The ombudsperson met representatives of ethical committees

On 10 December, the International Human Rights Day, Ombudsperson for Academic Ethics and Procedures, Dr. Loreta Tauginienė met the representatives from ethical committees of research and higher education institutions to discuss their experience in implementation of the Guidelines for Ethical Review. The guidelines were published one year ago and granted the ground for appropriate assurance of human rights in research activities – to assure not only the compliance with ethical research principles, but also to protect the interests and personal data of the research participants (persons involved). These aspects were presented in more detail by Inspector of Journalist Ethics, Gražina Ramanauskaitė. She stressed that the Office of the Inspector of Journalist Ethics is responsible for supervision of the General Data Protection Regulation, when the personal data are processed for the purposes of journalism, academic, artistic or literary self-expression, so the academic community may ask them any questions related to personal data protection in research data.

Besides, Prof. Dr. Ramunė Kasperė and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Raminta Pučėtaitė from Kaunas University of Technology and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Viktorija Čepukienė from Vytautas Magnus University also shared their experience of ethical review with the representatives of ethical committees of research and higher education institutions. The experience of Vytautas Magnus University in ethical review of the planned research of the psychology students amounts to 10 years. The representatives of both universities acknowledged the paramount importance of ethical review for the quality of research and higher education.

The representatives of ethical committees were interested in research performance via social networks, limit of children age when informed consent for research is expressed, use of archived material for research purposes, etc. The ombudswoman noted that when the codes of academic ethics are revised, it is necessary to take such violations of academic ethics into consideration as non-compliance with the conditions of ethical approval, conditions or use of research data when the ethical approval is annulled in the course of research, when the research is conducted without an ethical approval provided it is compulsory, etc.

During the meeting, the Office’s study on the offer of contract cheating services in Lithuania was also presented. Senior specialist of the Office, Dr. Eglė Ozolinčiūtė urged the academic community to be an example promoting academic integrity practices in the taught subjects, especially in case of social sciences, as one fourth (25 percent) of the advertisements are related to contract cheating services in the field of social sciences.

Approx. 30 representatives of ethical committees were present in the meeting.