At a time of profound change in the economic, political and also social spheres, science and technology systems have been subject to searching scrutiny. In the course of this process, the need to apply ethics in research-related activities has become apparent. These activities encompass the integral production of knowledge and its management, affecting both those who direct and carry out research and those who are involved in evaluating the results and transferring the knowledge. The legislative framework and the publication of basic ethical rules for scientific praxis by most universities and research centres reveal a concern to ensure ethics in research.

So now is a good time to develop research ethics-related principles and instruments and ensure their governance and quality. On one hand, scientific research must be transparent and open to public scrutiny; it must render account of its activities, both for the public funding it receives and to honour its responsibility toward society. At the same time, the public must be able to contribute scientific policies so that research continues to be fully coherent and participative. On the other hand, when considering research quality, the existence of good practices, which include recognition of human rights and respect for living beings in general, is a sign of excellence in a research project's activities.

The UOC's research areas do not include experiments with animals but it does include empirical research related with the information and knowledge society. Therefore, complementing current legislation and regulations, the University considers it necessary to equip itself with instruments that allow it to assure the quality of the research it performs and avoid integrity issues in the behaviour of its research staff.

These instruments have been chosen and developed within the UOC's Research Ethics Board, whose members are representatives from the faculties, the Knowledge Transfer and Research Support Office, the Library, the Legal Office, the Sndic de Greuges and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, formed in December 2012. Approved by the University's Governing Council, the Research Committee, the faculties, centres and areas undertake to disseminate them and apply them appropriately.

 

ETHICAL ISSUES

  • The UOC's Code of Good Practice in Research and Innovation (CBPRI) [PDF] 
    Ethics Board, December 2014
    A series of recommendations and undertakings on research and innovation-related activities to ensure upright behaviour by research staff and the quality of the knowledge produced. It compiles the ethical principles that govern research and innovation practices and a series of guidelines for good practices in research and innovation that include mechanisms for mentoring trainee research staff, co-participation in research projects with industry, obtainment and management of personal data, and research review, publication and dissemination practices.
  • The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya's Code of Ethics [PDF] 
    Governing Council, July 2009
    A compilation of rules and moral principles that guide the behaviour of the University's people and communities.
  • The European code of Conduct for Research Integrity [PDF]
    European Science Foundation / ALLEA (All European Academies), March 2011
    The code provides guidelines for appropriate behaviour and the practical principles that should govern research in medicine, social and natural sciences, and humanities in Europe. This code offers a reference framework for all researchers, establishing a list of principles to be taken into account when drawing up national guidelines to complement current codes of ethics and comply with national and European legislative frameworks.

    The code has been published by the European Science Foundation, a platform composed of 78 organizations that work to promote European cooperation in research, and ALLEA (All European Academies), the European Federation of National Academies of Science and Humanities, that draws together 53 academies in 40 countries and fosters information and experience exchange between them to contribute to excellence and the development of ethical principles in research.
     
  • Procedure for addressing irregular behaviour in research activity [PDF] 
    Ethics Board, November 2012
    It defines the procedures for settling scientific conflicts or irregular situations involving scientific malpractice, including: fabrication or misrepresentation of research data or results; plagiarism, non-citation or misappropriation of other people's ideas, work or data; non-disclosure of conflicts of interest or cases where a conflict of interest could reasonably be expected to arise. Under no circumstances will errors or misunderstandings arising from honest practice be considered ethical malpractice.
  • Legislation and resources [PDF]
    Ethics Board, October 2015
    References of the sources of information used in drafting the Code of Good Practice, the Research Protocol and the Conflict Management Procedure, and related regulations and documents.
  • Organizational structure involved in research ethics [PDF]
    Ethics Board, October 2015
    A description of the different people and organizations that ensure compliance with current legislation and regulations on ethical principles in research and innovation and provide deontological support to research staff.

 

PROTOCOL AND FORMS

  • Research protocol [PDF] 
    Ethics Board, October 2015
  • Research protocol form. Questionnaire for the assessment by the UOC's Ethics Board [.DOC]
    Ethics Board, September 2015
    In those cases where the funding organization explicitly requests the research protocol but also in those cases where the experiments' participants are people exposed to some sort of risk, are minors or are in a situation that makes them vulnerable, the research protocol form must be completed and sent to the UOC's Ethics Board. This protocol must specify the research's rationale, objectives, design, methodology and planned analyses of its results, and the conditions under which it will be carried out.
  • Alternative form for students, affiliated teaching staff and researchers from other institutions. Form for requesting access to the UOC's data [.DOC]
    Ethics Board, October 2012
    This protocol will be completed in those cases where staff outside of the UOC (students, affiliated teaching staff or researchers from other institutions) wish to collect UOC data. They must answer the questions to provide information on the research's objective, when it will be carried out and in what conditions, and send it to the UOC's Ethics Board for assessment.
     

INTELLECTUAL AND INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY

  • Intellectual and industrial property regulations in RDI activity [PDF]
    FUOC, 2009
    The purpose of these regulations is to regulate the ownership, management, dissemination and exploitation of all RDI activity results that are eligible for protection, as provided in the regulations on industrial and intellectual property in force at any given time.

    Through the UOC Knowledge Transfer and Research Support Office (OSRT), the FUOC will establish the necessary services for managing the creation and dissemination of results and the transfer of knowledge and technologies, and, in particular, the selection of dissemination media for these purposes and/or the creation of business entities controlled by the FUOC (technology-based company, spin-offs), for academic, commercial and industrial exploitation of the results.

 

PERSONAL DATA PROCESSING

  • Security document: internal personal data protection regulations [PDF] (in catalan)
    Office of the General Manager, 2011
    This security document has been drawn up to comply with Royal Decree 1720/2007, of 21 December, approving the regulations developing the Law 15/1999, of 13 December, on personal data protection.

    This document describes the security measures for files containing personal data, the necessary technical and organizational measures for guaranteeing security that must be met by both computerized and non-computerized files, and mandatory compliance by all users accessing such files, and the paper-based information and documentation systems that contain them.

     

OPEN ACCESS

  • Institutional open access policy on academic and research contents [PDF]
  • The mandate in practice. Quick guide for professors and researchers [PDF]
    Governing Council, October 2010
    The UOC signed the Berlin Declaration in 2006 to ensure no-charge, constraint-free access to scientific and academic contents. This undertaking promotes the accessibility and impact of the scientific research carried out by the UOC's research staff through institutional structures and a policy that regulates open access.

 

HORIZON 2020