PRME Corner: Ethics in Research, Do We Concern?

Ethics are norms or standards that are used to guide people to act and behave in a moral and responsible way. Therefore, research ethics defines as to how researchers work in appropriate way by considering the rights of the stakeholders who are involved including the researchers. This could be conducted by referring to the principles of honesty, objectivity, integrity, carefulness, openness, responsible publication, confidentiality, and non-discrimination.

All ethical issues and dilemmas should be identified in each stage of research starting from developing the research questions, gaining access to data, data collection process, data processing and analysis, and finally the report writing and publication stages. Different with law, to recognize the ethical issues and to solve the ethical dilemmas the researchers should consult with the code of ethics or ethical procedures in their research fields. However, qualitative research or research involving humans or primary data has more ethical concerns than quantitative research or research that uses secondary data. The data collection through internet, for example through social media, may also have ethical concerns on whether the data are public or private. Ethical concerns in research are mostly related to the dilemmas researchers may have with those who provide access to the data and with the funding sponsors of the research. Others ethical issues in research are related to data reliability; plagiarism; sensitive issues discussed; conflict of interests between the researchers and sponsors, participants, or institutions; respect on confidentiality and privacy of participants’ data; accountability of the findings to the public; and implications of findings to moral and social values.

Although this may not solve all ethical issues in research, the establishment of research ethics committees in research or higher education institutions is a necessary to deal with above issues and to ensure that no one is harm. There are several important roles of an ethic committee.

First, they are needed to develop the ethical code and procedures for all researches conducting by the faculty members, students, and staffs as their research will represent the affiliation with the institution. All forms related to the process of informed consent to ensure that individuals are voluntarily participating in the research with full understanding of relevant consequences, risks, incentives, and benefits should be made by the committee. These forms will be completed by the researcher where the study could only be conducted after approvals of the submitted forms by the committee.

Second, the committee becomes the advisors to solve ethical issues and dilemmas that may raise during the research stages. Therefore, the committee should consist of members with background from different research areas.

Third, they will protect the human participants involve in the research. Forth, they will protect confidentiality of data. Finally, they will ensure that all ethical concerns or conflict of interests have been disclosed in the report and that the findings have implications for the interests of society as a whole.

Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) also puts high concerns on ethical issues in research as stated in the Rector Decree No. 024/SK/K01/PL/2011 on 18 March 2011 about Code of Ethics Guidance for ITB Research Integrity. Further, ITB concerns on ethical issues related to plagiarism thus requiring that students? thesis have to pass the plagiarism check stage before graduating. Supporting our mission to develop and disseminate knowledge of business and management for the betterment of business, government, and society, School of Business and Management (SBM) ITB promotes research integrity and ethics. Besides requiring student’s thesis has to pass the plagiarism check this year SBM ITB establishes a research ethics committee with the aim to encourage and ensure that all faculty members, students, and staffs conduct an ethical research process. Therefore, SBM ITB commits to keep continuously improving in all aspects including in the research process for the betterment of all. SBM ITB, for the greater good!

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