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Research ethics and integrity

Honesty, openness, accountability and integrity are vital qualities for any academic researcher in any academic discipline. At Birkbeck, all research is carried out in a climate where high standards of personal conduct are encouraged and expected.

Everyone engaged in research, no matter what their level of experience, will act with the highest standards of integrity.

Birkbeck expects all researchers to understand and observe these principles: 

  • maintaining open and honest professional standards
  • planning and conducting research in accordance with the requirements of funders and all relevant College and external codes of practice, legislation and regulatory bodies
  • following best current ethical practice
  • exercising care and respect for participants in research projects
  • ensuring data is stored, shared, preserved and disposed of in an appropriate and responsible manner; and  documenting and making available research data
  • ensuring the results of research are openly accessible
  • acknowledging the contribution of others
  • taking action if research misconduct is suspected
  • managing any conflicts of interest in line with the College policy.

Ethical requirements arise from an evolving understanding of the rights and duties of human beings. Ethics are broader than law, though the law can both reflect and clarify ethical duties.

Birkbeck staff and students are expected to exercise ethical principles of honesty, rigour, transparency, care and respect in relation to all their activities, including the planning and conduct of research. All activities carried out by Birkbeck staff and students that involve one or more activities from the following list require ethical consideration and approval:

  • an intervention or interaction with human participants;
  • the collection and/or study of data derived from human participants;
  • a potential impact on animals or the environment;
  • a potential risk of significant reputational damage to the College;
  • a significant change to, or potential to damage, our cultural heritage;
  • requiring an individual to step outside accepted regulatory or legal norms.

Find out everything you need to know about College's approach to research ethics and integrity.