The ENERI partners developed a compendium of research ethics and integrity training materials openly available and potentially suitable for training purposes of RECs and RIOs.

Training for RECs

List of online available training options for members of research ethics committees (RECs)

Training for RIOs

List of online available training options for members of research integrity offices (RIOs)

Training for RECs and RIOs

List of online available training options for members of RECs and RIOs

Additional reviewed material

(which may be useful, but is not specifically devised for ethics review committee or research integrity board members)

Health research ethics

1. MRC Regulatory Support Centre Learning Management System

Medical Research Council’s learning site provides e-learning courses in the area of medical research. Principles for good research practice, concepts of confidentiality and data protection and human tissue legislation are introduced. Courses are available for all after setting an account but are useful especially for those who need the information of human tissue legislation in UK. Some of the courses include case studies and exercises where participants can test their understanding of the topic.

Fields covered: research ethics and integrity

Other fields

2. Online Ethics Center

Run by National Academy of Engineering with NSF support.  “The Online Ethics Center (OEC) is a repository of resources on the ethics of science, engineering, and research that help engineers, scientists, scholars, educators, students, and interested citizens understand and address ethically significant topics and problems that arise in the practice and results of science and engineering.”

Contains case studies, multimedia, resources for teaching ethics, educational activities, and policies.

Fields covered: research integrity

3. Responsible Conduct of Research Courses Portal

Site developed by the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching & Learning (CCNMTL) in collaboration with the Columbia University and expert authors. The material is intended as a resource for all who are involved in research. Several topics are covered: conflict of interests, mentoring, responsible authorship and peer review, research misconduct, collaboration, and data acquisition and management. Different learning tools such as case studies with questions, videos and lists of articles for further information are provided.

Fields covered: research integrity and research ethics

4. Ethics of Research & Publishing Video Series

The Ethics Education Committee of the Academy of Management presents an eight-part video series on YouTube pertaining to good academic practices in publishing articles. Topics such as plagiarism, authorship, reporting research and reviewing papers are covered. This video series is intended for instance for Ph.D. students and researchers.

Fields covered: integrity

5. Online Research Ethics Course

The Online Research Ethics Course, which is directed to graduate students and investigators, is developed by the Practical Ethics Center at the University of Montana and Office of Research Integrity (ORI). The course provides information about a number of topics, including ethical issues in research, individual, institutional and professional responsibilities, animals in research and human participation in research. Each topic has its own introductory section with a theoretical part followed by case study and the possibility to assess one’s own learning.

Fields covered: research ethics and integrity

6. UKRIO Education and Training

UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) supports all who are involved in research in all research sectors. UKRIO provides advisory services on the conduct of research. Contact information and guidelines for seeking advice can be found from their website, as well as the checklist for the key points of good practice in research.

Fields covered: research integrity

7. Online Learning Tool for Research Integrity and Image Processing

Online Learning Tool for Research Integrity and Image Processing that covers appropriate image processing in science. The website is designed for students as well as for researchers and faculty members, who are involved in teaching research integrity. The website provides guidelines for best practices in image processing, videos demonstrating them, examples of questionable practices and case studies.

Fields covered: research integrity

8. Office of Research Ethics and Integrity

The Office of Research Ethics and Integrity (OREI) website provides information about research integrity obligations in research involving human participants or animals. OREI gives support for researchers to meet those obligations. Codes of Conducts for research and several topics including the management of data, ethics of publication and collaborative research are covered.

Fields covered: research ethics and integrity

For advisors

9. Ethics Education Library

The Ethics Education Library is a collection of materials on ethics education in the areas of science, engineering, social sciences, arts and humanities. The material includes for example pedagogical articles, cases of how methods are developed for teaching ethics, and other materials related to the conduct of research. This site is designed for all who are interested in methods of teaching ethical issues related to research.

10. Resources for Research Ethics Education

The Resources for Research Ethics Education-website is directed for teachers of research ethics and provides resources and tools to use in teaching. The website covers for instance the core topics of research ethics, examples of educational settings for teaching research ethics and examples of different tools to utilise in teaching research ethics.

11. Project for Scholarly Integrity

The Project for Scholarly Integrity (PSI) online library provides a wide range of materials (journals, books, videos, blogs etc.) for different audiences who are involved in ethics education and training and planning of ethics education: administrators, deans, faculty members, graduate students. The materials can be searched by the topic, type, discipline and keywords.

Interactive movies

12. Integrity Factor

Integrity Factor is an interactive movie, where a participant assumes the role of a PhD student in a Western European setting and makes decisions about integrity as movie plot proceeds. The questions are asked from a player, and the movie spins to different directions based on the answers selected. The list of key concepts with explanations is provided for further information. This movie is useful to watch for undergraduate and PhD students who work in laboratory settings.

Fields covered: research integrity

13. The Office of Research Integrity – The Lab

The Office of Research Integrity of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides an interactive movie on Research misconduct. In this learning simulation a participant plays roles of four characters working in a laboratory setting and makes decisions about how to handle research misconduct. The topics of mentorship responsibilities, handling of data, responsible authorship and questionable research practices are covered. The learning simulation is primarily intended as a resource for university students at different levels.

Fields covered: research integrity

14. Office of Research Integrity – The Clinic

The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) and the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) present The Research Clinic, which is an interactive video on the protection of research participants and avoidance of research misconduct. A participant can assume four different characters/roles, and the story evolves based on the decisions a player makes about research ethics. This interactive video is intended as a resource especially for students and employees in the area of clinical and social research.

Fields covered: research ethics

Cases on ethics review in non-medical research with human participants for ethics review boards in humanities and social sciences

Samples are based on real cases however, they do not represent any particular case, but contain features from different cases.

Topic 1: Deviation from the norm of informed consent


Research on racist attitudes in workplace recruitment. The researchers (sociology) intend to present themselves as immigrant job seekers and record how they are treated in a preliminary telephone job interview, especially with focus on how the recruiters react to information about the jobseekers´ ethnic background. In the context country, researchers may deviate from informed consent provided that they seek ethics review. The researchers promise to inform the recruiters afterwards about the true nature of the study. The study gets a positive ethics review.

Contents of this case

Is deviation from the norm of informed consent sometimes acceptable?

    • Some topics can be difficult to research if participants are aware of that they may be monitored on unacceptable practices, such as in the case above.

Different forms of deviation:

  • The researcher provides insufficient or misleading information about the research
  • The researcher does not provide misleading information, but does not present him/herself as a researcher either

Questions to consider in such cases:

  • Could the study be done without deviation from the norm of informed consent?
  • Does the study put the participants at risk?
  • Is debriefing possible?

Questions to consider:

  • Could the researchers obtain reliable data if the workplace recruiters knew that their attitudes towards different race was considered? That is, would there be other ways to study the phenomenon without the deceptive element?
  • Should the recruiters also be allowed to withdraw their data once they found out the true nature of the study?
  • Should recruiters be debriefed?
  • Does the importance of the study justify the use of deception? Can the societal importance of a study justify that researchers deviate from seeking full informed consent?
  • Is there a regulatory framework in your country/context that does not allow any form of deviating from full informed consent?

Topic 2: Data management and fidelity


Social sciences researchers have conducted a study with research participants who are socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The researchers have promised the participants of their research to destroy their identifiers at a certain time after the project is finished. The data collection was presented to the participants as a one-time event. However, the researchers have not destroyed the identifying information, contrary to their promise to the research participants. Ten years later the researchers would like to do a follow-up study in which they intend to contact the same individuals in order to follow up on how their lives have evolved.

The researchers seek ethics review in order to continue with their planned follow-up study. The Ethics review board considers that the researchers have broken their promise towards the participants to discard their identifying information. The review board considers this to be particularly problematic because the prospective research participants are socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The review board refuses a positive statement. The researchers turn to another review board and receive a positive statement.

Questions to consider:

  • Should the committee have approved or disapproved of the researcher’s plan?
  • Is it important that researchers keep their promises? Why/why not? Are there situations in which researchers do not need to keep their promises towards participants?
  • Is it a problem that different ethics review boards provide different outcomes? Should all ethics review boards deal similarly with the applications they receive? Can that be achieved? How?
  • Is there a regulatory framework in your country/context that would result in a review board landing on a) the same, b) a different decision?

Topic 3: Autonomy of children – Minors


There has been a concern that people living in specific region of Northern Europe do not get sufficient amounts of Vitamin D in midwinter. Pre-school units have taken in another organic vitamin-rich drink product without added Vitamin D into their meal selection. Researchers in nutrition science wishes to test whether the children’s vitamin D levels remain adequate even if they don’t get vitamin-D milk in their pre-school unit. The children to be studied are 5 years old, and the method involves taking blood samples. Many children are afraid of the taking of blood-samples and would not like to participate, whereas a majority of the participants are positive towards the research initiative. How much weight should be given to the children’s own wishes not to participate?

Contents to consider

  • Autonomy as a basic ethics principle in research – people have the right to decide for themselves whether to participate or not. In the case context, there is legislation stating that children must be treated with equality and respect of individuality, and that children must be allowed, in accord with their developmental level, to make decisions regarding themselves (cf. also UN declaration of children’s rights, art12). In the case context, there is also a law about child welfare stating that a caretaker has the right to make decisions regarding the child.
  • Very small children may not be able to understand the research that goes on. In this case the children’s’ developmental level does not allow them to make informed decisions about their participation, so ultimately it is the caretakers’ decision. In what ways can researchers communicate their research to children who cannot read or whose developmental level will not allow them to understand what the research is about or what the researcher does? (E.g. using pictures or photographs, adapting vocabulary to a level the child understands etc.)

Questions to consider:

  • Who should decide about participation: child or caretaker? How can or should a child’s and a caretaker’s wishes regarding the child’s participation in research be taken into account? Whose voice weighs heavier?
  • Is there a regulatory framework in your country/context that provides guidance for the ethics review board? Are there conflicting regulations, and if so, which law overrules the other(s)?

Topic 4: Parental consent – Minors – Risk-benefit


Youth researchers wish to do a research project with children under 15 years of age as research participants. In the case country, it is possible to study children under the age of 15 without parental consent if the study is part of everyday school activities. However, in this case the research is not to be carried out at school. The researchers wish to perform the study without parental consent. This is possible in the case context, but in such cases, the study must be reviewed by an ethics review board.

There had been a conflict between a group of teenagers and shopkeepers in an affluent area. For the teenagers, the area was a place to meet friends and spend time in the afternoon and evening, but they were not paying customers, and some shopkeepers were upset that the teenagers block passages, occupy seating areas, and “scare away customers” by their loud voices. The conflict escalated into a dispute between the youth and security officers patrolling the area. The researcher wishes to study the conflict with a focus on the teenagers. Researchers explain that the focus of the project is on how young people spend time after school in public areas.

The reason for not seeking parental consent was that the youngsters would not want their parents to start asking questions about where and with whom they spent time after school. Seeking parental consent would make it difficult to recruit participants to the study, claimed the researchers.

Contents to consider

  • Sometimes researchers may not obtain reliable/ representative data if seeking parental consent, e.g. in research about home violence, social problems etc., or when the topic is sensitive and the children/youth may not want their parents to know or ask about these issues, e.g. research on sexual orientation, use of alcohol/drugs etc.
  • Parental consent may thus not be necessary in all cases. However, even though consent is not obtained from parents, it may be appropriate to inform parents about the research.
  • Could the societal benefit of the research outweigh its risks and possible harm?

Questions to consider:

  • What is regulated in your country about research on minors? What is the age at which young people are considered to be mature enough to consent for themselves? Is the above a case in which parental consent must be sought in your country?
  • Considering that this is a case from a country in which minors can be studies without parental consent (however, an ethics review is mandatory in such cases), from an ethical point of view, should the children be able to consent for themselves? Would it be appropriate to inform the parents even if informed consent is not sought for?

For online training options in paediatric research, see here: List of training options in paediatric research