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Ethics Guidelines from Professional Bodies and Subject Groups

The British Educational Research Association (BERA) is the society for educational research in the UK. It supports educational research through publications, training and development of researchers.

British Psychological Society has a Code of Ethics and Conduct and provides ethical guidelines for psychologists.

The British Sociological Association has a Statement of Ethical Practice which will be of interest to staff and students working within the social sciences.

Designing with people is a website created by the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art that covers a number of issues about how to design with people, including developing protocols for ethical practice.

ESRC Research Ethics Framework sets out what the ESRC requires by way of ethics approval. It is mandatory for ESRC- funded research and recommended good practice.

The Home Office provides a concise overview of the legislation about the use of animals in research and the licenses required to undertake research involving animals.

The Human Genetics Commission is the UK Government's advisory body on new developments in human genetics and how they impact on individual lives

The Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) is the professional body for biomedical scientists in the UK. It aims to promote and develop biomedical science and its practitioners. The Institute was founded in 1912 and represents approximately 16,000 members employed mainly in NHS and private laboratories, veterinary laboratories, the National Blood Authority, Health Protection Agency, Medical Research Council and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The International Collaboration for Participatory Health Research produce position papers which are an important forum for defining and debating the practice and principles of participatory research in health.

The Market Research Society (MRS) are available across a range of research practice areas and industry sections, covering topics such as questionnaire design, incentives and online research. The Society champions high ethical, commercial and methodological practices in research.

Medical Research Council All MRC-funded researchers must comply with MRC Ethics and Governance guidelines to ensure that their work is of a high scientific standard, is conducted safely, and respects the wishes and integrity of any patients or volunteers involved.

The MRC has also produced a number of useful online tool kits for particular types of research:

  • MRC Data and Tissues Tool Kit (the use of personal information and human tissue samples in healthcare research in the UK)
  • Clinical Trials Tool Kit (joint initiative with the Department of Health)
  • MRC Experimental Medicine Tool Kit

The MRC Clinical Trials Unit has a very good explanatory section about clinical trials. This information is principally directed at members of the public who are thinking of participating in a trial but through the Glossary and FAQs page, it is also very useful for researchers too.

The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research works in partnership with bioscience research funders, academia, industry, regulators and animal welfare organisations to advance the 3Rs [replacement, refinement and reduction] of animals in research.

The National Research Ethics Service (NRES) provides ethical guidance and management support to research ethics committees in England and delivers the quality assurance framework for the Research Ethics Service

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics examines ethical issues raised by new developments in biology and medicine. Established by the Nuffield Foundation in 1991, the Council is an independent body, funded jointly by the Foundation, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

The Nutrition Society was established in 1941 ‘to advance the scientific study of nutrition and its application to the maintenance of human and animal health'

The Research Ethics Guidebook; a resource for social scientists is designed as a resource for social science researchers - those early in their careers, as well as more experienced colleagues.

The Royal Academy of Engineering has developed, in collaboration with Engineering Council (UK) and a number of the leading professional engineering institutions, a statement of ethical principles which all professional engineers and related bodies should adhere to.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) represents nurses and nursing, promotes excellence in practice and shapes health policies

The Royal Society for Chemistry is the largest organisation in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences. Supported by a worldwide network of members and an international publishing business, our activities span education, conferences, science policy and the promotion of chemistry to the public. All RSC members are bound by its Code of Conduct and Guidance on Professional Practice

The Social Research Association maintains an up-to-date set of ethical guidelines and is proactive in the discussion of social research.

The UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) is an independent body which offers advice and guidance to universities and other research organisations, and also to individual researchers, about the conduct of research.

US Department of Health and Human Services Office for Human Research Protections: International Compilation of Human Research Standards – 2014 this document provides information on (country by country) the laws on data protection / codes of research ethics - a useful reference for applications to conduct research overseas.

The Universal Ethical Code for Scientists is a public statement of the values and responsibilities of scientists and applies to anyone whose work uses scientific methods, including social, natural, medical and veterinary sciences, engineering and mathematics.”

Wellcome Trust has a series of accessible policy and position statements that outline their expectations of the research ethics applied by researchers which can be found here. The statements cover a range of issues including: good research practice; research involving human participants and personal data; intellectual property and patenting; research involving people in low and middle income countries; and medical research.