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When is ethical permission required?

The requirement for ethical review applies to all research (in the legal sense) which fulfills any of the conditions specified in the Act concerning the ethical review of research involving humans (2003:460). Below, you can read more about what this entails.

The concept of research

Not all acquisition of knowledge constitutes research in the legal sense. For example, student degree projects and internal evaluations within public authorities are not normally considered to be research. But there are exceptions.

If the study is expected to be published in a scholarly context or to be included in a doctoral thesis, it is normally considered research. 

On the legal requirements

The Ethical Review Act specifies what research must undergo ethical review. An affirmative answer to any of the questions below means that permission must be obtained for the research:

Does the research entail handling personal information concerning

  • race or ethnic origin?
  • political views?
  • religious or philosophical convictions?
  • trade union membership?
  • health?
  • sexual orientation or sex life?
  • genetic data?
  • biometric data?
  • legal offences involving crimes, criminal convictions, procedural coercive measures or administrative detention?

Does the research entail a physical intervention on 

  • a living human being?
  • a deceased person?

Is the research conducted according to a method which

  • aims to affect the research subject physically or mentally?
  • entails an obvious risk of harming the research subject physically or mentally?

Does the research concern studies on biological material taken from

  • a living human and traceable to that individual?
  • a deceased person for medical purposes and traceable to that individual?

Please note that it is of no consequence whether the research volunteers have consented to the research or the handling of their personal information. If the answer to any of the questions above is yes, ethical review must take place. 

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Any questions?

Do you have any questions regarding research ethics regulations? As an employee of Lund University, you can turn to forskningsetik [at] lu [dot] se

How to apply?

Instructions regarding how to apply for ethics approval is to be found at the homepage of the Swedish Ethical Review Authority: