so as to eliminate or reduce to the minimum any possible pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm to those animals.
Please refer to the Data Protection pages for our policies and guidance, including information on GDPR and Research.
Intellectual property is the output of intellectual endeavour in literary, artistic, dramatic, industrial, scientific and engineering fields, which is generally capable of being identified and protected. The protection of IP is provided through certain legal rights many of which are established under legislation, common law and international treaties. For detailed guidance see the University’s Intellectual Property Policy.