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Frequently asked questions

Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REC) shall provide advance approval for:

  • Medical and health research projects
  • General and thematic research biobanks
  • Dispensation from professional secrecy requirements for other types of research
See more information on the Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REC) home page

Medical and health research:

The Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REK) must give prior approval for:

  • Medical and health research projects
  • General research biobanks

REK may grant exemption from the duty of confidentiality for health information used for non-medical research.

You can read more on the REK website: http://helseforskning.etikkom.no

General enquiries must be addressed to the REK in your geographical region. You can find contact information for all the REKs here.

Science and technology:

NENT  is an advisory body for research ethics in its subject areas and provides advice and recommendations for specific projects submitted to the committee. Obtaining advice prior to a research project is not mandatory, but researchers are encouraged to contact the committee if the project is considered to present challenges in terms of research ethics. (See General guidelines for research ethics and Guidelines for research ethics in science and technology) You can also obtain assessments on matters of research ethics that go beyond the framework of a single research project.

The social sciences, law and the humanities:

NESH is an advisory body for research ethics in its subject areas and provides advice and recommendations for specific projects submitted to the committee. Obtaining advice prior to a research project is not mandatory, but researchers are encouraged to contact the committee if the project is considered to present challenges in terms of research ethics (see General guidelines for research ethics and Guidelines for research ethics in the social sciences, humanities, law and theology). You can also obtain assessments on matters of research ethics that go beyond the framework of a single research project.

Human remains:

The National Committee for Research Ethics on Human Remains is an advisory body for research ethics in its subject areas and provides advice and recommendations for specific projects submitted to the committee. Obtaining advice prior to a research project is not mandatory, but researchers are encouraged to contact the committee if the project is considered to present challenges in terms of research ethics (See Ethical guidelines for research on human remains). You can also obtain assessments on matters of research ethics that go beyond the framework of a single research project.

The Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REK) must give prior approval for:

  • Medical and health research projects
  • General research biobanks
  • Exemption from the duty of confidentiality for other types of research. REK may grant exemption from the duty of confidentiality for health information used for non-medical research.

You can read more on the REK website.

General enquiries must be addressed to the REK in your geographical region. You can find contact information for all the REKs here.

A medical and health research project will be subject to approval by a regional committee for medical and health research ethics (REK) and will not need approval pursuant to the Personal Data Act.

Other research projects are subject to notification pursuant to the Personal Data Act if personal information will be collected and processed. In this case, the project must be reported to the Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD).  For more information, see  the NSD website.

If you intend to report suspicion of research misconduct, this will in principle be a local responsibility. Different institutions follow different practices regarding whom the report should be submitted to. Check your institution's web pages.

Reporting forms

Report to the National Commission for the Investigation of Research Misconduct – suspicion of research misconduct

If you are in doubt or need to discuss the issue with someone, you are welcome to call Torkild Vinther, head of the secretariat of the National Commission, tel. 0047 23 31 83 24. You may remain anonymous if you so wish.

You can also submit a report directly to the National Commission for the Investigation of Research Misconduct. As a whistleblower you are protected by the relevant provisions in the Working Environment Act.

Read more about misconduct and plagiarism in the Research Ethics Library (FBIB)

What must be attached?

See information in the form.

How much can I write/attach?

It is essential not to exceed one page when describing your suspicion on the form (normal font size). Further documentation can be attached, in conformity with the required list of attachments.

What if I have further questions?

Contact the secretariat by email or telephone.

When will I receive an answer?

You will be notified when your report has been received, and you will be informed about the date by which the report can be expected to be processed.

Will I have an opportunity to submit supplementary documentation?

All necessary documentation should preferably be submitted with the reporting form. However, you will be able to submit supplementary documentation, for example items that were unavailable at the time of the initial submission. However, supplementary documentation must be received in reasonable time ahead of the expected processing of the matter at a meeting of the National Commission. Any documents forwarded must be marked with the case number that you received from us with the confirmation of receipt of your enquiry.

Might the National Commission request further documentation?

Yes, this may happen a) after receipt of a notification (for example if the reporting form is incomplete or if there is any ambiguity regarding the nature of the suspicion) or b) after the initial processing of the complaint by the commission.
When can I expect a definitive answer regarding the outcome of the processing? As soon as possible after having processed the case at a meeting, the National Commission will inform you of its decision or the further steps to be taken.

One of the key tasks of the research ethics committees and the National Commission is to provide guidance and advice to researchers. If you have a specific project or research issue that you would like to discuss, you are welcome to contact one of the committee directors for the various committees/commissions for a discussion, which may be of an informal nature if you prefer.

Generally, the head of secretariat will ask you to submit a written enquiry to the committee, which will address the issue at its next meeting.

As a main rule, issues associated with medical and health research projects should first be addressed to The Regional Committees for Medical and Health Research Ethics (REK).

Pursuant to the Regulations concerning laboratory animals (Norwegian only), all animal experiments are subject to notification and approval before they can start. For more information, see the website of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.(Norwegian only)

All our publications can be ordered at no charge and free of postage. Publications issued after 2000 can also be downloaded as PDFs.

See an overview of all publications here

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