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. 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.
Medical research or not?
In the Netherlands, medical research involving human subjects is regulated by the Law on Medical-Scientific Research (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. The BMS will take over the decision of the METC. Dutch METCs increasingly also assess research that is not medical, but which is carried out in a hospital or another medical institution. If your research is carried out in a medical institution that requires METC-approval, such approval will also be taken over by the BMS Ethics Committee. This way, we strive to avoid double ethical assessment. Contact details and more information about the assessment procedure by the METC Twente can be found here. In all other cases, if you are an employee of or a student in the BMS Faculty and you want to do research involving humans, you can only start with your research after the BMS EC approved your proposal.
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 research) or direct matter (i.e. experiments and surveys). 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 the full Ethics Committee 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, in addition, are involved in the assessment of research proposals and participate in committee meetings, which contact persons do not.
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 Janke Rademaker (until October 1st 2016). 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. M. Boere-Boonekamp
Health, Technology and Services Research
dr. V.I. Daskalova
Governance and Technology for Sustainability
dr. C.G.M. Doggen
Health, Technology and Services Research
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. C.L. Poortman
drs. J. Rademaker
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
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