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Collaborative Working and International Research

Collaborative Working

Researchers should be aware of the standards and procedures for the conduct of research followed by any organisations involved in collaborative research that they are undertaking. They should also be aware of any contractual requirements involving partner organisations, seeking guidance and assistance where necessary and reporting any concerns or irregularities to the appropriate person(s) as soon as they become aware of them.

Researchers should try to anticipate any issues that might arise as a result of working collaboratively and agree jointly in advance how they might be addressed, communicating any decisions to all members of the research team.

In particular, researchers are advised to contact the RIS Departmental Officer for their department as early as possible so that an appropriate agreement can be put in place which clearly outlines the specific roles of the researchers involved in the project and on issues relating to intellectual property, publication, and the attribution of authorship, recognising that, subject to legal and ethical requirements, roles and contributions may change during the time span of the research.

Research Conducted Outside The UK

When conducting, or collaborating in, research in other countries, organisations and researchers based in the UK should comply with the legal and ethical requirements existing in the UK and in the countries where the research is conducted. Similarly, organisations and researchers based abroad who participate in UK-hosted researchprojects should comply with the legal and ethical requirements existing in the UK as well as those of their own country. Further information can also be seen be found on our overseas ethics committees web pages.

In countries that do not recognise UK insurance and liability arrangements further local insurance may have to be purchased. The research team need to explore how this is to be funded. These matters need to be explored and addressed well before the application is submitted to BSREC because approval cannot be given until they have been satisfactorily resolved. Failure to do so will inevitably lead to a delay in BSREC’s decision and to the commencement of the study.

Researchers should bear in mind the differences between civil, legal and often the financial positions of national and foreign researchers and participants and must be aware that there may be a number of national laws which can affect the conduct of their research in other countries.

In particular where developing societies are involved specific consideration must be given to the following:

  • whether the research could be carried out reasonably well within a developed country;
  • that the characteristics and culture of the country do not diminish the researcher's respect for the rights and interests of participants involved;
  • the reason for undertaking the study should usually be its relevance to the needs of the community in which it is carried out ;
  • ethics review must, where possible take place in the UK and in the host country.

For further guidance in this area please see Wellcome Trust Position Statement on research involving people living in low and middle income countries.