Welcome at the website of the BMS Ethics Committee (EC). This committee facilitates and monitors the ethical conduct of all research involving human beings in the Faculty of BMS.
To ensure an ethically responsible research practice, employees and students from the Faculty of BMS can start research with human beings only after their research proposal has been ethically assessed. As of October 1st, 2016, this mandatory ethical assessment of research is extended to all research with human subjects carried out within the entire faculty BMS. This webpage offers all information you need about the assessment procedure and the ethical principles and criteria used.
What is research with human subjects?
Research with human subjects can take many different forms. Basically, it is scientific research that depends on the participation of humans to generate data for further analysis. It includes interviews, surveys, observations, laboratory and field experiments, recording and manipulation of physiological functioning, interventions in human behaviour and/or physiological functioning, focus groups, ethnography, but also living labs and analysis of social media content. In all these cases, the interests of the human beings studied may conflict with the interests of the researcher and the value of science as a whole. Therefore, careful ethical assessment is necessary. Such assessment is carried out by the BMS Ethics Committee (EC) or (in case of research that is medically oriented) by a Medical Ethical Committee (METC).
Medical research or not?
In the Netherlands, medical research involving human subjects is regulated by the Medical Research Involving Human Subjects Act (WMO). Research is subject to the WMO if:
- It concerns medical-scientific research, and
- Participants are subject to procedures or are required to follow rules of behaviour.
If your research satisfies these two criteria, you have to submit your research proposal to a (local) medical ethical committee (METC), instead of to the BMS Ethics Committee. More information to decide if your research falls under the WMO is provided on the CCMO website.
- Please note that Dutch METCs increasingly also assess research that is not medical according to the criteria mentioned above, but which is carried out in a hospital or another medical institution. If your research is carried out in Medisch Spectrum Twente (MST) in Enschede or in Ziekenhuisgroep Twente (ZGT) in Hengelo, for example, ethical approval by the METC Twente is required as of January 2017. Other medical institutions may require approval by an METC as well; please check this with the institution where you plan to do your research.
If you plan to submit to an METC, contact details and more information about the assessment procedure by the METC Twente can be found here.
If your research has been assessed and approved by an METC, the BMS Ethics Committee will take over this decision. This way, we strive to avoid double ethical assessment. However, you should always notify the BMS Ethics Committee that you plan to submit your project to an METC. Moreover, you should send a copy of the METC judgment to the BMS Committee when the METC procedure is completed. Both the notification in advance of submitting and the documents showing the result of the METC assessment should be send to the secretariat (Jasmine Verenjans - De Weerd).
Please include always:
- Title of your project
- Planned starting date
- Name and contact details of principal researcher
And in your first notification:
- A brief summary of the project
- The reason why you apply for METC-approval (and not for EC BMS-approval only)
- To which METC you will submit your proposal
If you follow this procedure the costs of the main study METC approval will be covered by centrally administered research funds of the BMS Faculty, instead of by the department. Please note, that if you submit an amendment of your study to the METC later on, the costs of this amendment will not be covered by the BMS Faculty, but will have to be paid by your department. If you have questions about this procedure you can contact the secretary of the BMS EC, Lyan Kamphuis-Blikman.
In all other cases, if you are an employee of BMS or a student in the BMS Faculty and you want to do research involving humans, you have to submit you research for ethical approval to the BMS EC. The BMS procedure for such EC application is described below.
BMS research or not?
Please note that the BMS Ethics Committee assesses research with human subjects carried out by, or under supervision of, employees of the BMS Faculty only. Researchers from other faculties have to comply with the rules and procedures within their own faculty. If researchers from different faculties are involved in the same project, the human subjects research should be assessed by the faculty of the principal investigator.
Students from programs offered by other UT-faculties, in which BMS employees are involved as supervisors, should comply with the ethical regulations of their (first) supervisor’s faculty. This means that students from, for example, the Health Sciences program, should submit their project for ethical approval to the BMS Ethics committee only if their first supervisor is a BMS-employee.
Ethically responsible research is based on a broad set of general ethical principles, which guide the ethical assessment. These include:
- Avoidance of exploitation;
- Just distribution of benefits and burden;
- Respect for persons:
- 1. Participants are treated as autonomous agents;
- 2. Participants with diminished autonomy are entitled to protection;
- Respect for human dignity;
- Scientific validity;
- Scientific, social and/or educational relevance;
- Respect for rights and specific interests of (specific groups of) research participants, and/or the community/society
- Safeguarding confidentiality and respecting privacy matters.
The BMS Faculty subscribes to the Dutch Code of Ethics for Research in the Social and Behavioral Sciences involving human participants.
If you plan to do research with human subjects you have to submit your proposal for ethical assessment. This is not just the case for research where the Sona-pool of student research subjects is being used, but in principle for all intended research within the faculty of Behavioral Science involving humans in an indirect (i.e. file or social media research) or direct manner (i.e. experiments, surveys, interviews). You can only start the research after you gained ethical approval. The BMS Ethics Committee will assess whether the research proposed conforms to ethical standards. This applies to all research that is conducted by BMS staff, PhD’s, postdocs and students, regardless of where it is conducted. This means that even if the organization where you plan to do your research does not require any ethical approval, you still have to submit your research for approval of the BMS EC. If research is conducted by students or trainees, the supervising staff member bears the ultimate responsibility (because there needs to be an employment relationship with the University).
You can submit the request for ethical assessment of your research via a web application. The person responsible for the research fills in a number of questions regarding the project and uploads the informed consent form(s) that will be used in the research. The questions in the web application consist of a general part (questions on, for example, purpose and research question) and a specific part (questions on, amongst others, sessions, consent, provided information and expectations of participants). If you do not finish the questionnaire right away, the web application allows for provisional saving of the filled in answers, so you can continue later. Once you have completed and submitted the questionnaire, the web application will automatically forward the request to the supervisor involved (if any). After the supervisor has approved the request, it will be sent automatically to the relevant member of the Ethics Committee. The questionnaire is made available in PDF format to all concerned when the Ethics Committee has approved the request.
The Ethics Committee member will first assess whether the submitted research proposal satisfies the characteristics and conditions for standard research as defined by the department involved. If this is the case, the Ethics Committee member can independently assess the proposal. He or she may ask some further questions for clarification or suggest some improvements, to which the applicant is expected to respond. The final assessment (approval/rejection) will be communicated via the web application within 10 working days after the initial submission of the request.
If the submitted research is not classified as ‘standard research’, the proposal will be forwarded to a subset of EC members for a more extensive assessment. Again, further questions may be asked, via the web application or via e-mail. The EC may pose additional conditions before giving approval. The final decision will be communicated within 10 working days after the full EC received the submission. In difficult cases, the researcher may be invited to a committee meeting to personally explain and discuss the proposal before a decision is taken. This means the procedure may take more time; if so, the researcher will always be informed when a decision can be expected.
Standard research per BMS department
Each BMS department has formulated what is considered as ‘standard research’ within that department, and under which conditions such research is thought to be ethically responsible. Please consult the description of the relevant department before you submit your research proposal. If you are uncertain as to whether, or under which conditions, the research proposed would be acceptable, please consult the EC member or contact person of your department, mentioned at the top of each standard research description.
Ethical codes per discipline
In many scientific disciplines professional codes for ethical conduct of research have been published, outlining what is considered good ethical practice in a specific domain of research. These codes offer general principles and guidelines to take into account when you are designing your own research, and are often slightly more specific than the general ethical principles mentioned above. We have listed a few of them here. Please note that you need to consult only the code that is relevant to your discipline and/or research method, and that the list is not exhaustive.
For your convenience, we provide standard informed consent forms (in Dutch and English).
About the committee
The Ethics Committee has representatives in all BMS departments; they are listed below. Some of them are EC members, and others are EC contact persons. They all function as the first person to consult in that department when you have questions regarding ethics of human subjects research. They also stimulate attention for research ethics in their department. EC members are involved in the assessment of research proposals and participate in policy discussions in committee meetings. Some of the EC contactpersons are involved in the assessment of research proposals, but do not participate in committee meetings.
The Committee members meet 4-5 times a year to discuss controversial cases, reflect on ongoing developments on research and their ethical implications, and advise the dean on policy issues regarding the ethics of human subjects research.
The EC is supported by a secretary, who you can contact in case of general questions concerning the EC and its functioning, and also in case of complaints. Current secretary is Lyan Kamphuis-Blikman. Administrative tasks with regard to the assessment procedure and SONA are taken care of by the secretariat (which is run by Jasmine Verenjans - De Weerd), whom you can also contact with questions regarding the webapplication.
dr. H.C. van Beusichem
Finance & Accounting
dr. H. Boer
dr. V.I. Daskalova
Governance and Technology for Sustainability
dr. M.D. Endedijk
dr. J. F. Gosselt
Communication Studies - CMC & MCO
dr. P. M. ten Klooster
Psychology, Health and Technology
dr. H. van der Kolk
Public Administration / Research Methodology, Measurement and Data Analysis
dr. R.H.J. van der Lubbe
Cognitive Psychology and Ergonomics
dr. H. van der Meij
dr. J.G. Meijerink
Human Resource Management
dr. Anke Lenferink
Health, Technology and Services Research
dr. C.L. Poortman
drs. L.J.M Kamphuis-Blikman
Faculty of BMS
dr. A.M. von Raesfeld Meijer
Centre for Entrepreneurship, Strategy, International Business and Marketing
dr. P. Stegmaier
Science, Technology, and Policy Studies
mrs. J. N. Verenjans-v/d Weerd
secretariat, web application & SONA
Faculty of BMS
dr. M. de Visser
Technology Management and Supply
dr. P.W. de Vries
Psychology of Conflict, Risk and Safety
dr. J.J. Vossensteyn
Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies
prof. dr. C.P.M. Wilderom
Change Management & Organizational Behaviour
prof. dr. W.H.M. Zijm
Industrial Engineering & Business Information Systems