Does my study require an ethical review?

Does my study require an ethical review?

Regardless of whether a research subject, funding agency or scientific journal requires an ethical review, researchers must submit their research plan for ethical review if a study contains any of the following features:

  1. The study involves an intervention in the physical integrity of subjects;
  2. The study deviates from the principle of informed consent (ethical review is not required if the research is based on public documents, registries or archived data);
  3. The subjects are children under the age of 15 and the study is not part of the normal activities of a school or an institution of early childhood education and care, and the data are collected without parental consent and without providing the parents or guardians the opportunity to forbid the child from taking part in the study;
  4. The study exposes research subjects to exceptionally strong stimuli and evaluating possible harm requires special expertise (e.g. studies containing violence or pornography);
  5. The study may cause long-term mental harm (e.g. trauma, depression or sleeplessness) beyond the risks encountered in normal life;
  6. The study can represent a security risk to subjects (e.g. studies concerning domestic violence).

A researcher can request an ethical review should the research subject, the funding agency or a cooperation partner require it, or if the results are to be published in a scientific journal which requires an ethical review.

The guiding principle in any ethical review conducted by the Ethics Committee is the ethical guidelines provided by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity. Please read the guidelines carefully before submitting a request for an ethical review.

After reviewing an intended study, the Ethics Committee will make a decision on its ethical acceptability. The researcher is always responsible for his/her study and the decisions he/she makes; the ethical review does not transfer responsibility to the Ethics Committee.

If you are unsure of whether your study needs to be submitted for ethical review, please contact the Ethics Committee's secretary:, +358 40 190 1389.

When is an ethical review not issued

The committee does not grant research permission for the study, but it should be separately obtained form the organisation in question. The ethics committee gives a statement on the ethical aspects relating to the statement request/research plan.

Ethical reviews are intended for postgraduate research. At graduate level, supervisors must ensure that thesis research complies with ethical guidelines.

The Ethics Committee does not process research plans if the person conducting the research is only in the process of becoming a postgraduate student and has not yet been admitted.

The committee does not issue statements on research that has alreaby been completed. Statements are not issued retroactively. The committee does not issue statements on research either if the  research is not yet totally completed, but the participants have already been interviewed and surveyed.

The committee does not issue an ethical review if the researcher is in the process of applying a funding for the research/project. The ethical review can only be issued after the granting has been granted.