Integrity & ethics
At Maastricht University, we highly value integrity and ethically responsible research. The university strives to maintain scientific integrity and to make decisions in research based on high ethical standards. For example when it comes to research involving human participants or personally identifiable data, or animal testing.
Research ethics is concerned with the protection of human participants in scientific research projects. Informed consent by these participants is a cornerstone of ethical acceptability of research.
Research ethics covers the whole research cycle:
- design of the research project,
- data collection,
- safe storage of any resulting personal identifiable information.
The regulations and guidelines for research ethics vary between disciplines. In biomedical research, the Medical Research Involving Human Participants Act (WMO) regulates research in which participants are subjected to a procedure or to certain rules of behaviour (but not research in which data is only collected from patient files).
The Code of Ethics for Social and Behavioural Sciences sets out guidelines for ethical research in these disciplines, based on the following principles:
- respect for the dignity of participants,
- treating participants and their communities with care,
- avoiding exploitation and minimising harm to participants,
- balancing the costs of research with potential benefits (such as the new relevant insights which will result),
- reflecting on, assessing and monitoring ethical issues arising in connection with research.