Ethical application

cETO Ethical application

The application procedures are:

  1. Full track: full assessment of the ethical aspects of the study (advice on WMO obligation can be obtained)
  2. Fast track: brief assessment of ethical aspects of the study (focus on participant information, informed consent, Personal Data Protection Act) (only possible under certain conditions. See the fast track checklist)
  3. Amendment: in case of substantial changes to applications previously approved by the cETO (only possible under certain conditions. See the amendment checklist).

In case of internship or master’s thesis studies, students prepare the application, but only the OU researcher bearing primary responsibility (University lecturer (UD), associate professor (UHD) or professor) is authorized to submit a final study proposal (follow the instructions in the online form).

Assessment of studies using secondary data
The ethical assessment by the cETO basically concerns studies involving human participants in which data of participants (or through intermediates who provide data of the participants) still need to be collected. Studies concerning secondary data are therefore not assessed. When a study using secondary data re-uses personal records or data is combined in such a manner that data are re-traceable, than the cETO has to assess the study according to the Personal Data Protection Act.

Preparing the application

Before submitting an application, researchers need to have a cETO online account. The members of the Faculty of Psychology and the Faculty of Educational Sciences already have an account (username = email address). If you do not have an account, then complete the account application form at You will receive an email with personal login details. Before you submit a study proposal, you need to prepare the application. There are several checklists for each application procedure (including references to important information and forms) that you can use.

Flowchart of the online application procedureChecklist Full Track

Checklist Fast Track

Checklist Amendment

To submit a final study proposal, go to

Manual for routing in the online cETO system

See image: Flowchart of the online application procedure


  • You must read the data storage procedure and conform to it (see attachment 16 'Important information'). For more information about collecting personal data, see the guidelines of the Personal Data Protection Act (see attachment 1 'Important information').

Procedure ethical assessment

Ethical assessment will be performed on request (for instance because a journal demands evidence of ethical acceptability):

  • The researcher submits the study proposal according to the online application procedure.
  • The researcher receives a written and binding decision of the ethical acceptability by email.
  • If the study is ethically unacceptable according to the cETO (or at least till the moment that the study is approved), the study is not allowed to start. The researcher receives comments on the proposal including an overview of necessary changes. He/She gets the opportunity to reply to the comments and to propose changes.
  • If the study proposal is approved, then the study is allowed to start. The decision is also send to the Dean of the faculty. The Dean has 14 days to react in case of objection to the study.

Ethical assessment is obligatory for all studies involving human participants for employees of the Faculty of Psychology and the Faculty of Educational Sciences (this does not apply for secondary data-analysis). This obligation comes into effect for all students performing a study in the faculty in November 2017. The cETO provides binding written advice.