Smart Glossary of Terms and Concepts

DEFINITIONS OF TERMS AND CONCEPTS: It is essential that the understanding of terms and concepts related to research ethics and scientific integrity is shared across all these communities of interest. The Framework includes a glossary of terms and concepts drawing upon the existing literature and pointing to the key dilemmas to be addressed. The terms and concepts are listed in alphabetical order for ease of access – this does not imply any other form of priority. Note these terms might have different meaning or applications in different contexts. Their use here is in relation to the maintenance of ethical research practices. The definitions we supply are based on a lengthy consensus process agreement. Their use is based first on consensus amongst PRO-RES consortium partners and then on agreement with a representative sample of stakeholders.

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3105, 2020

Academic Freedom

May 31st, 2020|

This is freedom for individuals within the academy, rather than the autonomy of academic institutions within society, although the two are linked. While the precise meaning and boundaries of the term are contested, it describes an expectation

3105, 2020

Accountability

May 31st, 2020|

Accountability applies to both individuals and institutions. It means taking responsibility for your actions rather than trying to shift responsibility (or blame) elsewhere. This involves being able to explain the reasons behind your actions

3105, 2020

Acknowledge (and failure to)

May 31st, 2020|

Give appropriate credit to someone for their ideas or effort that have contributed to a project (or fail to do so). [See also Authorship.] ‘Appropriate credit’ varies by discipline. For example, in psychology, people

3105, 2020

Aftercare

May 31st, 2020|

Researchers have responsibilities after a project is completed (Kara 2018). It is not easy to define the end of a research project: is it when the funding has all been spent, or when the

3105, 2020

Anonymity

May 31st, 2020|

Granting to participants or others the right to have their name and other identifying details withheld from third parties. Committees or boards that grant ethics approval usually require researchers to maintain participants’ anonymity. However,

3105, 2020

Application (of findings)

May 31st, 2020|

Putting research findings to use in professional or other practice or public policy. This is generally regarded as ethical because it maximises use of the resources expended on conducting the research. These resources are

3105, 2020

Assent

May 31st, 2020|

The agreement of someone not deemed able to give consent due to, for example, youth or cognitive impairment [see also Consent]. This contains the implication that a parent or a carer will always be

3105, 2020

Audit

May 31st, 2020|

A type of research that aims to reveal the efficiency, effectiveness or quality of an institution, community, or other entity by examining its use of resources and assets relative to costs and outputs. Although this

3105, 2020

Authorship

May 31st, 2020|

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors recommended four conditions for authorship: Substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work; or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data for the work; AND Drafting

3105, 2020

Autonomy

May 31st, 2020|

“The capacity of a person to govern him or herself, on the basis of reasoned decisions and free from controlling influences by others. Autonomy is widely held to involve the capacity for reason and understanding,

3105, 2020

Axiology

May 31st, 2020|

The branch of philosophy that includes ethics. Axiology ‘refers to the analysis of values to better understand their meanings, characteristics, their purpose, their acceptance as true knowledge, and their influence on people’s daily experiences.

3105, 2020

Beneficence

May 31st, 2020|

Acting to create benefit. Under the influence of biomedical research models, this is generally seen as benefit for participants. However, creating benefit is not straightforward. There is almost always some risk of harm to

3105, 2020

Bias

May 31st, 2020|

“A bias is a tendency, inclination, or prejudice toward or against something or someone.”( Psychology Today 2019) Biases can be positive, such as a bias towards caring for others or away from crime. However,

3105, 2020

Bullying

May 31st, 2020|

Bullying is generally defined for research purposes as the frequent, persistent and hostile harassment or intimidation of someone less powerful (Samnani and Singh 2012). However, definitions of bullying can vary between cultures. (Boynton 2017).

3105, 2020

Care

May 31st, 2020|

Having concern for someone’s wellbeing; expressing that concern; taking steps to help someone maintain or improve their wellbeing. In relation to ethics, the ‘ethics of care’ refers to making sure all participants and other

3105, 2020

Cognitive bias

May 31st, 2020|

A particular kind of Bias denoting automatic and replicable errors in thinking (Kara 2018). Over 100 kinds of cognitive bias have been defined, some of which are relevant to researchers. Examples include: sameness error,

3105, 2020

Collaboration

May 31st, 2020|

A unifying activity of working with another or others to produce something together for mutual and wider benefit in which collaborators are united in a common enterprise and use a common identity to achieve shared

3105, 2020

Compassion

May 31st, 2020|

Often referred to as a virtue, a deep awareness of, concern for and sensitivity to the suffering or misfortune of another or others, and a motivation to help them. The suffering or misfortune is of

3105, 2020

Conflict of interest

May 31st, 2020|

Conflicts of interests occur when personal, financial, political and academic concerns co-exist and the potential exists for one interest to be illegitimately favoured over another that has equal or even greater legitimacy, in a

3105, 2020

Confidentiality

May 31st, 2020|

A legal and ethical obligation imposed on the recipient of information provided by another person (the provider) not to use that information for any purpose other than that for which the information was provided.

3105, 2020

Consent

May 31st, 2020|

Agreement to take part in research. This should be based on an understanding of the research project and its aims [see also Informed Consent and Free, Prior and Informed Consent]. In theory consent should

3105, 2020

Cooperation

May 31st, 2020|

A connective activity among individuals or groups whose contributions are complementary, where participants are all working to achieve the goal for their own benefit. This might occur, for example, by dividing portions of a research

3105, 2020

Corruption

May 31st, 2020|

Although corruption is the focus of international policies and strategies for its elimination, such as the UN Convention against Corruption (United Nations 2003) and the European Commission’s (2019) summary of its policy, it is a

3105, 2020

Debiasing

May 31st, 2020|

Processes that aim to identify and remove biases that are likely to affect the way that research is formulated, conducted and reported. For researchers, de-biasing involves accepting, detecting, analysing and changing personal biases in their

3105, 2020

Deceit

May 31st, 2020|

The action or practice of wilfully or recklessly concealing or misrepresenting the truth or material facts with an intent to mislead. In research, knowingly concealing facts that are material to the approval of research,

3105, 2020

Democracy

May 31st, 2020|

A belief in freedom and equality between people or a system of government based on this belief in which power is either held by elected representatives or directly by the people themselves. Democracy can be an important contextual factor for the conduct of research. The

3105, 2020

Dignity

May 31st, 2020|

The intrinsic importance and value that a person has, that warrants respect from other people and for themselves; having a state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect. This short definition reflects the two historical and

3105, 2020

Dissemination

May 31st, 2020|

The acts and processes of distributing and sharing widely results, outcomes, findings and information gained through research, in order to contribute to knowledge or practice or to serve a public good. This may, but need

3105, 2020

Diversity

May 31st, 2020|

The motto of the European Union, “united in diversity” signifies how Europeans from many different cultures, traditions and languages have come together to work for peace and prosperity. It is the leading example of

3105, 2020

Dual use

May 31st, 2020|

Research that, based on current understanding, can reasonably be anticipated to provide knowledge, information, products, or technologies that could be used to present a threat to public health and safety, plants, animals, the natural environment,

3105, 2020

Due process

May 31st, 2020|

A citizen’s fair treatment in conformity with the principles. rules and processes of a democratic state’s legal system, including the right to a hearing before administrative action, the right of access to essential facts; the

3105, 2020

Duplicate and redundant publication

May 31st, 2020|

Publishing two or more papers that share exactly the same hypothesis or question, data, discussion and conclusions, or present little or no new material (see also Self-plagiarism). In the social sciences, it may be

3105, 2020

Editorial misconduct

May 31st, 2020|

Editors have responsibility for running their review processes fairly and reaching publication decisions impartially (see also Due Process). This requires them to declare their own conflicts of interest and manage the conflicts of others.

3105, 2020

Equity

May 31st, 2020|

The word has a number of meanings. In the research context, it usually refers to arrangements or distributions that are proportional to contribution or desert and, in these senses, fair. An equitable arrangement may

3105, 2020

Eudaimonia

May 31st, 2020|

The state and practices of living in an ideal situation of being healthy, happy, and prosperous, arising from and maintained by actions that result in that state of individual well-being. This definition attempts to

3105, 2020

Exclusion criteria

May 31st, 2020|

‘A set of predefined definitions that is used to identify subjects who will not be included or who will have to withdraw from a research study after being included’ (Velasco 2010). Inclusion and exclusion criteria

3105, 2020

Fabrication

May 31st, 2020|

‘Making up data or results and recording or reporting them’ (Office of Research Integrity 2000). Fabricated data do not exist at all but have been invented or created by the researcher. (see also Falsification).

3105, 2020

Facilitation

May 31st, 2020|

The UK Medical Research Council (1997) used to include ‘facilitating of misconduct by collusion in, or concealment of, such actions by others’ in its definition of scientific misconduct. This is still part of the

3105, 2020

Falsification

May 31st, 2020|

‘Manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record’ (Office of Research Integrity 2000. See also All European

3105, 2020

Fraud

May 31st, 2020|

Fraud is ‘a deliberate act of deception intended for personal gain or to cause a loss to another party’ (European Anti-Fraud Office 2018). Researchers may commit fraud – sometimes in the form of fabrication

3105, 2020

Free, prior and informed consent (FPIC)

May 31st, 2020|

Binding and non-binding international developments in law relating to Indigenous rights led to the International Labour Organization’s (1989) Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries and the United Nations (2007) Declaration on

3105, 2020

Governance

May 31st, 2020|

The policies, rules, processes and behaviour that determine how powers are exercised. The European Commission (2001) has expressed these as a set of five principles which should inform the work of all European institutions,

3105, 2020

Harm

May 31st, 2020|

Joel Feinberg (1984) defined harm as the ‘defeating of an interest’, where the interests of an individual are defined as ‘the range of things in which that individual has a stake’. Although the influence

3105, 2020

Honesty

May 31st, 2020|

The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (All European Academies 2017) identifies honesty ‘in developing, undertaking, reviewing, reporting and communicating research in a transparent, fair, full and unbiased way’ as one of the

3105, 2020

Inclusion criteria

May 31st, 2020|

‘A set of predefined characteristics used to identify subjects who will be included in a research study’ (Velasco 2010). Inclusion and exclusion criteria are used to create the selection and eligibility criteria used to determine

3105, 2020

Independence of Research

May 31st, 2020|

The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (All European Academies 2017) states that research should ideally develop ‘independently of pressure from commissioning parties and from ideological, economic or political interests’. For research to be

3105, 2020

Indolence

May 31st, 2020|

Some literature points to structural causes for research misconduct. In this explanation, fabrication, falsification and plagiarism become shortcuts to meeting unrealistic workloads or expectations. Other commentators point to moral failings, including indolence or laziness

3105, 2020

Informed consent

May 31st, 2020|

Informed consent implies that participants need to have substantial understanding of, and agree voluntarily to, the nature of the research and their role within it. Participants need to have the capacity to consent. Consent

3105, 2020

Justice

May 31st, 2020|

Different conceptions of justice exist and there is disagreement about how they might be applied to research. Justice is one of the four principles introduced in the Belmont Report (Department of Health, Education, and

3105, 2020

Kindness Ethics

May 31st, 2020|

According to Confucius (500 BCE), this is one of the five elements of perfect virtue. As such it is a quality developed within a person rather than a principle to guide actions. It describes

3105, 2020

Maleficence

May 31st, 2020|

Refers to causing harms or seeking to cause harms. It may imply ‘evil’ intent but can also be used where the harm is not intentional. In ethics, ‘non-maleficence’ is commonly paired with Beneficence as

3105, 2020

Malfeasance

May 31st, 2020|

Typically used to refer to intentional wrong-doing, especially in a corporate context.

3105, 2020

Misrepresentation

May 31st, 2020|

Where falsities are asserted as facts, where other people’s views, utterances or actions are reported inaccurately or falsely, or where research findings are not truthfully published or otherwise reported. Can also refer to spreading

3105, 2020

Misuse

May 31st, 2020|

If research data or findings are used for purposes that were not declared as part of the initial research design and are associated with actual or potential harm, this may constitute misuse. A topical example

3105, 2020

Nepotism

May 31st, 2020|

Using a privileged position to unfairly favour individual research colleagues, collaborators or relatives over other persons in giving access to resources or other benefits, such as employment opportunities.

3105, 2020

Non-maleficence

May 31st, 2020|

This is linked to the idea of Beneficence in Principlism. It is a way of recognizing that it may be very difficult to demonstrate that research will actually yield a direct benefit to specific

3105, 2020

Obligations

May 31st, 2020|

Explicit or implicit requirements for the conduct of persons and organizations involved in research towards participants, funders etc., that are established by ethics principles, codes or guidelines, professional regulators, by specific conditions drawn up

3105, 2020

Operating procedures

May 31st, 2020|

Detailed specifications of processes to be followed by bodies such as research ethics committees in dealing with matters such as the reviewing of applications, the hearing of appeals against decisions or responding to complaints.

3105, 2020

Plagiarism

May 31st, 2020|

Presenting other people’s work or ideas as one’s own, for example by including text from another author in one’s own writing without attribution, is plagiarism. Self-plagiarism, the unacknowledged re-use by an author of text

3105, 2020

Principles

May 31st, 2020|

Statements of principle seek to promote consistency across broad ranges of actions or the evaluation of actions, in alignment with specific values.

3105, 2020

Principlism

May 31st, 2020|

An approach to ethics in biomedicine associated particularly with the US philosophers Tom Beauchamp and James Childress (2013). It argues that ethical judgements can be made by reference to four principles: Autonomy; Beneficence; Non-maleficence;

3105, 2020

Privacy

May 31st, 2020|

The concept of privacy may be expressed in two main ways: It can be thought of in a relatively passive fashion as respect for a feeling on the part of individuals that they would

3105, 2020

Proportionality

May 31st, 2020|

The adjustment of research ethics processes to the level of risk anticipated in any particular project. This may include less intensive ethics review or information and consent requirements for projects identified as ‘low-risk’ or

3105, 2020

Publication ethics

May 31st, 2020|

The principles, practices and policies that ensure published work can be trusted as a reliable source. The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE 2017) has developed a taxonomy of publication ethics issues. These issues may

3105, 2020

Quality

May 31st, 2020|

Property or attribute. Typically used in research ethics to refer to ‘quality’ of research design and implementation as measured against criteria such as scientific soundness, meaningfulness of research questions, significance of findings or level

3105, 2020

Questionable Research Practices

May 31st, 2020|

Many research integrity codes and statements developed outside the United States have extended their definition of research misconduct well beyond Fabrication, Falsification and Plagiarism to include other matters such as: undisclosed Duplicate Publication; Misrepresentation

3105, 2020

Racism

May 31st, 2020|

Using the scientifically unsound concept of ‘race’ to generalise about and stigmatise specific groups, typically on spurious criteria such as country of origin, skin colour, presumed religious affiliation or ethnic practices. Also acting towards colleagues,

3105, 2020

Rapport

May 31st, 2020|

Establishment of a congenial, trusting relationship with another individual which facilitates mutual understanding. An important basis for effective participant interviewing in research.

3105, 2020

Reflectivity

May 31st, 2020|

The act of applying critical evaluative thinking to one’s behaviour. In research, seeking to become aware of potential personal biases or shortcomings in all stages and aspects of research.

3105, 2020

Reflexivity

May 31st, 2020|

In research, reflexivity refers to a researcher applying to themselves the same critical frame, methods or analyses that they apply to their research topic, participants and data. For example, a discourse analyst might reflexively

3105, 2020

Reliability

May 31st, 2020|

The demonstration that repeated use of the same research method produces the same, or consistent, findings. It may refer either to the use of the same method by different researchers or by the same

3105, 2020

Research competence

May 31st, 2020|

Ethical research requires that researchers should have the appropriate experience, qualifications and competence to design and carry out their work. Research ethics committees are often required to consider whether researchers have sufficient competence as

3105, 2020

Research integrity

May 31st, 2020|

Definitions of integrity vary across countries, institutions and disciplines. The choice can reflect whether emphasis is placed on detection and punishment or on education and culture. The dominant position in many jurisdictions dwells on

3105, 2020

Research misconduct

May 31st, 2020|

The United States Federal Research Misconduct Policy (Office of Research Integrity 2000) defined research misconduct narrowly in terms of Fabrication, Falsification and Plagiarism. This threefold definition of misconduct has become part of research integrity

3105, 2020

Respect

May 31st, 2020|

In this context, respect means having proper regard for the feelings, wishes or rights of another person, group or institution. It is the acknowledgement of Dignity and incorporated in the notion of Due Process.

3105, 2020

Responsibility

May 31st, 2020|

Responsibility is the condition or fact of being answerable or accountable for something within one’s power, control, or management. In this context, it is often taken to mean that researchers should anticipate and assesses

3105, 2020

Risk

May 31st, 2020|

Risk is the likelihood that research will result in damage, injury, liability, loss, or any other negative occurrence to some group or individual. The risk may fall on the wider society, on some specific

3105, 2020

Safety

May 31st, 2020|

Safety is the effort to mitigate or manage Risk, wherever it may arise. It involves measures to protect the health, well-being and rights of researchers, research participants, particular communities and the wider society. The

3105, 2020

Sanctions

May 31st, 2020|

The word ‘sanction’ has two meanings in English. It may denote approval or permission to undertake an action. In this context, however, it is used in the legal sense of a penalty intended to

3105, 2020

Security

May 31st, 2020|

Security is freedom from, or protection against, potential harm (or other unwanted coercive change) from external forces. Its beneficiaries may be individuals and social groups, institutions, or whole societies. Security mostly refers to protection

3105, 2020

Self-plagiarism

May 31st, 2020|

Self-plagiarism occurs when authors ‘reuse their own previously disseminated content and pass it off as a “new” product without letting the reader know that this material has appeared previously’ (Roig, 2013). Self-plagiarism may involve

3105, 2020

Sexism

May 31st, 2020|

Actions based on the belief or unexamined assumption that people recognized as members of one sex or gender are less intelligent, able, skilful, etc. than people recognized as members of the other sex or gender.

3105, 2020

Sexual harassment

May 31st, 2020|

‘where any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature occurs, with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile,

3105, 2020

Standards

May 31st, 2020|

Statements about the quality of performance that should be expected from some activity. These statements may prescribe the technical details of the activity and the process required for the outcome to be recognized as acceptable.

3105, 2020

Stigmatisation

May 31st, 2020|

The process of marking social disapproval of some individual, group or institution that is not considered to comply with the expectations of those around it. Commonly, this disapproval is not based on objective evidence

3105, 2020

Transparency

May 31st, 2020|

A lack of hidden agendas and conditions associated with some action, accompanied by the open availability of all the information required for Collaboration, Cooperation, and collective decision making. Agreements, dealings, practices, and transactions are

3005, 2020

Value

May 30th, 2020|

In ethical thinking, value goes beyond the economic calculations that are often used to produce a single metric in order to evaluate the likely costs and benefits of actions for individuals and organizations, whether

3005, 2020

Vested interests

May 30th, 2020|

Applies both to individuals and to public and private groups and organisations. Individuals may seek to promote a theory or misrepresent a finding for personal advancement. Can also apply to organisations seeking to control

3005, 2020

Vice

May 30th, 2020|

Immoral or wicked – but not necessarily unlawful – individual behaviour. It is generally thought to be the result of a weakness of character that applies regardless of context. Vices may be contained by

3005, 2020

Virtue

May 30th, 2020|

Morally good or desirable individual behaviour thought to reflect positive strength of character that may be displayed in any context. It may be encouraged through education and reward, although it is not motivated by

3005, 2020

Voluntarism

May 30th, 2020|

The foundational assumption that individuals are free to choose their own goals, and how to achieve them, albeit within certain societal and cultural constraints. These choices are a matter of will rather than being

3005, 2020

Vulnerability

May 30th, 2020|

A limited capacity to protect one’s own interests or Security from harm, exploitation or other wrongdoing. It is not a fixed property of individuals or institutions but depends upon the context and resources, material or

2905, 2020

Whistleblowing

May 29th, 2020|

The exposure of information or actions within an organization, public or private, that may be considered illegal, unethical, or abusive. Where an organization lacks Transparency, whistleblowing may be an important means of revealing misconduct. As