Research Ethics Committee

Research Ethics Committee (cETO)

Research involving human participants is a commonly used research method in scientific research. However, being involved in a research study may bring participants in a risk situation. To minimise risks and to protect participants' rights and interests, researchers must consider ethical and legal norms established for research involving human participants on national and international levels. The Research Ethics Committee (cETO) aims to support researchers throughout this process by providing ethical assessment and developing recommendations to ensure ethical and legal norms are properly addressed.

What are the main tasks of the cETO?

The Research Ethics Committee (cETO) was founded in 2012 and appointed by the Executive Board of the Open Universiteit (OU). The cETO is a university-wide advisory committee and it operates under the deans of the faculties. The cETO aims to support researchers and students of the OU in conducting scientific research involving human participants in accordance with the ethical guidelines and rules of behaviour established on national and international levels.

The cETO has three main tasks:

  • To inform researchers and students about the ethical assessment procedures, ethical guidelines and (inter)national rules;
  • To assess whether or not studies involving human participants fall within the scope of WMO
    (Medical Research Involving Human Participants Act)
    (Wet medisch-wetenschappelijk onderzoek met mensen [Dutch]);
  • To ethically assess scientific research involving human participants, which is not in the scope of WMO.

What are the ethical guidelines, rules and regulations?

There are several (inter)national laws, ethical guidelines and rules of behaviour used to ethically assess the scientific research proposals.

  • Medical Research Involving Human Participants Act
    (Wet medisch-wetenschappelijk onderzoek met mensen [Dutch])
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
    (Algemene Verordening Gegevensbescherming - AVG [Dutch])
  • Execution Act GDPR
    (Uitvoerinsgwet AVG [Dutch])
  • Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (by VSNU)
    (Nederlandse Gedragscode voor Wetenschappelijke Integriteit [Dutch])
  • Code of Ethics for research in the social and behavioural sciences involving human participants
    (by Decanenoverleg Sociale Wetenschappen, DSW [Dutch])
  • Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
    (Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschap, KNAW [Dutch])
  • Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (American Psychological Association, APA)

Researchers and students are required to act according to these guidelines and regulations.