Research ethics

Research ethics

Ethics in research concerns issues relating to the research content and the researcher’s relationship to the task. Here you can read about important principles that form the basis for good research practice, about the responsibility that researchers have to follow this, and what happens when good research practice is not followed.

Good research practice

Researchers are responsible for following good research practice in their research. The University has overall responsibility for ensuring that research is carried out in accordance with good research practice.

As of 1 January 2020, the Act (2019:504) on responsibility for good research practice and the examination of misconduct in research applies.

The Act defines research misconduct as fabrication, falsification or plagiarism (FFP) committed intentionally or by gross negligence in the planning, implementation or reporting of research. In the Act, FFP is referred to as a serious deviation from good research practice.

Suspicions of serious deviations from good research practice (FFP) are investigated by a special national board; The Board for the Review of Research Misconduct.

Other deviations from good research practice at BTH are handled by the University.

Additional Information

The All European Academies’ (ALLEA) publication, “The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity” states some fundamental principles that good research practice is based on. ALLEA’s Code of Conduct has been adopted as the ethical framework for the EU’s research funding, among others. The principles are intended to give researchers guidance on practical, ethical and intellectual problems associated with research.

The Swedish Research Council’s views on good research practice are based on ALLEA’s fundamental principles. The Swedish Research Council’s publication Good research practice develops its views on research ethics issues.

Lagen om ansvar för god forskningssed och prövning av oredlighet i forskning (2019:504)

SUHF: Guidance for manging suspected deviations from good research practice (only in Swedish).

Ethical advice

If you as a doctoral student or researcher and have questions about the research ethical aspects of your work, you are welcome to contact the Ethical Advisory Board in South East Sweden.

The Ethical Advisory Board in South East Sweden was formed in 2005 and consists of representatives from Linnaeus University, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Region Kalmar County, Region Blekinge and Region Kronoberg. The chairmanship is shared between the two universities and is currently held by Linnaeus University.

The Ethical Advisory Board assists with ethical review and advisory opinions only to projects that are carried out in Sweden and thus subject to Swedish legislation. The Ethical Advisory Board offers advisory ethical review of the project regarding relation and information to research subjects as well as handling, collecting, processing, publishing and archiving data.

The Ethical Advisory Board in South East Sweden does not issue an advisory opinion on projects already underway.

Advisory opinions are given in Swedish.

Link to the application and forms can be found on Linnaeus University’s website:

Ethical Advisory Board in South East Sweden

Ethical review

If you plan to conduct research involving humans or the processing of personal data, you may need to apply for ethical review.

It is forbidden to start certain research unless it has first been approved by the Swedish Ethical Review Authority.

When is ethical review needed?

The requirement for ethical review applies to all research that fulfils any of the conditions specified in  the Act on the Ethical Review of Research Involving Humans (2003:460).

Ethical review shall be carried out if the research includes personal data relating to:

  • racial or ethnic origin;
  • Political views
  • religious or philosophical beliefs
  • Trade union membership
  • health
  • sex life or sexual orientation
  • Genetic data
  • Biometric data
  • offences involving criminal offences, criminal convictions, pre-trial supervision measures or administrative detention

Ethical review must also be carried out if the research:

  • involves a physical intervention on the research subject or a deceased person
  • is carried out according to a method that aims to affect the research subject physically or mentally
  • is carried out according to a method that involves an obvious risk of harming the research subject physically or mentally
  • refers to studies on biological material taken from a living human being and traceable to that human being or for medical purposes from a deceased human being and traceable to that human being

How does ethical review work?

In order to obtain permission to conduct research on humans, human tissue or sensitive personal data, you need to submit an application for ethical review to the Swedish Ethical Review Authority.

Information about this can be found on the Swedish Ethical Review Authority’s website.

Keep in mind that the application for ethical review must also be registered at BTH. Ask for a reference number from Registrator.