Uitreiking 1000e ECSW met een taart voor Pepijn van der Pol
Uitreiking 1000e ECSW met een taart voor Pepijn van der Pol

1000th approval of Ethics Committee

Recently, a study was approved for the 1000th time through the full-track procedure of the Ethics Committee Social Sciences (ECSS). The ECSS assesses whether research complies with ethical principles and guidelines. The approval was submitted by Pepijn van der Pol. Jacqueline Vink presented Pepijn with a celebratory cake and reflects on the work of the ECSW herself.

Protecting Participants

Jacqueline Vink has chaired the Social Sciences Ethics Committee (ECSW) since 2017. Together with her colleagues, Vink provides advice to the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. They review the extent to which research involving human subjects meets the ethical guidelines and principles agreed nationally and within the faculty. Vink explains why this task is necessary: "People may not often consider the ethical aspects of research. Especially in today's society, where developments are happening at lightning speed and privacy is becoming increasingly important, the ethical check is extra important. We want to protect research participants, and in doing so, we always ask ourselves whether the research's benefit outweighs the participants' burden."

Continuous Evolution of Ethics

Just as society changes at a rapid pace, ethical issues arise just as quickly. For example, the ECSW faced the challenge of applying the updated 2018 privacy legislation to research proposals within the faculty. Ethics is constantly evolving. Vink says: "All kinds of current issues are dealt with in the ECSW. How are researchers allowed to use social media? What do we do with chance findings? These are findings that are important to feedback to participants but are not necessarily the results a researcher was looking for. We will work extensively on these kinds of questions. I find the fact that there will always be new questions really exciting."

In contrast to the light-track procedure, where research applications are only randomly inspected, so-called 'invasive' studies are thoroughly scrutinised in the full-track procedure. Meanwhile, the 1000th full-track procedure has been approved. "A festive occasion that I get to witness as chairperson. Next year, my two terms as president at ECSW will be over, and I will hand over the baton. Hopefully, in a couple of years, we will reflect on the next milestone. On to the 2000th!"

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Organizational unit
Faculty of Social Sciences