The UEF Committee on Research Ethics carries out reviews on ethics of non-medical research involving humans which are not, by law, assigned to be reviewed by the official Ethics committee of central hospital district.
Ethical review has to be carried out before the data collection. A statement of ethical review can not be provided retrospectively.
Reviews on research ethics are intended for studies completed as postgraduate research.
The researcher must request an ethical review statement from a human sciences 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.
An ethical review statement may also be requested when a funding body, collaborative partner, research object or publisher so requests. However, it must be noted that a statement cannot be requested once the research has commenced.
Research of registry data and documentary data must, however, be evaluated, if the research participants’ personal data is collected and combined from several different sources and data security risks can form a safety threat.
In case your study does not meet any of the criteria defined by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity but you are applying for an ethical statement because publications or funder require it, we would kindly ask you to make sure whether a description of the ethical review system for research in Finland would be sufficient for the publication or the funder. The description can be obtained from the secretary of the ethics committee on request.
Ethical review particularly assesses:
- the potential risks and harm to research participants, their families and potentially also the researcher themselves as well as their likelihood in relation to the plans drawn up to avoid them described in the request for a statement,
- sufficiently clear information to research participants on the content of the research, their participation in the research and the processing of their personal data,
- the data management plan, also containing a description of the processing of personal data throughout the lifespan of the research,
- the appropriateness of the research participant’s written or electronic consent to participate,
- the way in which the consent of participants is requested and documented if written or electronic consent is not used,
- the significance of the new information that the research aims to obtain in relation to potential harms and risks.