The ethical and legal issues in research are the most important considerations for every researcher. These issues should be considered on every step of the research: be it the problem formulation stage; data collection phase; or the data analysis and interpretation phase of the research. The researcher should take into account that none of the ethical and legal issues have been violated. None of the journals approve manuscript for publication until the research is proved to be ethically and legally correct. Here we will see about some of the common ethical and legal issues in research and how to safeguard against failure to abide by these rules.
Ethical and legal issues
These are internationally accepted guidelines that deal with the issues that can lead to ethical and legal issues in research. There might be some regional ethics and legal issues that should also be consulted with some local committee to make sure that you do not violate any ethical or legal requirement of the research. These regulations are particularly related to the research participants, research sponsors, research investigators consent and authorship, and avoiding bias, prejudice and fraud in research.
Issues related to research participants
The most important ethical and legal considerations are related to the research participants. It is the researcher’s responsibility to safeguard and maintain the privacy, dignity, respect, privacy, and protection of the research participants. There are issues that are controversial in nature the author should take consent form the research participants before publishing any controversial or personal information about the research participants. It is better to avoid disclosing the names and identities of the research participants in the research.
- The author should take consent form the research participants about the participation in the research. The research should also take consent about the part of the information that the participant provides and will be published int he research. No information can be published in the research without research participant’s consent.
- The researcher should make sure that the identities of the research participants are kept anonymous. When it is required to show the identity the research participant should be informed and a written consent should be taken.
- The subjects or participants of the research should not be forced to participate or to provide any information. They should not be forced to give consent for any publication of information they have provided.
- The researcher should make sure that any disclosure of information provided by the participant will not lead to any harm to the participant.
- In any way the participants of the research should benefit form the research and its outcomes. There should not be any possibility that the research will provide any harm if not good to them.
- If the research participants are children a written consent should be asked from the parents or guardians of the children.
- The researcher can express thanks to the participants by different means. The researcher can even pay the respondents for their participants, the participants can also be given incentives for their participation, or the researcher can verbally or in written form thank the participants.
Issues related to researchers
Te issues related to the researcher include avoiding bias, prejudice, avoiding any fraud, authorship consent, copyright issues, and protection of the sponsors.
- A scientific research has no place for personal biases and prejudices. The researcher can introduce bias at any stage of the research. The researcher should be well aware of the biases that he can introduce in the research. He should make sure that the analysis and interpretation of the research should be free of personal biases. Biases can be introduced in the research due to some preconceived views of the topic. In qualitative research the researcher can use various ways to improve the validity and reliability of the research. In quantitative research the researcher should make sure each step of the research has been taken precisely to avoid any bias.
- Fraud is cheating and a crime. The researcher can do fraud by deceiving the publication body, the audience, and the sponsors. A fraud in research can be the publication of someone else’s work by your own name. A fraud can also be the publication of someone else’s research findings or experimental data in your research. The researcher can also fraud by duplicate publication of almost same research in different journals. Some of the fraud can be easily detected by the publication journals while others are very difficult to identify.
- The ethical and legal issues in research also include the authorship and the order of authorship in research. When there is only one investigator involved in the research the authorship naturally goes to that one. When there are more than one authors involved the order of authorship should be discussed among them. Each contributor of the research should be well aware of his position in the final manuscript. It is a crime to provide false authorship to a manuscript. The roles of the authors and their order in the final manuscript should be decided well in the beginning of the research. This will help in having any conflicts at the end of the research.
- The copyright protection of the research can help the researchers in protecting their work from any commercial or noncommercial use. The authors and the publishers should define and sign the copyright protection so that other users can use the work accordingly.
- The sponsors of the research can be the private organization that has sponsored the research, or the university under which the research is conducting the research, it can also be a government organization. The sponsors should be clearly identified and acknowledged in the research. Any other person who contributed in any form to the research should also be acknowledged in the research.
- Yip C., Nian-Lin R. H., and Ban L. S. (Sep, 2016). “Legal and Ethical Issues in Research”. Indian Journal of Anesthesia. Vol. 60 (9). 684-688. https://dx.doi.org/10.4103%2F0019-5049.190627
- Improving Access to and Confidentiality of Research Data: Report of a Workshop. (2000). Chapter: 3 Ethical and Legal Requirements Associated with Data Dissemination. The National Academies Press. 18-28. https://www.nap.edu/read/9958/chapter/4
- Resnik, D.B.What is Ethics in Research and Why it is Important. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/resources/bioethics/whatis/index.cfm