Decision takers and policymakers should be seeking evidence to support their work from the range of expertise on offer. Sound, reliable, transparent research, not driven by ideology or subservient to it and undeclared vested interests, produces robust evidence that can benefit social wellbeing and societal progress. It is in the interests of the scientific community to ensure the evidence produced is reliable and trustworthy and ethically generated. It is in the interests of those who make policy to be able to assure the decision takers (and the general public) that evidence has been generated in the best possible way.
We present here a draft statement of principles that lie behind seeking/using ethical evidence from non-medical research to inform policy. The short, clear, succinct and actionable statement we present here is designated the ‘Accord’. This is the baseline that we intend the further consultation process to be built on.
Neither its title nor content is ‘fixed’ at this point. The Accord will be accompanied with further tools and information/resources, thus constituting the PRO-RES Framework for non-medical research.
We aim to explore its potential with the appropriate constituencies and across the range of stakeholders. These include the producers of research, disseminators and intermediaries, influencers, policy advisers, decision-makers and implementers. The draft Accord is based on the work accomplished by the first phase of the PRO-RES Project and based on declared foundational assumptions about the values, principles and standards involved in ethical research conducted with integrity.
What do we mean by Continuous Discursive engagement Click here to expand
- There needs to be an ethical discourse to be sure that researchers are aware of, and sensitive to, the ethical dimensions of their work. That awareness depends on engagement in ethical discourse as an integral aspect of engagement in research.
- To bring about a cultural change in research activity, theremustbe engagement of everyone responsible for the process, including researchers, stakeholders, peers and the users of research.
- This engagement needs to be continuous. Ethical issues can arise at every stage of research: conception, development, proposal, process, conclusion, dissemination and use. Ethical consideration cannot be a single-stage process.