SOAS University of London

Support for SOAS Researchers

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 SOAS Vision and Strategy 2016-2020 (pdf; 2mb)  . This page provides information about the research ethics policies and procedures which translate SOAS’s ethical commitment into practice.

Research Ethics: Policy and Procedures

The  SOAS Research Ethics Policy (pdf; 317kb)   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.

Obtaining Ethical Approval

Ethical review is necessary to ensure that SOAS research projects will comply with the requirements of the School’s Research Ethics Policy. Ethical approval must be obtained before any research project commences.  The approval process covered by this procedure is mandatory for all research.

Postraduate research students can access additional information via PhD Manager.

Restrictions still remain in relation to international travel.  Researchers should familiarise themselves with version 2 of the Assisted guidance for SOAS Researchers seeking to undertake fieldwork outside the UK v2 (pdf; 186kb)  which has been updated to reflect recent changes to the Regulations. 

Research Ethics Panel

Certain areas of research invariably raise ethical issues that must be given the appropriate level of consideration and scrutiny.  Any research proposal that falls within  Annex A Table 1 (pdf; 103kb) of the Guidance will be referred on to the Research Ethics Panel (REP) for consideration and approval.

A Bitesize Summary (pdf; 252kb)  provides a quick overview of the ethics procedure, referral to the REP and timetable for submissions.

The terms of reference for the Research Ethics Panel are detailed in the Standing Orders.

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

This Code of Practice provides guidance for staff and students on processing personal data as it relates to research, conforming to both ethical requirements as well the requirements set out in data protection legislation.  The Code of Practice also includes a model consent form in the appendices which can be used and adapted by researchers.

Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)

The Research Office has prepared a guidance document: Research Data Protection Impact Assessment (pdf; 324kb)  and it forms part of the overall Research Ethics process.  It is formulated in line with SOAS’ corporate approach as set out in the Data Protection Impact Assessment Guide.

The impact assessment is to help with the identification and minimisation of data protection risks associated with a given project.  Whilst a DPIA is required for any activity which meets one of the screening criteria, some research projects may invariably be predicated on processing information that could be considered high risk.

Policy for the Investigation of Allegations of Research Misconduct

The  SOAS Policy Investigating Allegations of Research Misconduct (pdf; 385kb)   has been adopted from the model Procedure for the Investigation of Misconduct in Research published by the UK Research Integrity Office.  It sets out how SOAS will undertake investigations that relate to allegations of research misconduct, as defined in the Research Ethics policy. 

All complaints relating to allegations of research misconduct must be submitted in writing and marked for the attention of the Schools' Registrar.  There is also a separate SOAS  Whistleblowing Policy (pdf; 216kb) .

Statement on Research Integrity

SOAS continues in its commitment of striving to ensure research conducted under its auspices conforms to the revised Concordat to Support Research Integrity (Oct-2019).  The contact point for research governance at SOAS is: K Hasan [].  The new  Research Integrity Annual Statement (pdf; 184kb) for 2020/2021 is approved by the Board of Trustees and published. 

Previous years statements are available here: