Ethical and legal issues

Ethical issues, and in particular everyone's legal right for privacy, may influence how you collect, store and handle research data, who can use the data, for which purpose, and archiving the data.

Guidelines by the university Ethical Committee


Consider at least these questions before you start to collect your data

  • Does your research involve handling any data that can be connected to a person, even indirectly?
    If yes, then privacy legislation applies to your research. Pseudonymization, or even anonymization of some of your data may be necessary, but carefully study all that such processing entails, well in advance.
  • Is any of the data especially sensitive? Such sensitive data are ethnic origin, political views, religious or philosophical beliefs, membership of trade unions, genetic data, personally identifying biometric data, health data, crimes and criminal convictions, sexual behaviour and orientation.
    If yes, then special, more stringent regulations regarding explicit consent obtained from persons, and regaring storage and handling of the data, apply to your research.
  • Who has the right to determine usage of the data, now and in the future?
  • Who gets to see the data?
    Note here also the service providers you use. If you e.g. conduct a survey using Webropol -service, they technically have opportunity to see the content of your data.
  • Where does the data come from?
    Do you get the data directly from persons with their explicit consent, or do you gather any information form other sources?
  • How big is the risk your data creates?
    If the risk is considered large, your research has to get special EU risk assesment, see Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA).
    Particularly large risk is considered to result from these situations:
    • Large number of persons whose data is handled
    • Large amount of data about a person
    • Sensitive data
    • Data about vulnerable persons (e.g. children)
    • Usage of data for automated decision-making
    • Systematic monitoring