The term research ethics (forskningsetik) refers to the consideration and protection of research subjects and participants who are or who could be in any way affected by the research in question.
The term researcher ethics (forskaretik) relates to the researcher's relationship to the research project itself.
Research Ethics – Responsibility to Participants
Research ethics concerns questions about how research takes into account and protects participants and subjects who are or who could be in any way affected by the research.
For example, research ethics can involve considerations that have to be made in relation to the following:
- distributing information to research participants
- obtaining consent from adults, children and adolescents
- recording conversations / interviews
- observing participants
- storing materials
- conducting research on the Internet
The Swedish Ethics Review Authority conducts ethical reviews of research involving humans as well as research involving biological material and sensitive personal data.
Researcher Ethics – the Researcher’s Relationship to Their Research
The researcher is responsible for following good research practice. How the research is conducted must be described in a correct manner; permission to conduct the study must be obtained; and the research results must be reported truthfully. Data must also be collected, compiled and reported according to the principles established by the research community (see, for example, the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, ALLEA).
Some research areas have their own particular code of ethics.
Deviations from Good Research Practice
The term scientific misconduct (vetenskaplig oredlighet) refers to research that involves a serious and intentional deviation from good research practice or that results from gross negligence through fabrication, falsification or plagiarism in the planning, implementation or reporting of research.
Other deviations from good research practice are those deviations from good research practice that are not considered examples of scientific misconduct but that nonetheless damage or risk damaging the integrity of the research or the researchers and that are “committed intentionally or through gross negligence when planning, conducting or reporting” (2019:504) research, artistic research or other developmental work.
The Research Ethics Board (FEN) at Dalarna University works to prevent and counteract scientific misconduct in research.
Responsibility for Good Research Practice and the Examination of Misconduct
Forskningshuvudmannen, which means “the entity responsible for research” (2019:504), has the overall responsibility for ensuring that research is carried out in accordance with good research practice as stated in the Act on Responsibility for Good Research Practice and the Examination of Research Misconduct (2019:504) (also known as the Oredlighetslagen). In the event of suspected research misconduct, the forskningshuvudmannen must submit documentary evidence to the National Board for Assessment of Research Misconduct (Nämnden för prövning av oredlighet i forskning - Npof) for investigation. Other serious deviations from good research practice must be handled by the higher education institution in question.
The Law and Research Projects
The Senior Legal Advisor at Dalarna University can help you with legal questions relating to your research project, such as questions about contracts and intellectual property rights, as well as the rights you have to your research results.
Senior Legal Advisor Lena Gillström