Ethical oversight in research

Report: Ethical oversight for research

A report describing how to implement ethical oversight for research into the benefits of using serious digital games to teach children about prosociality has been produced by the ProsocialLearn consortium.

Appropriate management of ethical issues is essential for research and innovation actions conducting short and longitudinal studies within schools in Europe, especially where the subjects are minors. The report outlines measures to ensure the right technical, physical and administrative environment is implemented in accordance with applicable European legislation. The report recommends an ethical issues coordinator, as well as a data protection coordinator are incorporated within the overall project management structure.

An Ethics Management Board (EMB) provides advice to the project consortium on ethical, privacy and data protection issues. The EMB ensures adherence to legal and ethical requirements, while also over-seeing the application of the ethical management strategy. The EAB includes independent ethics advisors to ensure the validity of the ethical approach taken in the project, to manage and guide the ethical content and procedures as part of the ethics procedures of the project.

Many organisations already have an established process for ethical oversight of their research, or research involving their staff and facilities. In such cases, a project should use the existing ethical approval processes. However, where appropriate ethical approval protocols are not in place, the EMB will consider and approve ethical approval applications directly in accordance with ethical oversight principles described in this report covering aspects such as Informed Consent, Debrief, Deception, Confidentiality, Data Controller and Data Processors as well as Consortium Partner Responsibility. A Privacy Impact Assessment will be conducted to Promote “Privacy by Design”, help data controllers to address privacy and data protection risks in a comprehensive manner, and help both data controllers and data protection authorities to gain more insight into the privacy and data protection aspects of applications.

This report was written by Michael Boniface at the University of Southampton IT Innovation Centre, a ProsocialLearn project consortium member. Evangelia Dimaraki (I.C. Lorenzi – Polo europeo della Conoscenza (Europole)) and Laura Vuillier (University of Cambridge) were also involved in writing this report.

The report, D7.1 – ProsocialLearn Ethical Oversight Procedures, is project confidential. For more information, please contact ProsocialLearn here.

Further ProsocialLearn publications can be found on the project website here.