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Research Ethics

Introduction to Research Ethics at the Open University

The Open University is committed to maintaining standards of professional conduct in all research activities. Central to the principles that guide research is that it must be conducted in accordance with the highest contemporary ethics standards.

On this website you will find information on research ethics at The Open University. This covers research involving the collection of data and/or biological samples from human participants and research with non-human animals, links to internal and external advice, and full details of the respective Open University human research ethics review and Home Office licenced and non-licenced animal research review processes.

When planning your research and ethics application, you need to build in sufficient time for the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) review so there is no risk of your research being delayed. Particularly, for example, when you are planning  overseas travel or participant  interviews. It is essential that no potential participants are approached until your research has been fully assessed by the HREC.

Links and information are contained in a HREC poster  which can be downloaded and displayed within OU departments.

Guidance on areas which may be related to your research, e.g. Data protection and obtaining participants' consent, can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions webpages, also sample documents and templates which can be utilised and adapted for research projects. OU researchers should be aware of Open University policies available via the Research plan and policies webpage, also listed below:

Research work that involves terrorism or extremism-related materials

In order to enable the University to meet its obligations under counter-terrorism legislation, researchers and academics who work with extremist and terrorist-related materials are required to register their work. See the Terrorism and extremism-related pages on this website for further information.