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Ethics in Biosciences Research, University of Oxford

Editorial Team Ethics, RRI

How do you understand Ethics in biosciences research? Ethics in biosciences research should be understood as means to ensure high-quality research and guarantee the protection of fundamental rights. Even though ethic principles are well defined and established, as biosciences research progresses, new ethical conflicts may arise. All biosciences research must be carried out within the good practice framework that Ethics represents. What are the current standards and actions to achieve better Ethics in your University and in your country? In the case of human subjects’ research, all research conducted on National Health Service (NHS) patients or their information must be approved by the Research Ethics Committee (REC) of the National Research Ethics Service (NRES) which coordinates RECs across the UK. If the research does not include NHS patients or their information, the University of Oxford has its own system of research ethics governance: the Central University Research Ethics Committee (CUREC). The majority of approvals are decentralised to Interdivisional RECs, and then to Departmental RECs. In the case of research conducted on animals, the UK has strict regulations that are overseen by the Home Office Department of the Government. Researchers must be trained and be granted a Home Office License in order to be able to conduct research on animals. What are you aiming for with the implementation of the STARBIOS2 actions towards better Ethics standards for your institute? In relation to Ethics, our strategy is to raise awareness and evaluate the procedures for planning and including research ethical issues in …


Open Access in Biosciences, seen by the University of Oxford, UK

Editorial Team Open Access, RRI

How do you understand Open Access in biosciences research?  Open access is a way of eliminating permission and price barriers in order to guarantee free access to biosciences research publications. Open access means that the public can access your work. This facilitates greater exposure and higher citation rates because researchers from other countries can view your work. What are the current standards and actions to achieve better Open Access in your University and in your country? The University of Oxford is very committed to open access and has a webpage dedicated to explaining the University’s position: http://openaccess.ox.ac.uk/ – policy and information. As researchers are actively encouraged to publish open access, this requires a collaborative project that involves many departments such as Research Services, Bodleian Libraries, IT Services, Planning and Resource Allocation Section, Oxford University Press, and Academic Divisions. There is also an open access policy in institutions of higher education throughout the United Kingdom due to the Research Excellence Framework (REF). In order to receive higher education funding (HEFCE), REF requires journal articles to be made Open Access. The aim of the policy is to increase the amount of UK research which is freely available – and more articles open access means higher REF scores in 2021. What are you aiming for with the implementation of the STARBIOS2 actions towards better Open Access standards for your institute? The University of Oxford is a leading institution in open access and led a strong communication strategy to engage researchers. We aim to …