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OU academic leads new UK guidance on research ethics

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New guidance on research ethics, promoting the development of best practice, which was led by an Open University (OU) academic, launches this week (8 April 2020).

John Oates, Professor of Developmental Psychology at the OU, is lead author for Research Ethics Support and Review in Research Organisations. It is available in two formats: the standard guidance, which includes extended background and rationale with references, and a summary version, which sets out key recommendations and basic ground rules for developing best practice in supporting high ethical standards in research.

The guidance was commissioned by the UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) and the Association of Research Managers and Administrators (ARMA). It synthesises developments in academic work on ethics and integrity, the expectations of research funders and government and existing examples of good practice. Its aim is to help researchers and organisations to develop a positive culture of integrity and ethics in research.

Professor John Oates said: “This was a large-scale project, and I am very pleased to have been able to bring together the expertise and knowledge of so many people to make this contribution to the development of best practice in research ethics.”

Steph Bales, Chair of ARMA said: “I am thrilled to see the collaborative efforts of ARMA UKRIO come to fruition in this joint guidance document. It is essential reading for all research professionals, not just those involved in supporting ethics committee structures.”

Professor Sir Ian Boyd, Chair of UKRIO said: “All organisations involved in research, from universities to commercial companies, will benefit from this document. The principles it sets out lay the groundwork for good practice. Ensuring the highest standards in research integrity and ethics needs to be a central plank of corporate social responsibility. People expect it and this document points out the route through which this responsibility can be delivered.”

Read about the OU’s approach to research ethics

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