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The National Committee for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and the Humanities (NESH)

Stained glass window (France, cathedral of Chartres)

Stained glass window (France, cathedral of Chartres)Photo: Shutterstock

The National Committee for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and the Humanities (NESH) has been in existence since 1990. The Committee has twelve members: two lay representatives and ten members with different professional backgrounds.

NESH’s charter states, among other things, that the Committee shall draw up guidelines for research ethics in the social sciences, law, the humanities and theology. The first version of the guidelines was published in 1993. This version was revised in 1999. A new edition was published in 2006. The new version contains updated references to relevant legislation. In 2003 the committee made guidelines for Internet Research.

Download  Guidelines for research ethics in the social sciences, law and the humanities (pdf, 0,6 mb)

The Committee uses the guidelines actively when giving its opinion on specific research projects.

It also happens that researchers, wanting to safeguard ethical considerations in their research projects, ask NESH for an evaluation. Typical questions that NESH is asked to evaluate include how best to ensure that consent is freely given and whether children can consent by themselves to take part in research projects. The Committee has also been asked to evaluate a number of other research ethical aspects, such as the limits for the protection of sources and researchers’ duty of confidentiality and duty to inform about planned criminal acts.

In addition to advising in individual cases, external activities such as the organisation of seminars on research ethical issues are an important part of NESH’s work.

Terms of Reference for the National Committee for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and the Humanities (NESH)

As laid down by the Ministry of Education and Research on the 25th of June 2007. In addition, The Act of the 30th of June 2006, nr.56, on Ethics and Integrity in Research (The Ethics Research Act – Forskningsetikkloven) applies, with appurtenant provisions laid down by the Ministry of Education and Research on the 8th of June 2000 founded on section 6 of the Act.

I Introduction
The National Committee for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and the Humanities is an independent body which, based on the development of norms and traditions in our society, shall act as a national watch-post, inform and advise upon research ethics within the relevant fields of research.

II Area of Responsibility
The area of responsibility for the National Committee for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and the Humanities is research ethics within the social sciences and the humanities, including law and theology. The Committee shall be responsible for the prevention of scientific misconduct within its field.

III Responsibilities
1. The Committee shall keep itself informed concerning current and potentially relevant questions of research ethics within its area of responsibility.

2. The Committee shall coordinate and provide advice on research ethics for the various committees within its area of responsibility.

3. The Committee shall inform researchers, the administration and the public about current and potentially relevant questions of research ethics within its area of responsibility.

4. The Committee shall submit recommendations and reports, and develop draft guidelines for research ethics within its area of responsibility. The Committee shall also make recommendations concerning specific cases presented to it.

5. The Committee shall report on its activity at least once a year at an open meeting, and foster informed public debate about questions of research ethics within its area of responsibility in whatever ways it deems suitable.

6. The Committee shall keep other national and international committees on research ethics informed about its activities and, through cooperation with such committees, work to establish a basis for principles of research ethics which are independent of the restrictions of the research areas.

Members 2014-2017:

  1. Bjørn Hvinden (chair)
  2. Elisabeth Staksrud (vice chair)
  3. Kjersti Fjørtoft
  4. Ingegerd Holand
  5. Knut Martin Tande
  6. Erling Sandmo
  7. Lisbet Øyum
  8. Ivar Kolstad
  9. Roar Johnsen
  10. Anne Nevøy
  11. Tor M Monsen
  12. Kirsten Johanne Bang
  13. Pål Ulleberg (co-opted)
  14. May-Len Skilbrei (co-opted)

Contact:

Director Hallvard Fossheim 
Phone: +47 23 31 83 02
Fax: + 47 23 31 83 01
E-mail: post@etikkom.no