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Ethics, Integrity and Plagiarism

Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research / AISSR

Below, you may find our procedures for Ethics, Integrity and Plagiarism. The AISSR has developed these to foster reflection and care on these topics. The AISSR Ethics Advisory Board has developed a specific procedure for the ethical review of research plans in line with the research methods typical for social sciences. The procedure stimulates researchers to design their research in an ethical way. In 2017, the AISSR developed a Research Integrity and Data Management Protocol, based on the VNSU's 2018 Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity.

  • Ethical Review of Research

    The AISSR has developed a procedure for the ethical review of research plans, seeking to foster reflection and care. We expect requests for ethics permission to articulate and address the real, true and sometimes irreducible problems that researchers face. In order to support that way of working, we do not provide a checklist to check, but questions that challenge the researcher to think about. The aim is for researchers to devote time and effort to thinking through and making explicit how research plans will lead to good research, not only in a methodological sense but also in another sense, call it social, ethical, aesthetic or something else. 

    Please note that PhD candidates  are all required to complete the ethics application to the online portal as part of our training programme (also when ethical approval might not be needed).

    How to decide whether asking for ethical permission is required or might be wise

    You must have the board’s permission if:
    a. Your research might have a direct impact on the lives of your research informants (e.g. because their life world is interfered with; it may be dangerous for them to work with you; their privacy is at stake).
    b. Your research methods may pose a danger or serious practical problems for yourself, your junior colleagues or research assistants.
    c. Your research is situated in fields of clashing interests (between e.g. an institution and its clients, governing bodies and groups being governed, industry and activists, and so on) that deserve to be handled with care;
    d. Your own interests may clash with those of others concerned.

    Some grant givers want to see written ethical permission before they will provide funds, and in some fields journals ask for written proof of ethical permission to conduct a study before they publish its results. Within the university, written permission has a legal status as soon as questions of insurance arise.

    Procedure

    If you ask for ethical permission, your research plan, including your ethics section, will be assessed by the AISSR Ethics Advisory Board, which is composed of researchers at the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research. In the case of a disagreement, it is possible to call upon the ethics committee of the Social Science Faculty.

    If your answers make good enough sense, permission will be granted. If there are difficulties to attend to, however, the Ethical Advisory Board will engage in a dialogue with you.

    We cannot read full research proposals, but hope for succinct summaries of research plans plus answers to our questions through the online portal. Please take the following steps to submit your research for ethical review. 

      1. Submit your research preferably 2 months before the actual start of fieldwork/data gathering
      2. Go to the online ethics portal:
      3. Log in with your UvA ID and password
      4. Submit your project (New project)
      5. Select the department (AISSR)
      6. Click save
      7. Answer the General, Ethics (10) and Privacy questions.

    Please see the pdf attached for the complete list of questions. 

    Board members

    The Faculty Ethics Committee has formally mandated the AISSR Ethics Advisory Board to advise and give guidance in addressing ethical issues specific to research in the domain of social sciences. This board supports the ethical reflection on new research projects and, if needed, grants permission to conduct them.

    The AISSR Ethical Advisory Board consists of a core group of AISSR researchers with different disciplinary and methodological backgrounds. It currently consists of: Dr Thijs Bol, Dr Michaela Hordijk, Prof. Tom van der Meer, Prof. Annemarie Mol and Dr Rachel Spronk. When necessary, they call on the advice of third parties. The board is coordinated by Lotte Batelaan (AISSR Bureau, l.batelaan@uva.nl) and she is available for practical questions.

    Board meetings

     The board meets every second Monday of the month (except for July and August). The next meetings are on 13 September, 18 October, 15 November and 13 December 2021. The proposals must be submitted one week in advance at the latest.

  • AISSR Integrity Protocol

    The AISSR Integrity Protocol (see below) articulates AISSR-wide standards on scholarly integrity and data management in the AISSR research community, and an organization for facilitating discussion and protection of such standards. Its purpose is to promote and guard academic integrity for the AISSR, but also to facilitate advances in the quality of our research enterprise in terms of scholarly and societal impact.

    The AISSR Integrity Committee handles questions and issues of integrity, and deliberates on how to deal with violations of any aspect of the Protocol that come to the Committee’s attention by a given AISSR Researcher. This Committee meets no less than once per semester, and includes the following members: Marieke de Goede (AISSR Academic Director), Nicole Schulp (AISSR Bureau), Annemarie Mol (member of the AISSR Ethics Committee), Olav Velthuis (representative of the Department of Sociology), Gijs Schumacher (representative of the Department of Political Science), Richard Ronald (representative of the GPIO Department) and Robert Pool (representative of the Anthropology Department).

    Serious violations of the Protocol can be discussed and deliberated-upon in confidentiality, but if the Committee or involved researchers at any time wish to dispute the deliberations or recommendations of the Committee, issues or cases can be brought before the formal University-level Integrity Commission.

    Please also refer to the new Code of Conduct for Research Integrity by the VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands)

  • Thesis Plagiarism Check

    All theses are checked for plagiarism, which is obligatory, as set down in the UvA 2014 doctorate regulations. The practical implementation of the plagiarism check has been delegated from the Dean of the Faculty to the Management Information Coordinator of the research institute AISSR. 

    Please be aware that the plagiarism check of the social sciences deviates from the procedure as set down below as decided by the Board of Social Sciences. Article 22.1 of the doctorate regulations states that the manuscript must be submitted for evaluation to the Doctorate Committee no later than 14 weeks before the intended date of the defence ceremony, but not before the conditions of article 17 (Finalising the thesis manuscript, the electronic version and the plagiarism check) have been met (among other conditions). The plagiarism check will therefore be carried out before the thesis approved by the PhD thesis supervisor(s) is submitted to the Doctorate Committee. This means the thesis has to be submitted 16 weeks prior to the defense.

  • Research Data Management

    Research data are data which are collected as part of academic and practically-oriented research in order to answer a research question or to test a hypothesis. Good research data management has many advantages: for yourself, for your research institute, for your discipline and for the world around us.