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Research Office

Research Ethics at SOAS

SOAS expects its staff and student researchers to maintain the highest ethical standards, and to foster openness, honesty, tolerance, fairness and responsibility, in accordance with the core values in SOAS’s Vision and Strategy for the Centenary. This page provides information about the research ethics policies and procedures which translate SOAS’s ethical commitment into practice.

Research Ethics Policies and Procedures

The SOAS Research Ethics Policy sets out the ethical principles which staff, students and other researchers are expected to follow when conducting research under the auspices of SOAS, and defines the unacceptable behaviour which will be treated by the School as research misconduct. The Research Ethics Policy has been approved by Research and Enterprise Committee.

Procedure for the Ethical Review of Research Projects

Ethical review is necessary to ensure that SOAS research projects will comply with the requirements of the School’s Research Ethics Policy. The approval process covered by this procedure is mandatory for all research. It may also be used for research proposals from research students, which raise ethical concerns.

Ethical approval must be obtained before any research project commences.


Research students can find further information and the upgrade and ethics review forms in the Doctoral School Section.

For Staff, enquiries about ethical matters should be sent to your Associate Dean (Research):

Taught (undergraduate / taught masters students) carrying out primary research

All taught students doing primary research for their dissertations, ISPs or coursework, must download the Risk Assessment & Ethical clearance form for UGT_PGT, complete it, and return it to their Course convenor or tutor as advised by their Department. Please note that ISP or dissertation students should first consult their supervisor who must approve the form before submission. Please complete the Risk Assessment & Ethical clearance form with care since only one resubmission will be permitted, after which permission to carry out primary research will be denied. You should expect to hear within three weeks of the departmental deadline.

Using Personal Data in Research: Code of Practice for SOAS Staff and Students

This Code of Practice provides guidance for staff and students on handling data relating to human research subjects, to meet the requirements of the Data Protection Act and ethical requirements. It has been approved by Research & Enterprise Committee and noted by Academic Board.

Obtaining consent:
In addition to general consideration in obtaining consent, some funders and disciplines have specific requirements. The forms below should be used as a guide to meeting these concerns but may need supplementing. 

General consent forms:

Policy for the Investigation of Allegations of Research Misconduct

The policy sets out how SOAS will investigate allegations of research misconduct, as defined in the Research Ethics Policy. It commits SOAS to adopting the model Procedure for the Investigation of Misconduct in Research published by the UK Research Integrity Office, and translates that procedure into roles and responsibilities at SOAS. The policy has been approved by Research Committee and Academic Board following consultation with the faculty research committees, and is subject to consultation with staff trade unions.

Complaints about Research Misconduct

Complaints about SOAS research will be handled in accordance with the School’s Policy for the Investigation of Allegations of Research Misconduct. Please note that:

  • Complaints must be submitted in writing
  • The complaint must include the name and contact details of the complainant. Anonymous complaints will not be investigated
  • The complaint should identify the research which is the subject of the complaint as precisely as possible (e.g. citing the specific publication), and should explain why, in the complainant’s view, the research is not in accordance with SOAS’s Research Ethics Policy
  • Complaints will only be accepted on the basis that full details of the complaint and the complainant's identity will be provided to the respondent at the appropriate point in the research misconduct investigation

Complaints should be submitted to the attention of the Schools' Registrar, Ms Laura Gibbs at the following address:

Directorate, Room 115 - College Buildings, SOAS, University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG.

Research Ethics Panel

Minutes of SOAS's former Research Ethics Panel are available via the Committees page of the website. Responsibility for research ethics now rests with Research and Enterprise Committee.