Research must be undertaken to the highest level of integrity and ethical responsibility, including research design and frameworks, and each researcher is responsible for the conduct of his or her own research. The onus lies with the researcher to ensure that he/she always meets the highest standards that could reasonably be expected of them, and with the employing institution to ensure that systems are in place to support and re-inforce this. Where research is undertaken without ethical approval being first gained, responsibility for anything that may go amiss will lie with the researcher, but also, if the researcher is a student, with the supervisor.
Research is a valuable activity and contributes to the well-being of society. Researchers should strive to maintain the integrity of these disciplines, the freedom to research and study, and to publish and promote the results of research including making data available for the use of researchers in the future.
Researchers have a responsibility to safeguard the interests of those involved in or affected by their work, and to report their findings accurately and truthfully. They need to consider the effects of their involvements and the consequences of their work (or its misuse) for those they study and/or other interested parties. Researchers should familiarise themselves with the national laws and administrative regulations (for example Data Protection, the Human Rights Act, copyright and libel laws) which may affect the conduct of their research, data dissemination and storage, publication, rights of research subjects, of sponsors and employers, etcetera.
While recognising that training and skill are necessary to the conduct of research, researchers should themselves recognise the boundaries of their professional competence. They should not accept work of a kind that they are not qualified to carry out. Researchers should satisfy themselves that the research they undertake is worthwhile and that the techniques proposed are appropriate. They should be clear about the limits of their detachment from, and involvement in, their areas of study.
In their relations with the media, researchers should have regard for the reputation of the discipline and refrain from offering expert commentaries in a form that would appear to give credence to material that, as researchers, they would regard as comprising inadequate or tendentious evidence.