Skip to main content
Image
Research ethics
Research ethics is not static; it changes in step with developments in the scientific landscape. New principles are formulated and old ones reinterpreted, or used in new ways.
Photo: IStock
Breadcrumb

Research ethics

The University of Gothenburg aims to uphold the quality, integrity, and independence of research, which assumes that it is conducted in accordance with good research practice. The responsibility for this rests with management as well as with individual researchers.

Research ethics

In regard to consideration for participants and trial subjects in research projects.

Good research practice

Good research practice rests on a few fundamental principles: that we can rely on research being of high quality, that the research is conducted and reported truthfully, that it respects important societal values, and that the researcher takes responsibility for their research and its consequences. It is crucial that the public has confidence in the research being conducted.

Consequently, all research at the University of Gothenburg shall be conducted in an ethical and safe manner. 

Human research

More or less all projects involving research on humans and falling under the Ethical Review Act (Etikprövningslagen EPL, SFS 2003:460) require an ethical review by the Swedish Ethical Review Authority(Etikprövningsmyndigheten, EPM).

Animal research

A large proportion of medical research is conducted in test tubes or by using cell cultures. Animal testing is avoided as much as possible. But there are studies that require animal testing and which can give us better diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Parkin's and stroke. 


The researcher’s conduct

Personal ethics in the pursuit of research

In research that is conducted ethically the researchers need to maintain their professional integrity. The All European Academies (ALLEA) publication “The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity” states the fundamental principles on which good research practice is based. The principles are intended to give researchers guidance on practical, ethical and intellectual problems associated with research.

Reliability in safeguarding the quality of the research, which is reflected in the design, method, analysis and use of resources.

Honesty in developing, implementing and scrutinising research, and in reporting and informing others about research in an open, fair, complete and objective way.

Respect for colleagues, research participants, society, ecosystems, cultural heritage and the environment.

Accountability for research from idea to publication, for management and organisation, for education, supervision and mentorship, and for their wider consequences.

Handling research misconduct

One definition of research misconduct is fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism (FFP), but there are other forms of misconduct, e.g. self-plagiarism, concealment of research findings, misuse of authority, and absence of the required permits. Deviating from good research practices may harm the confidence in research and constitute a risk for people and the environment.

The National Board for Assessment of Research Misconduct

The board at the University of Gothenburg only handles cases at the request of the vice-chancellor. Other serious deviations from good research practice refer to departures from good research practice that materially harm or risk harming the integrity of the research or researchers, and which are committed intentionally or with gross negligence in the planning, performance or reporting of research and artistic research, and which are not deemed research misconduct.

The boards main tasks include:

Conducting an initial assessment when the university is informed of any suspected research misconduct or other serious deviations from good research practice, and submitting a recommendation on how to proceed to the vice-chancellor.
 

Investigating any other suspected serious deviations from good research practice, and submitting a report to the vice-chancellor.

Read more about the Board for Assessment of Research Misconduct.

The Ethics Committee

It was set up by the vice-chancellor in March 2021. The task of the committee is to support researchers and management in matters that concern research ethics, such as legislation, regulations, guidelines, ethics, health, and the environment. The committee handles suspected serious deviations from good research practice that cannot be deemed research misconduct.

The committee’s secretary is Moa Ekbom, Ethics Administrator at the Grants and Innovation Office. She can answer questions concerning ethical reviews, good practice, requirements from research funders and research partnerships.

Read more about the ethics committee