Open science and research ethics
Hanken’s strategic mission statement specifies that “all of Hanken’s activities are characterised by the Nordic values of equality, openness and integrity, and a commitment to high quality and continuous improvement”.
Open science and research
As described in principles and policies of research, Hanken is committed to actively promoting open science and research. Accordingly, Hanken was among the first research institutions to sign the Declaration for Open Science and Research 2020-2025 in Finland. In line with this declaration, Hanken is committed to the vision and mission for open science and research 2025, “by endorsing the strategic goals for open science and research defined by the research community in Hanken’s own strategies and steering”.
The vision for open science and research 2025 is specified in the Declaration as: “Open science and research are integrated in researchers’ everyday work and support not only the effectiveness of research outputs but also the quality of research. The Finnish research community is an international forerunner in open science and research”. The mission is to
- “promote openness as a fundamental value throughout the research community and its activities;
- strengthen societal knowledgebase and innovation; and
- improve the quality of scientific and artistic research outputs and the educational resources based on them, and the fluid mobility and impact of research outputs throughout society”
In Hanken’s own strategy for 2030, one of five strategic overall goals is to “advocate responsibility and sustainability”. In a sub-strategy for Research, one operationalization of this strategic goal is to “strongly encourage researchers’ efforts towards open science and open access of publications”. Accordingly, Key Performance Indicators for research include, inter alia, “share of peer-reviewed publications on an open access or a hybrid publication channel” and “share of publications with openly archived data”.
In terms of share of open access publications of scientific research articles, Hanken ranked in top 2 of Finnish universities (in 2018), with approximately 70% of article publications published in open access formats (full OA channels, hybrid OA, or green OA/parallel published). Read more here.
In guidelines for research data management process, Hanken-affiliated researchers are advised to consider objectives for open science and research – including making research data as well as research publications openly accessible – throughout the research process, from research planning stage, to publishing and archival stage.
Research integrity and ethics
Hanken is committed to complying with the general ethical guidelines of Finnish National Board on Research Integrity, as well as its ethical principles of research with human participants in human and behavioural sciences in particular.
As part of these commitments, Hanken has appointed a Research Ethics Committee, which supports Hanken’s Rector in decision-making related to suspicions about research integrity/ethics of Hanken-affiliated researchers, and allegations of their violations of responsible conduct of research (RCR).
With respect to the commitment to the latter ethical principles of research with human participants, the Research Ethics Committee also serves as the ‘human sciences ethics committee’, of which Hanken-affiliated researchers must request an Ethical Review statement in advance, in case their research plan involves one of the following six aspects:
- Participation in the research deviates from the principle of informed consent. (E.g., participation is not voluntary, or the subjects/participants of the research are not given information about being part of a research.);
- The research involves intervening in the physical integrity of research participants.
- The focus of the research is on minors under the age of fifteen, without separate consent from a parent or carer, or without informing a parent or carer in a way that would enable them to prevent the child’s participation in the research.
- Research that exposes participants to exceptionally strong stimuli.
- Research that involves a risk of causing mental harm that exceeds the limits of normal daily life to the research participants or their family members or others closest to them.
- Conducting the research could involve a threat to the safety of participants or researchers or their family members or others closest to them.
Hanken regularly reminds its researchers about their responsibility for responsible and ethical conduct of research in general, as well as the requirement to submit a request for Ethical Review to the Research Ethics Committee in particular – in case their research plan involves one of the six features above. Instructions about this are incorporated in the guidelines for research data management, available for all researchers in an easily readable format, as a libguide.
The same libguide also includes guidelines for researchers on how to comply with regulations, in case their research data includes personal data (incl. European General Data Protection Regulation GDPR and Finnish national regulations). Notice, though, that the legal basis for processing personal data in most research projects of Hanken’s researchers is ‘scientific research carried out in the public interest as defined in Finnish Data Protection Act’ in general – not ‘informed consent’ obtained from research participants for each data variable in particular.
Nevertheless, researchers are required to (a) write a Record of Data Processing Activities for all research plans involving human participants, in which they provide general characterization of the personal and other data to be processed in the study, as well as (b) to inform the research participants about the availability of this Record and to ask for their informed consent to participate in the study at the general level (even though not necessarily asking for their informed consent for each data variable in particular).
In other words, the informed consent that Hanken-affiliated researchers are asking from their research participants is aligned with the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity’s interpretation of ‘informed consent’ as the need to inform the research participants about their being involved in a scientific study as well as providing them with sufficient and correct information about the nature of the study at the general level.
This ‘informed consent’ does not, however, refer to ‘informed consent’ as a ‘legal basis’ for personal data processing as defined in GDPR (i.e., explicit informed consent for each personal data variable processed). Instead of such data-variable specific ‘informed consent’, the legal basis of most research projects of Hanken’s researchers is ‘scientific research carried out in the public interest as defined in Finnish Data Protection Act’.