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Project guide for researchers: Research ethics

Research ethics and integrity

Research ethics refers to all the ethical viewpoints and evaluations that are related to science and research. Research integrity refers to following and promoting an ethically-responsible and proper course of action in research, as well as identifying and preventing fraud and dishonesty in all research. (TENK: The responsible conduct of research.)

Each individual working on the project must follow the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, the Responsible conduct of research and The ethical principles of research with human participants and ethical review in the human sciences in Finland (TENK 3/2019). Researchers must also follow the Uniarts Helsinki ethical guidelines. The Responsible Research website contains a wealth of information on ethics in research and science communication. Read also Horizon 2020: How to complete your ethics self-assessment and European Commission guidelines.

Ethical review

Research design elements requiring ethical review The researcher must request an ethical review statement from the University of the Arts Helsinki’s Ethics Committee, if their research contains any of the following:

  • participation in the research deviates from the principle of informed consent
  • the research involves intervening in the physical integrity of research participants
  • the focus of the research is on minors under the age of 15, without separate consent from a parent or carer or without informing a parent or carer in a way that would enable them to prevent the child’s participation in the research
  • research that exposes participants to exceptionally strong stimuli
  • research that involves a risk of causing mental harm that exceeds the limits of normal daily life to the research participants or their family members or others closest to them or
  • conducting the research could involve a threat to the safety of participants or researchers or their family members or others closest to them.

As a rule, the processing of personal data belonging to special categories is prohibited. Such data reveals the person’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religion or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, data concerning health, sexual orientation or activity and genetic and biometric data for identifying the person. Such data merits specific protection, because their processing could create significant risks to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual.

The request for comment for the University of the Arts Helsinki’s Ethics Committee must be delivered to Ethics Committee 21 days before the meeting at the latest.

The University of the Arts Helsinki’s Ethics Committee meeting dates

Spring 2023

  • 30.1.2023
  • 27.2.2023
  • 23.3.2023
  • 27.4.2023
  • 29.5.2023
  • 15.6.2023

The request for comment must be delivered to Ethics Committee 21 days before the meeting at the latest:

Research permit

When the subject of the study is an organisation (such as a school or another place of education, daycare centre, retirement home), the organisation’s permission to carry out the research must usually be obtained. The organisation that is the subject of the study is asked to grant a permit for the research to be carried out in a manner defined by the organisation.

Research permit practices vary depending on the discipline and the type of research concerned. At the research planning phase, the researcher needs to contact the organisation in which they intend to gather the research data. If the research requires a preliminary ethical review, a statement from the Ethics Committee must be obtained before a research permit is applied for. However, a positive statement from the Ethics Committee does not remove the researcher’s own responsibility for their research.

Large organisations in particular follow set procedures and schedules in processing research permits, so be sure to familiarise yourself with the subject organisation’s processes well in advance. The organisation will make their decision on the basis of the materials submitted. Usually, the documents required include a research plan, information and consent documents for research subjects and data collection forms. If the research requires a preliminary ethical review, a positive statement from the ethics committee must be appended to the permit application. If the research will produce a personal data register, a personal data file description will also be required (Jyrki Kettunen’s article on the Responsible Research webpage).