1. This charter is developed so as to be a guide to direct not only all of the parties who are benefiting from the Scientific Research process conducted at the Faculty including the researchers, themselves, the supervisors, and the professors but the whole community as well towards the best and appropriate behaviors of Scientific Research. The document has also identified the standards of well behavior, honesty, ideals, and general principles that are necessary for discussing the ethical issues that should prevail throughout the whole society.
2. For setting the standards and guidelines of this document, it was necessary to differentiate between the legal and lawful behaviors on one side and the ethical behaviors on the other side, while bearing in mind the existence of several intertwined spaces between them that should be considered when discussing any matters in relation to the Faculty.
3. This document has identified a group of standards that are necessary for fulfilling a good ethical behavior adding to considering the possibility to measure their indexes on actual basis with great transparency and honesty.
4. These standards have been developed upon reviewing and studying several documents pertaining to correspondent academic institutions inside or outside Egypt. The available data and information were collected and analyzed so as to end up having a number of standards that cope and consist with the various Faculty's activities that can be measured.
5. This document especially addresses the entire authorities which are competent with Scientific Research in the Faculty in addition to the parties responsible for or contributing to the preparation of Scientific Research. It also aims at promoting and applying the general standards of scientific ethics when preparing and conducting these researches. The document sheds light on the methodologies that should be followed when encountering any violations to these standards in addition to covering a number of general measurements and standards that should be applied on scientific behavior alongside the breaches that may encounter these standards and measurements, the methodologies of preventing any violations to scientific/academic honesty, and the factors that may play a significant role in this regard. Moreover, this paper does also provide a synopsis about a group of instructions for dealing with these possible violations to the scientific honesty, in addition it concludes with mentioning some of the notes and remarks about the penalties and sanctions that may be imposed on the employer in the event of verifying any malpractices in the institution.
- The main principles of the ethics of Scientific Research
Scientific Research varies in their fields and natures through covering various topics similarly to the methodologies of research. Besides, there are several general principles that should be followed and adhered to regarding all the branches that are related to the standard matters of research and behavioral rules that are to be followed. Hence, the ethics of Scientific Research require the respect of the rights, dignity, and opinions of others whether being fellow researchers, or participants at the research, or even the categories targeted through the research, while noting that the aforementioned ethics of Scientific Research adopt the two values of "Positive Work" and "Harm Avoidance" that should be considered as two fundamental bases of the ethical considerations within the research process.
- There are some considerations that are related to the ethical behavior and they include:
- Truthfulness (Credibility)
- Digital Recording
- False Hope
In order to explain these considerations, we will mention them in details as follows:
1) Truthfulness (Credibility)
The results of your Scientific Research should be credibly and honestly conveyed. You – as a researcher- should be honest in conveying the mentioned results while refraining from completing any incomplete or insufficient information depending on any incidents you thought they were happened and avoiding the addition or insertion of any data to depending on the results of the theories or on other persons.
2) Expertise (Experience)
The research that you are conducting should be suitable for the level of your experience and training skills. Therefore, Firstly, you have to prepare the initial work, then try to comprehend the theory accurately prior to the application of the concepts or procedures. Any person, who is excelling the domain of your research, will be – indeed- your best supporter when selecting the topics that you are going to analyze and review.
You should not expose yourself to any physical or ethical harms, thus you have to take the entire necessary precautionary measures when performing all of the experiments, without attempting to implement your research in an environment that is imposing any risks on the geological, climate, social, or chemical levels. The safety of the individuals targeted through the research represents another crucial issue as you should not embarrass or expose them to any harm through your research.
The scientific research process depends on the mutual trust between scientists, thus each researcher should conduct his/her research accurately and with due diligence so as to build up the necessary trust with the other participants so as for them (the participants) to be more co-operative and for the researcher to get the necessary accurate results. The researcher should never exploit the trust of the parties he/she is studying and analyzing their cases.
You have to always make sure that the prior consent of the parties you intend to work with during the research period is obtained as they should be aware of the fact that their cases are being studied and analyzed. For example, should you need to enter any the properties of others, you have to obtain their consent first. Failure to set an accurate initial plan for your research will lead you to search for another location/site and –then- start all over again.
The persons their cases are being studied, or those participating in the research or even the students, reserve the right to withdraw from the study at any given time. Moreover, it should be taken into consideration that the participants are usually volunteering in the research; hence they have to be treated with great respect as they may spend the time they spend the time they specify for the participation of the research in a more profitable job.
Therefore, you have to expect the withdrawal of some of the participants, and it would be better if the study process covers the larges rang of participants so as to resume the research to assure that the results are of effective and significant meaning.
7) Digital Recording
You are not allowed to record any audio tracks or videos or capture any photos without obtaining the prior consent of the parties been targeted through the research before recording any audio tracks or videos or capturing any photos. Do not attempt to hide any photography devices or audio convertors for recording the voices and movements of the targeted participants, thus you should realize that requesting the prior consent of those parties after recording their voices or capturing their photos is considered as un acceptable matter.
8) Feedback (Corrective Feedback)
If you are able to give the targeted individuals the necessary corrective feedback of your research, you should do so. Moreover, you may not be able to provide them with a detailed and complete report; however, you may be able to grant them a synopsis or certain phrases or recommendations that may be important to them. It is also necessary to let the participants review any photos, audios, or printed texts of the phrases that they have previously mentioned, prior to the publication of the research so as not for them to incur any moral or physical damages due to your interpretation of what they have said and done. Kindly, confirm granting /obtaining the prior consent prior to the publication of the research.
9) False Hope
Do not let the targeted participants think – through your questions – that certain matters will be changed as a result of the research or project you have conducted or implemented. Try not to give any fake promises that are not included within the scope of your research or authority or position or influence.
Some of the targeted participants may suffer from feelings of defeatism due to their elder ages or illness or their inability to express their feelings or comprehend, therefore; you should care for the feelings of those parties.
Do not exploit any situation for your own interest so as not to explain what you have noticed or what has been said by others in an indirect way so as to serve your research.
You have to protect the identity of the targeted individual during all the study periods, while refraining from giving any names or hints that may lead to disclose their real identities. This procedure may be implemented through decoding the names into digital numbers or symbols and assuring the harmony between all of the beneficiaries up the termination of the study.
- The ethical principles that are related to the Scientific Research Process.
Scientific Research requires the availability of a group of values and principles. It will be misinterpreted if the research process is depicted as only mere comprehension of a group of bases and procedures that are related to the determination and preparation of the research design, data collection, and statistical processing of the data and reports of the research, rather there are a group of ethical criteria that are connected to each phase separately. The researcher should be aware of these criteria and values through his or her dealing with other human beings who have their own rights and dignities that should be reserved.
Scientific Research can –thus- be defined as an ethical and methodological process that leads to the attainment of more knowledge about the various phenomena alongside the settlement of any problems in both the educational and psychological fields. Therefore; scientific researchers should have certain ethical characteristics adding to other cognitive and methodological qualities which include: Honesty, Credibility, and Objectivity.
1) The ethical principles of scientific research planning:
As the scientific researcher starts to think about the research's topic and the preparation of its design so as to answer all the inquiries of the topic, two fundamental points should be considered:-
The First Point: The plan of the research should not be a repeated one that is typically conveyed from a previously conducted study in a way that may raise suspicions about the integrity of the scientific researcher. This will never prevent the researcher from setting a study that is comparative to another one that has been conducted within different environment. However, these procedures should be governed by certain restrictions and controls which include: Clear reference and indication to the original study and the availability of any academic benefit that justify the repetition if the previously conducted study within any other different environment.
The Second Point: There should not be any possibility that the conducted study is to cause any apparent or possible damages or harm to other persons. In the event causing the aforementioned harm to others, the researcher should recourse to any party who may provide him/her with sincere consultations in relation to the methods of conducting any study for gaining a scientific benefit while refraining from causing any harm to the participants.
2) The ethical principles of Data Collection Process
Most of the ethical problems emerge during the period during which the researcher begins collecting the data from the participants. This period can be considered a critical situation as the researcher needs to balance between various contradictory decisions specially the ones that are connected to the participants in this study.
If there is a need to get certain information for conducting a scientific research that is related to children abuse, in this case, would it be acceptable to continue in the research to reach new results despite its negative impact on individuals, or shall we sacrifice these results for the sake of preserving the private rights of the children.
Generally, these ethical problems related to data collection vary from one field to another. For example, in a study some patients are injected with cancerous cells in certain hospital in order to determine to what extent human bodies are resistant to these cells. This study could be acceptable if the patient is completely aware of these steps and accepts to be a volunteer in such study. However, if the patients get false information concerning this study, it can be considered a direct violation of the patient's right to know the methods of treatment.
Among other problems in which the researcher needs to think about is the effect of his/her interaction with the environment.
Among the most frequent ethical charters is the ten ethical principles decided by the American Psychological Association (APA) for doing researches applied on human beings:
1) In planning for certain study, the researcher bears personal responsibility concerning ethical criteria connected to the study.
If the researcher finds any difficulty to completely adhere to this study for scientific and human considerations, the mentioned researcher should ask for advice and think about the necessary preventive measures so as to protect and maintain the participants.
2) The responsibility of acceptable ethical practices always falls upon the researcher who should be –also- responsible for the ethical practices of his/her assistants, colleagues, and those who help him/her in the research.
3) The researcher bears the responsibility for informing the cases he/she is studying with all the research's conditions which could probably have an impact on their decisions concerning their desire to participate in the research. The mentioned researcher should also answer all the inquiries of all the cases he/she is studying about the traits that may affect their desire to participate.
4) Openness and integrity are two main traits which should control the relationship between the researcher and the participants of the research. In case the study requires a violation of these traits, the researcher should make sure that the participants understand the reasons for this action and should be keen on the relationship of the participants.
5) The researcher should respect the individual's freedom refuse to participate in the research or to refuse to continue participating in the research at any time. The researcher is responsible for the participants' dignity and happiness.
6) The morally acceptable research should start with a clear agreement between the researcher and the participants so as to pinpoint clearly the responsibilities of both of them and such researcher should be committed to all the promises and obligations included in this agreement.
The researcher should not mislead the individuals or give them false hopes.
7) The participants should be protected from any physical or mental uncomfortable conditions or danger they may be subjected to. If there is a possibility that these dangers may occur, the researcher should inform the participants and get their consent and take all measures to decrease the dangers.
8) Upon the completion of the data collection process, the researcher should provide the participants with a full and detailed illustration of the nature of the study and with a complete abstract that contribute to eliminate any inaccurate perspectives that may have come through their minds. In the event of the existence of any scientific or humanitarian considerations requiring the delay of the presentation of the data or even withholding them, the researcher should hold special responsibility for confirming the existence of any destructive impediments for the participants.
9) In the event of ascertaining the possibility that the procedures of the research cause any undesirable impediments for the participants, the researcher will be responsible for eliminating these effects including the entire long-term effect.
10) The data been collected from the participants during the whole research period should be kept as confidential.
3) Ethical principles of data manipulation:
- These traits are represented in the researcher's keenness on the confidentiality of the data of each participant. Besides, the researcher should not exploit these confidential data in the defamation of those who have trusted him/her or for blackmailing them (the participants). What is known/believed about the manipulation of the data of the individuals is also know/ believed about the data to certain institutions.
- Another ethical dilemma that may face the researcher after he/she finds that the results he/she gets after processing the data shows that the point of view his/her research adapts is incorrect; whether this adaptation is inclusive or explicit. The researcher may -in such cases – try to modify the raw data in order to get results which support the point of view adopted in the research. This is considered a breach of scientific integrity and a lack in the understanding of the nature of scientific research because the result of the research whether positive or negative or null shows a scientific participation as long as the research follows the principles and procedures of scientific research. The researcher's attempt to modify the data shows that he/she has no inner feeling about the fact that he/she didn't honestly follow these principles and procedures.
- So, the researcher must adhere to these principles and procedures and must be honest when dealing with his/her research data. Furthermore, the researcher should be subjective when he/she criticize his/her research and must be aware that the results of the research will be regarded as a reference for other researchers.
- Another ethical problem that faces the researcher is related to the choice of the statistical methods that are to be used when processing the data. So, such researcher could choose the best statistical method that will prove the point of view that he/she has adopted in his research, thus this shows that the research choice is not based on scientific principles but on his personal views and that he/she is not going to subjective nor honest in his view. For example, some researchers tend to use the same tools in their researches in different ways based on the fact that using the same tools gives constant results more than using different tools for the same the same data. This is ethically acceptable and it does not oppose scientific considerations, however, if the choice of statistical system is based on the same system it will lead to showing one point of view preferred by the researcher then the mentioned researcher will be ethically in trouble because this contradicts his/her status as an objective processor of data.
- Some of the risks that threatens serious research:
There are several rules that may face serious research that attempts to solve scientific problems: among these risks are the following:
1) Reaching premature results.
2) Ignoring opposing results or these which do not agree with the results that the researcher has reached.
3) Thinking within the box i.e. lacking originality.
4) The inability to get all the facts related to the problem.
6) Mistakes in following the signs of cause and effect.
7) Being subjective and having preconceived judgments.
- Forming immature results
Often, some researchers' enthusiasm makes them rush in adopting an exciting point of view even though they are aware they do not have enough evidence to support it. If they were more patient and worked longer on following the fact, they would not have committed such a mistake because the precise researcher does not express his/her thoughts except after testing all hypotheses and reaching conclusive evidence.
- Ignoring Opposing evidence
The researcher may be so enthusiastic about the hypotheses he/she follows which may make him/her ignore important opposing evidences. This may be excused in political debates, because the objective would be winning a round of talks and discussions at any price. However, scientific studies do not aim at winning debates and discussions but aim at discovering the truth, thus, opposing evidences must be given the same importance as positive evidences even if this changing the original hypothesis.
- The habit of thinking within the box
- Nothing can damage fruitful researcher more than being limited to certain habits throughout years. Psychologists say that even simple issues such as adding certain number, people are always inclined to repeat the same mistakes. A researcher has to exert all his/her efforts to encourage himself/herself to avoid typical attitude of thinking and to encourage himself to follow new trends of thinking.
The researcher's inability to reach all facts related to the problem:-
The researchers sometimes face certain difficulties to reach the required facts to form sufficient evidence that leads to correct results.
Researchers frequently commit mistakes when they build their results upon incomplete results.
Inaccuracy during observations:-
A researcher frequently needs to repeat some experiments that he/she previously did to check that all the observed results were correct. Besides, researchers frequently ignore some elements and focus on some others according to his/her point of view.
Mistakes in following cause and effect process:-
A researcher has to be cautious to the dangers of following cause and effect process and to be able to rephrase these relations.
An example that is always raised in this filed is that one the narrator once said that throughout years in which the Arabic Club in Kuwait won football championship, prosperity prevailed and prices were very law in Kuwait. At this time, Kuwait tried to reach prosperity and overcome price increase by following ways to pave the way for the Arabic Club to win Football matches. Unfortunately, there are critical results based on certain situations just for fun.
The Lack of Objectivity:-
Truth and wisdom should be the aim of the researcher and the students done by some researchers to support certain concepts and ideologies to which the researcher is committed before even starting the research, they certainly serve doubtful purposes. Thus, the researcher should work on this research objectively without bias so that his/her results are correct as far as possible.
Brach of Integrity:-
The means by which scientific integrity may be breached:
Scientific research may be breached before doing the research (when getting the approval or allocating the research mission, or when planning the research). The breach may occur when working on the research or presenting and publishing the results.
Three types of Scientific Integrity breaching may be defined:-
2) Fraud and Delusion
Examples of Scientific Integrity breaching:-
1) Misinterpretation of sources studies.
2) Presenting results in selective manners.
3) Presenting unreal (false) data after an experiment.
4) Intentionally applying statistical methods in a wrong way.
5) Misinterpretation or falsification of research results.
6) Plagiarizing of results or publications belonging to others.
7) Omitting the names of the assistant authors who have significantly contributed in the research and adding the names of those who have not significantly participated or contributed to the research.
8) Carelessness in doing the research, or giving instruction to do it or ignoring the procedures which help to reveal mistakes and inaccuracy.
9) Carelessness in following the rules of dealing with confidential data on reprinting designs on computer software without permission.
Preventing scientific breaches:-
All efforts should be exerted to make researchers respect the basic principles of professional scientific behavior: Among the methods that should be followed in this filed are:
1) Training and Practices which develop the right skills.
2) Increasing the awareness and culture of the criteria of the ethics of scientific research.
3) The existence of binding and transparent rules which should be applicable on everyone.
Examples of scientific misconduct:-
There are many cases for books in the international press, for example; a neurologist comes with results for an experiment in which he pays money for each case under study. Another example, a psychologist once plagiarized tests from an American colleague without mentioning him in the bibliography. Besides, biochemist announces hypothesis to recover HIV patients. Furthermore, a researcher in the field of environment was obliged by the project's financer to adjust some research's results.
Prior to this, some authors were able to uncover great number cheating cases.
1) If a scientific misconduct is clearly verified, there are many sanctions that can be taken beginning from warning and reaching fining in the worst cases.
2) The responsibility of applying any sanction is included within the responsibilities of Faculty Councils in the Higher Councils in addition to the specialized investigation bodies. Consequently, there is no chance to recourse to the higher formal authorities. In this case, applying sanctions will be limited to academic community.
3) Working on developing the researches' scientific conscious and sense of responsibility will be the core of the issue due to its scheme importance. Improving and developing these values enable the scientific field to fight and ban misconduct and cheating activities instead of making sanctions the only warning.
Forming Committee for Scientific Research Ethics:-
It's a must to follow certain procedures if there is any doubt that the scientific behavior principles are violated.
The Faculty is obliged to form an ethical committee for scientific research to follow up the compliance between scientific research and the rules of integrity and bearing the responsibility in addition to integrity in research for all participants who benefit from scientific research. In addition to that, a specialized referral authority is appointed to follow integrity and to be notified if any cheating case related to scientific behavior misconduct is verified.
Duties and Responsibilities:-
People who work within the scientific research are all responsible to be sure that rules are applied to prevent any scientific misconduct.