Research ethics

Principles and practices of scientific research

THL conducts clinical medical research, research based on registers and documentation and human science research based on surveys and interviews. The various units of THL work in cooperation with each other and with other Finnish and international research organisations in a number of research projects. Research cooperation is also carried out with the research departments of different companies. 

THL complies with the current legislation in all its activities and processes research data in accordance with each research plan. The data made available to research groups is clearly isolated and only used by authorised persons. Access to data is controlled and monitored, for example, by restricting access rights to authorised persons only and collecting data log on the processing of personal data. The processes, instructions and monitoring ensure that the data submitted to THL are safe and used only for permitted uses in accordance with the terms of the licence.

The institute's ethical guidelines are applied in all work carried out in THL. The aim of the guidelines is to ensure the implementation of good scientific practice in all research and confidence in THL among decision-makers, professionals in different fields and the population. In THL, compliance with good scientific practice is primarily the responsibility of each researcher and person responsible for the research, but it also applies to the personnel of the entire organisation.

In addition to the relevant legislation, the guidelines of the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK and the rules of procedure of the institute, guidelines on good research practice and other internal regulations and instructions of the institute are primarily applied to research ethics and its evaluation.
Responsible conduct of research (TENK)
Legislation governing research use

Ethical evaluation of research plans

Research plans are evaluated in accordance with discipline-specific ethical practices. An ethical ex-ante evaluation emphasises the anticipation of potential harm that could be caused by the study or its results to the subject.

Medical research always requires an ethical ex-ante evaluation conducted by regional ethical committees. The provisions on medical research in Finland are laid down in the Medical Research Act.
Medical Research Act

Non-medical research does not fall within the scope of the Medical Research Act, so a request for a statement on the ex-ante evaluation of a study is made to the research organisation's own working group on research ethics.

The THL working group on research ethics assesses non-medical research carried out in THL. The evaluation examines the data collection plan, the manner in which the research is carried out, informing the subjects and the data processing and management plan from the perspective of avoiding risks and damage.

Estimates of further use of previously collected research data

THL also has an ethical committee, whose statutory task is to provide estimates of further use of previously collected research data.
THL Ethics Committee