New handbook about research ethics and integrity published articles from Centre for Ethics’ junior research fellows

Articles about informed consent and codes of ethics, written by junior research fellows and the head of Centre for Ethics, University of Tartu will be published in an upcoming Springer book “Handbook of Research Ethics and Scientific Integrity“.

"Valid informed consent is considered key to ethical research, there is no agreement on what constitutes adequate informed consent. Problems ensue firstly from the circumstance that a principle adopted in one area of inquiry (e.g. biomedicine) cannot be extended literally to other areas of science," is written in the introduction to the article.

Head of the Centre for Ethics Prof Margit Sutrop and junior research fellow Kristi Lõuk explain in their article „Informed Consent and Ethical Research“ the origin of the concept of informed consent, what it consists of, and what forms it can take. The authors analyse "what has caused shifts in the understanding of the informed consent principle: how much is due to advancements in science and technology and how much to changing ethical frameworks". Why it is important to develop a contextual approach by taking into account differences in research fields as well as types of research, is also discussed. (Sutrop & Lõuk, 2020)

In their article “Research Ethics Codes and Guidelines “ Prof Sutrop and junior research fellows Mari-Liisa Parder and Marten Juurik give an overview of codes of ethics and highlight the obstacles and solutions to make codes of ethics work better. For example, it is argued that the process of drafting codes of ethics should be inclusive. To engage people real-life cases should be discussed for clarifying implicit values. The authors also point out, that "declared and actual values should be in coherence both in the leadership of the organization and organizational culture." (Sutrop, Parder & Juurik, 2020)

In the abstract, the authors write: "Codes of ethics for scientists are often written in reaction to misconduct cases. However, the sudden boom in codes of ethics is also related to growing pressures upon scientists and the conflicting duties they face. Solutions to the issue of vast number of codes and guidelines – creating a few universal general codes for research or harmonization of existing documents – are also both problematic. A universal code makes sacrifices on the level of content to gain acceptance internationally, and differences in values will continue to pose ethical dilemmas and conflict." (Sutrop, Parder & Juurik, 2020)

The composers of the handbook write, that the book gives an overview about the current state of research ethics and scientific integrity. It contains most up-to-date information about topics, such as privacy, data management, informed consent, fraud, and plagiarism. The book “Handbook of Research Ethics and Scientific Integrity” is published in November 2020.

For more information about the Handbook, visit Springer’s homepage.

Photo on th fist page:

Sutrop M., Lõuk K. (2020) Informed Consent and Ethical Research. In: Iphofen R. (eds) Handbook of Research Ethics and Scientific Integrity. Springer, Cham.
Sutrop M., Parder ML., Juurik M. (2020) Research Ethics Codes and Guidelines. In: Iphofen R. (eds) Handbook of Research Ethics and Scientific Integrity. Springer, Cham.