The School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures attaches great importance to research ethics and integrity and has developed rigorous procedures for ensuring proper ethical review and accountability.
The University is committed to maintaining the highest standards of research integrity.
The research ethics review process is designed to support researchers in managing risks associated with their research, and to ensure the highest professional standards in designing, conducting and disseminating research. The University of Edinburgh adheres to the UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) Code of Practice for Research and the Universities UK (UUK) Concordat to Support Research Integrity.
In line with the principles outlined in these documents, the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS) has developed the College Research Ethics Framework (CREF).
Staff and students in LLC should familiarise themselves with these policies before completing the online Research Ethics, Integrity & Governance Application which serves as the vehicle for research ethics review.
All new research projects (and not only those involving human participants, personal or sensitive data, and/or human tissue), regardless of whether they are funded or not, should go through research ethics review before they commence. Any new ethical issues which arise during the course of the research should be addressed via further ethics review in a timely manner.
It is the responsibility of all researchers – staff and students – to ensure that their research project undergoes ethical review. Supervisors of undergraduate, Masters and PhD projects should ensure to the best of their ability that student research under their supervision goes through the formal ethical review process. (For PhD students this usually means that applications for ethics review should be submitted during the first year of the PhD, and certainly before the first-year review.)
Completed Research Ethics, Integrity & Governance Applications should be submitted a minimum of 15 working days before the commencement of any project or funding application deadline to allow sufficient time for proper research ethics review of the proposed research to be conducted. Please note that for projects which involve complex ethical issues, it may be necessary to seek advice from the College Research Ethics Committee or specialists in other schools within the University.
Retrospective research ethics review refers to ethics review which is conducted after a research project has commenced or after a research project has been completed. Retrospective research ethics review is not permitted under any circumstances for projects which have already been completed, without exception. In the case of projects which have already commenced (or where data has been collected or generated) retrospective ethics review is only permitted in exceptional circumstances, and usually only where changes have been made to a previously reviewed Research Ethics, Integrity & Governance Application. In cases where a researcher seeks retrospective research ethics review, there MUST be a clear and justifiable reason for doing so. For the sake of clarity, retrospective ethics review would be permitted in the following scenarios:
- In circumstances where a researcher comes across or is given access to materials or a setting which later have the potential to serve as data for a research project.
- In circumstances where, in the course of an existing research project which has already been through the research ethics review process, the researcher comes across or is given access to materials or a setting which was not anticipated at the outset of the project.
In either of these circumstances, further research using this data should not proceed without formal research ethics review. This should be done in a timely manner.
It should be stressed that if the generation or collection of any data does not meet the research ethics and GDPR criteria set out in these pages, then it may not be possible for the researcher to utilise the research data in any output, including dissertations and publications.
All research carried out by members of the School, including academics, emeritus staff, teaching staff, undergraduate students, postgraduate students (Masters and PhD), visiting scholars and fellows, and research assistants, are subject to the procedures outlined in these pages.