Ethical review in Finland

Medical research

The Medical Research Act and Decree (488/1999) regulate medical research involving human beings.

According to the Act, medical research means research involving intervention in the integrity of a person, human embryo or human foetus for the purpose of increasing knowledge of health, the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases or the nature of diseases in general.

The ethics committees of hospital districts are responsible for ethical pre-evaluation of medical research. The National Committee on Medical Research Ethics evaluates the ethical aspects of international multi-centre medicinal trials in cooperation with research ethics committees.

For more information on ethical review in medical research, see the National Committee on Medical Research Ethics.

Human sciences

The Research Act only applies to medical research. For research in the humanities and social and behavioural sciences, the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity TENK has issued a set of recommendations on the ethical principles to be followed as well as a proposal for arranging ethical review in these sectors:

Previous guidelines (NB. The previous guidelines will apply to research that commenced within a research organisation before the organisation signed up to the new guidelines):

Commitment to TENK's ethical guidelines

Commitment to the ethical guidelines for research in the humanities and social and behavioural sciences is voluntary and includes an obligation to arrange an ethical review in accordance with the principles set forth by TENK. Nearly all of the third-level institutions and research establishments working in this area in Finland have already committed themselves to complying with the guidelines.

For a list of organisations that have committed themselves to the guidelines, see Finnish page Sitoutuneet organisaatiot