Guidance for Independent Researchers

This is a draft page for feedback and piloting purposes only. The processes described are currently under review, and the use of the Quick Scan is not compulsory till this has been formally agreed upon. 

Ethics and privacy issues need to be considered when conducting research. You are strongly recommended to obtain ethical approval for your research line or individual studies through the Beta-Geo Ethics Review Board, which also includes a privacy assessment by the faculty data steward. In addition, all staff of the Institute of Information and Computing Sciences (even when not conducting research with humans or human data) are required to use the Institute's Ethics and Privacy Quick Scan as follows: 

  1. Raise your awareness of ethical and privacy issues to consider in your research design, by reading the Quick Scan. You can use the Word version of the Quick Scan for this, or the Qualtrics version (do not submit your answers at this stage). Do this early, as using particular participants/data/topics will raise more ethical and privacy concerns than others, which you may want to consider before you decide on your research questions.
  2. Fill in the Quick Scan. Once you have designed your research/study, fill in the Quick Scan (but do not submit it yet). If the Quick Scan gives warnings, it may be possible to change your research/study design to avoid, minimize, or mitigate issues. Once you are confident about your answers, submit the Quick Scan using the Qualtrics version
  3. Follow-on if the Quick Scan finds:
    • No issues: you can start your research.  
    • One privacy and/or ethics issue: somebody will look at the answers you provided. You should hear soon (normally within one working week) whether you can start your research or whether a chat with the data steward / a full ethics review is required.
    • Multiple issues: you will automatically be required to (1) talk with the data steward (they are notified and will get in touch with you) or (2) submit a full application to the Ethics Review Board. This does not mean that you cannot do your research, but it may cause some delay.  

If you are conducting multiple studies, you can do a Quick Scan per study or for the set of studies (if the answers are similar).