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Research ethics and integrity

Roles and responsibilities

Information about the roles of researchers, School Ethics Leads, and Committees.


York St John expects all researchers to act honestly and with integrity at all times. Researchers are encouraged to engage in new and challenging research.

All members of the University, whether staff or students, are individually responsible for ensuring that their work is conducted in accordance with the University values and with all policies that form part of the terms and conditions of employment and study.

Individual researchers ultimately have responsibility for ensuring that they consider ethical issues and obtain any appropriate ethical approval prior to commencing the research. Work conducted without ethical approval (where this approval is required) may not be covered by the University’s indemnity arrangements.

Researchers engaged in collaboration, international or otherwise, should also consider the potential security risks and act to prevent or mitigate them.

Research security

Researcher vulnerability is an often overlooked issue, with the focus historically falling on research participant vulnerability, but it shouldn't be considered any less important. Visit our Researcher vulnerability page to explore guidance which aims to assist researchers in considering their own physical and psychological vulnerabilities.

Researcher vulnerability

School Ethics Lead

The Ethics Lead role is to provide advice and decision-making on school-level research ethics submissions. 

They must maintain ethical standards of practice of the committee’s remit in research: to protect participants in research and researchers from harm, preserve the participants’ rights, take account of legitimate interests of other individuals, bodies and communities associated with the research, and provide reassurance to the public and to outside bodies that these are being done.

Each School Research Ethics Committee chair must seek to facilitate, not hinder, valuable research and protect research workers from unjustified criticism. Where there is risk present in research ethics proposals, the Chair should seek the advice of the University Research Ethics and Integrity Sub Committee  

School Research Ethics Committee (SREC)

The SRECs are responsible for supporting their school’s research activity by considering best policy and practice with respect to research ethics within their subject areas. This is done by providing a review of ethical issues arising from research proposals within their School, by auditing and monitoring compliance and by disseminating best practice. The SRECs are directly accountable to the University Research Ethics and Integrity Sub-committee (UREISC).  

SRECs must supply UREISC with a report of activity on an annual basis in July. These will inform the HEI annual report which is published in October of every year to comply with the Concordat on Research Ethics and Integrity.

If you are a member of staff and are interested in gaining experience on an SREC as an observer, please contact your SREC Chair. If approved, this would be limited to a 12 month period in the first instance but during this time you could attend as many, or as few, meetings as your time allowed.

University Research Ethics and Integrity Sub committee (UREISC)

The UREISC is responsible for oversight of the SRECs and is in turn accountable to the University Research Committee. It reviews the University's policies and is responsible for submitting the annual report at the beginning of each academic year.