ESRC Framework for Research Ethics – new revision published

3 February 2016

The ESRC has announced the latest revision of its Framework for Research Ethics.

The framework for research ethics was introduced in 2006 to provide guidance to ESRC-funded researchers, organisations, research ethics committees (RECs) and other interested parties, on ethics in social science research. The latest version is presented in a more accessible web format and includes a revised set of principles and how they apply to researchers, research teams and research organisations. Professor John Oates FAcSS – who is part of the Academy’s own Ethics project – was on the ESRC group that produced this new revision.

The ESRC expects that the framework guidance and principles will be followed by all individuals and organisations engaged in ESRC-funded research and may be of wider value to other research-related audiences.

Key aims of the framework are to encourage:

  • consideration of the balance and proportionality of individual rights (for example respect, trust and privacy) alongside the benefits of research to individuals and society.
  • researchers to think ethically about potential issues and consequences throughout the lifecycle of the project and seek the advice from their REC and other expert support as needed.
  • research organisations’ commitment to ethics training for researchers and REC members and to support RECs in fulfilling their role and maintaining their independence.
  • RECs to support researchers throughout the research lifecycle and carry out proportionate ethics reviews considering both the benefits and risks of the research.

The framework can be accessed at

Ethics case studies can be accessed at

Enquiries and submission of ethics case studies should be directed to [email protected]