Research ethics

The credibility of scientific research and society’s trust in research rely on respect for good scientific practice and ethical considerations.

Research ethics is part of the responsible conduct of research. Ethics review covers the whole research process. Research ethics issues may relate to the research topic, methods and practices, or the research data. These issues include ethical governance procedures, informed consent, anonymity of subjects and withdrawal from research. In addition, they concern research permits granted and pending.

Adherence to the principles of good scientific practice is primarily the responsibility of each individual researcher and research team, but the responsibility is also shared by the director of the research unit and the management of the organisations conducting research.

Research ethics is one of the criteria when applications for funding from the Research Council of Finland are reviewed. Researchers applying for funding from the Research Council must always describe the ethical issues related to their research. If the research project involves ethical issues such as the processing of personal data, the use of laboratory animals or dual-use products, the principal investigator must explain in sufficient detail in the application how these have been taken into account. The PI must also demonstrate in their application that they do not intend to apply research practices abroad that are considered unethical in Finland and Europe.

In addition to the relevant legislation, the guidelines of the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity apply to research ethics and its assessment: Finnish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity and Procedures for Handling Alleged Violations of Research Integrity in Finland We also require that researchers follow ALLEA’s (All European Academies) European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity when engaging in international collaboration and applying for EU funding. There are no conflicts between the guidelines of ALLEA and the National Board on Research Integrity. Finnish ethical guidelines also apply to Finnish researchers working abroad.

The site of research is obliged to submit to the Research Council of Finland’s Registrar’s Office the final report of any investigations concerning violation of good scientific practice by the PI or a researcher of a Research Council-funded project.

We will not process a funding application if the applicant has been found guilty of research misconduct in the three years preceding the year of the call. If we find out about the misconduct during the funding period, whatever is left of the funding period will be added to the three-year limit. If the applicant appeals the decision on the misconduct, and the appeal is successful, we will process the applicant’s new applications following normal procedures.

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