See Scientific Integrity

Ethics assessment for research

Review medical-scientific research

Research with human subjects must undergo a medical ethical review if it falls under the Medical Research Involving Human Subjects Act (WMO). Research falls under the WMO if the following two criteria are met:

  1. it is medical/scientific research, and
  2. people are subjected to procedures or are required to follow rules of behaviour.

More information regarding research that falls under the WMO can be found at the website of the Central Committee on Research involving Human Subjects (CCMO). For the medical-ethical review the University Twente collaborates with an accredited MREC, the CMO Arnhem-Nijmegen (in Dutch). The UT TechMed Centre offers support for researchers submitting their proposal for medical-ethical review at a MREC. Please contact: ResearchSupport-TechMed@utwente.nl or visit the TechMed Centre intranet. 

Review of non medical-scientific research

Ethics assessment of research which does not fall under the WMO act is organized separately. The University of Twente has adopted a university-wide research ethics policy. Ethical review is conducted and facilitated by

4 domain-specific committees

Humanities & Social Sciences

Research in the humanities investigates human culture, focusing on how humans process and document the human experience. The social sciences study the patterns and causes of human behavior, as individuals and as part of groups, communities, cultures and societies. The Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS) domain covers a broad set of scientific disciplines, like philosophy, history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, as well as communication and educational sciences or media studies. Research practices also differ widely in nature and execution, with methods including, among others, document analysis, participant observation, interviews, surveys, minimal physical interventions and  ethnography.

The main ethical challenges when doing research in the HSS domain are related to sufficiently safeguarding the interests of

  • human research participants;
  • other individuals, groups or organizations implicated in (collection of) the research data;
  • individuals and groups potentially affected by the results of the research.

In some cases the safety of the researcher him/herself may also be at stake.

Ethical principles

Ethical conduct of research in the HSS domain is guided by (but not limited to) the following principles (see also the Dutch Code of ethics for research in the social and behavioral sciences involving human participants):

  • Researchers respect the dignity of humans and their environment by avoiding exploitation, treating participants and their communities with respect and care, and protecting those with diminished autonomy.
  • Researchers strive towards a minimization of harm, and a just distribution of benefits and burden, with respect for the potentially conflicting interests of diverse (groups of) participants, communities, and society.
  • Researchers adopt an ethical attitude in which they are mindful of the meaning, implications and consequences of the research for anyone affected by it.
  • Researchers demonstrate the ethical attitude by i) active reflection on the ethical issues that may arise during, or as a consequence of, their research, ii) initiating a proper assessment of the potential drawbacks of the research for individuals, communities and society, and iii) monitoring for any developments that may impact upon ethical aspects of the research.
  • Researchers are able to account for, and communicate on their ethical reflection vis-à-vis different stakeholders, such as the participants and their communities, the own organization, scientific peers, students, funding agencies, and society.
  • Researchers conduct research that is scientifically valid, and that will plausibly lead to relevant insights in the field of the humanities and social sciences.

The ways in which these principles are safeguarded may vary to some degree depending on the field of research.

The UT committee Humanities & Social Sciences ethically assesses research in the HSS domain. Formal responsibility for the HSS committee lies with the Faculty of Behavioral, Management and Social Sciences (BMS), but researchers from other faculties can also submit their projects for ethical review by the HSS committee.  

Composition

Chairman and vice-chairman to be announced.

Reviewers

For an up to date overview of the reviewers and contact persons of our committee check BMS Ethics Committee, under heading Contact.

Advisors

Procedure

  1. For BSc/MSc/PhD students and staff of Faculty BMS ethical review is mandatory, for most of them the HSS domain will be the designated commission to submit their research.
  2. Requests for ethical assessment of your research can be submitted via the BMS/HSS Ethical Review web application
  3. You can follow the progress of your request in the web application, communication regarding the progress of and actions needed for your request is automatic by means of email notifications.
  4. You have to submit your research before data collection starts. You can only start the research after you gained ethical approval. We do not assess research in retrospect.

For more guiding and procedure info check the BMS/HSS Ethics committee website.
The SONA Test Subject Pool is a participant recruitment facility, which is only available to students and staff from BMS Faculty. 

Go to the web application of the domain Humanities and Social sciences (faculty BMS)
Submit your research project for ethical review
Guides and FAQ web application. More guidance and procedure info go to the BMS/HSS Ethics Committee website.

Contact

Secretary’s office ‘Ethics committee HSS’: ethicscommittee-bms@utwente.nl

Guidelines and templates

Natural Sciences and Engineering Sciences

This Committee facilitates and monitors the ethical conduct of all research in the area of Natural Sciences and Engineering Sciences involves the use of materials and/or devices and may be oriented towards their development, their use as tools to reach another goal, or both. The Ethics Committee advises on ethical issues related to research projects involving human beings, human of animal materials including cells and cell lines, genetically modified organisms, the use of potentially sensitive data about individuals, groups or organization, or so called 'dual use' research where the product of the research could be utilized for harmful purposes, such as military use.   

Composition

Advisors

Procedure

  1. You can submit the request for ethical assessment of your research digitally by email to the Secretary of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Sciences Ethics Committee (email to: m.c.kamp@utwente.nl). 
  2. Your application must contain at least the following three documents, which can be found at https://www.utwente.nl/en/et/intranet/research/ethics-committee/procedure-request/.
    A) Checklist; The person responsible for the research fills in the checklist with a number of questions regarding the project. The questions in the checklist consisting of a general part and a specific part.
    B) Information brochure; this must have been written in easily understandable English, without real technical terms. 
    C) Informed consent; this must have been complete and signed by the person who is being investigated. (The informed consent form is only required if that is relevant)
  3. The EC reviewer will assess whether the submitted research satisfies the characteristics and conditions for ethically responsible research. He or she may ask some further questions for clarification or suggest some improvements, to which the applicant/researcher is expected to respond.
  4. The final decision (approval/rejection) will be communicated via an email by the Secretary of the Ethics Committee. The intention is to complete the ethical review within 14 working days after the initial submission of the request.

    If you are a bachelor or master student and your research is part of a course in your study, your teacher will take care for the ethical approval.  

The researcher is responsible for the full and correct description of the research in the checklist and application, and a positive advice is based only on the material that has been submitted.

Contact

M.C. (Maria) Kamp, Secretary Ethics Committee Natural Sciences and Engineering Sciences
E m.c.kamp@utwente.nl
T +31534892547

Guidelines and templates

Codes of conduct:

More information

Visit the intranet page of the ethics committee Natural Sciences and Engineering Sciences.

Geo-Information Sciences

Geo-ethics consists of research and reflection on the values that underpin appropriate behavior and practice, wherever human activities interact with the geosphere. It addresses the ethical, social and cultural implications of Earth Sciences education, research and practice, providing a point of intersection for Geosciences, Sociology, Philosophy, and Economy. It represents an opportunity for geoscientists to become more conscious of their social role and responsibilities in conducting their activity. Geo-ethics influences the awareness of society regarding problems related to geo-resources and environment.

Due to the type of research covered in the area of geo-information sciences specific ethicalthemes arise which need ethical assessment in addition to more generic principles.

These themes in the field of geo-information sciences include, but are not limited to:

  • Research that focuses on less developed countries with concerns on typical issues such as security and legal order, sexual and reproductive health and rights and equality of women. Countries may underperform human rights; they may be at war and/or may have oppressive regimes. One should ensure that the research does not contribute to, and if possible diminishes, unequal treatment, stigmatization, discrimination, and other inequalities in society, and does not contain biases in the research design that could contribute to such consequences.
  • Research that deals with problems that relate to human life and livelihood. Such research identifies the  socio-economic solutions compatible with a respect for the environment and the protection of nature and land. Such research requires a critical analysis must be performed on the management and possible misuse of geo-information resources including remote sensing data. When investigating communities and social groups, one should show proper respect for all groups involved: show respect for the values and views of research participants, including those that deviate from those generally accepted by their society; avoid using classifications or designations that may have undesirable implications for them, if adopted by their government; acquire knowledge of local traditions, traditional knowledge and social matters, and enter, as far as possible, into a dialogue with local inhabitants, representatives of the culture and local authorities, especially with respect to research in other countries or in minority cultures.
  • Research that pays attention to adverse aspects of applications in geo-information technology by considering the ethical, cultural and economic repercussions that applications may have on society. One should consider how the research work could contribute to a better understanding of, and better protection for, basic human rights, such as freedom, autonomy, human dignity, and privacy, and strike an appropriate balance between the recognition of cultural differences and the recognition of basic human rights.
  • All other research in this domain as it needs to respects ethical principles underlying research and capacity building projects. Geo-ethics sees to adequately describe the roles and responsibilities of the various parties involved.

Composition

Prof. Dr. Ir. A. Stein (chair)
Prof. Dr. P. Y. Georgiadou (vice-chair)
Drs. M.T. Koelen (secretary)      
Dr. Ir. R.A. de By     
V. Kokorev (Ph.D. candidate)    
Dr. M.H. Nagenborg (external member, BMS)   

Procedure

The Faculty Board has established an Ethics Committee. Its task is to assure the quality of the ethical review process by establishing quality assurance procedures. In order to do so, it employs the following activities:

  1. It reviews research proposals in the domain of Geo-Information Science, according to and falling within the scope of the Research Ethics Policy of the University of Twente. This includes the self-assessment and provision of information to researchers regarding the review procedure.
  2. It keeps records of the reviews and archives the reviews according to legal provisions and applicable policies of the University of Twente
  3. It informs periodically the Faculty Board of the researcher, or in case of multiple researchers: the Faculty Board of the leading researcher, about the advice of the committee.

Contact

ec-itc@utwente.nl
Drs. M. Th. Koelen (Marga)

Research Support Coordinator, Secretary ITC Ethics Committee
Privacy Contact Person (PCP)  for Research ITC

Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation ITC, University of Twente
Faculty Bureau
Room 1-156
Working hours: Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday 08:30 – 17:00
31 53 489 2137
m.t.koelen@utwente.nl

More information

More information, guidelines and templates can be found at the ITC Ethics committee webpage.

Computer & Information Sciences

The Ethics Committee Computer & Information Science advices on ethical issues related to research projects involving human beings or using personal data.

Due to the type of research covered in the area of computer & information sciences specific ethical themes arise which need ethical assessment in addition to the generic principles discussed above. These themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Some methods of research can lead to accidental discoveries that may be of vital importance to the subject, such as an irregular heartbeat on an ECG or malicious behavior on the Internet. If researchers anticipate such findings from the start of the research, a clause should be included in the proposal explaining the procedure to be followed in such a case. Ensure that new research concepts and innovations, by themselves or through their use in a system, do not pose inherent direct or long-term risks of harm to public health and safety;
  • Research involving interviewing research participants about illegal activities they may have performed or may be involved in, requires a specific informed consent procedure leaving the research participant unidentified to assure participation. Ensure that new research concepts and innovations offer reasonable protection against any potential unauthorized disclosure, manipulation or deletion of information and against potential denial of service attacks, e.g. protection against hacking, cracking, cyber vandalism, software piracy, computer fraud, ransom attacks, disruption of service;
  • Treat with extreme caution the dissemination of research involving the identification of undiscovered security weaknesses in existing systems; Avoid practical experiments with computer viruses or perform them in a controlled environment, and exercise extreme caution in the dissemination of the results of paper-based (theoretical) computer virus experiments;
  • Ensure that new research concepts and innovations do not pose any unjustified inherent risks to the right of individuals to control the disclosure of their personal data. If research concepts and innovations involve the combination of multiple data sources, carefully consider the effects on (informational) privacy;
  • If research concepts and innovations involve the development of capabilities for, or the use of, data surveillance or human subject monitoring or surveillance, then invoke the requirement for informed consent, if appropriate. Strike an appropriate balance between the need to monitor and control personal information and the right of individuals to (informational) privacy and other human rights;
  • Ensure that decisions made by information systems that have significant social impact take into account the rights, values and interests of stakeholders, including users, and make efforts to ensure that the reasons for decisions made by information systems can be retrieved, so as to make the systems accountable.

Composition

Advisors

Procedure

The ethics committee is in transition from a faculty ethics committee to a domain ethics committee. For now we follow the procedure as described in the ethics protocol for EEMCS.

You can submit your research for an ethical review by the committee by filling in the checklist and sending it with the necessary attachments to the secretary.

Contact

Email secretary

Guidelines and templates

For complex and controversial cases, objections and quality assurance a university-wide committee will be installed. For ethical review of research proposals students and researchers are requested to contact the domain-specific committee of interest. 

Laboratory animal research

The UT follows the Dutch Code for transparency in animal testing (in Dutch) and has its own animal testing policy. The University of Twente understand the concerns in politics and society with regard to the use of test animals in scientific research. Before researchers can make use of animals in scientific research, all research needs to be reviewed and approved by the Central Authority for Scientific Procedures on Animals (CCD).