In accordance with the Charles University Rector’s Measure No. 74/2017, and with the Faculty of Humanities of Charles University Dean’s Measure No. 10/2018, I hereby issue the Statute of the Committee for Ethical Research, adjusted for the needs of the Faculty of Humanities.
1. The Dean of the Faculty of Humanities of Charles University (hereinafter the Faculty) is hereby establishing the Committee for Ethical Research of the Faculty of Humanities of Charles University (hereinafter the Committee).
2. The statute delineates the Committee’s mission, composition, and activities.
1. The Committee evaluates the ethical aspects of submitted research project proposals or of already acquired projects of those Faculty employees and future employees who are the proposers or coordinators of such research projects (hereinafter the Proposer(s)). In the case of co-research projects directed by another institution, the Committee evaluates the ethical aspects of the pertinent part of the project proposal or already acquired project that is being realised or will be realised at the Faculty.
2. In its activities, the Committee draws upon the principles expressed in the Statute of Charles University, especially its preamble, the Code of Ethics of Charles University, and furthermore the relevant internal regulations of the Faculty, the European Charter for Researchers, and the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. Furthermore, the Committee takes into account the general legislation of the Czech Republic and the regulations and the submission documents of agencies.
3. The Committee suggests the principles and goals of the Faculty’s strategy for evaluating and approving the ethical aspects of research projects.
4. The Committee supports and actively contributes to the understanding, increase in awareness, building of knowledge, and respect of the ethical standards for research at the Faculty.
5. The Committee is an advisory authority for the Dean.
1. The Committee members are the academic and research workers and employees of the Faculty, of other faculties and institutes of Charles University, and eventually of other universities or research organisations.
2. The Committee is comprised of at least three, but at most nine, members.
3. The members of the Committee are named by the Dean of the Faculty for the term of three years. The Dean may recall any member of the Committee at any time.
4. Committee members may be named for a maximum of two consecutive terms. Six months prior to the end of their mandate, the current members nominate those academicians who will continue their work in the Committee.
5. The Chairperson is named by the Dean; the Vice Chairperson is then named by the Chairperson based on the nominations of the Committee.
6. Before the end of a term, membership in the Committee may be terminated by withdrawal, whereupon the member submits a written notice to the Dean, or may be terminated by being recalled by the Dean.
7. Administrative support for Committee activities is given by the designated member of the Faculty’s Research Administration Department.
1. The Committee evaluates the ethical aspects of research project proposals or of already acquired research projects on the basis of the applications submitted by the Proposer or coordinator of these projects. In exceptional situations, it evaluates the ethical aspects of the theses of Faculty students.
2. Applications for the evaluations of the ethical aspects of research project proposals or of already acquired projects are submitted on the pertinent form, which is available for downloading on the faculty website. If the project is being submitted to an external agency which requires an ethical evaluation using its own form, the applicant uses this form, while also filling out the data that is not included in the form of the external agency into the form of the Faculty.
3. Along with the application form for the evaluation of the ethical aspects of the project proposal or of an already acquired project, the applicant also submits:
a. a description of how oral provisions of valid information are given to the research participants, namely about the expected benefits and possible risks related to the research. If a written informed consent will be used in the research, it is necessary to submit a copy. Examples of written informed consents are available for downloading on the Faculty website. It is necessary, however, to modify them for the purposes of the specific research.
b. a written consent with personal data processing if the project in question works with the personal data of research participants. The consent with personal data processing may be part of the written informed consent.
c. the summary of the research project that the proposer or coordinator of the project shall provide to the research participants. This written summary does not, however, substitute the written instructions, but serves as an addendum to them.
d. the explicit list of risks and benefits stemming from participation in the research project (inquiry within the research project).
The items listed under a) - d) of this paragraph may be submitted as one document.
4. The Proposers are required to submit an application for the evaluation of the ethical aspects of the project proposal or of an already acquired project as soon as possible; with project proposals, no later than thirty-five (35) days before the institutional deadline for the project’s submission. In the case that the application that is submitted is incomplete or incorrectly filled out, the applicants will be contacted within seven (7) days to submit the completed and corrected application form. The application is not the grant project itself, but a specific proposal of the research project with a description of the research goals, the research questions, and the methodology of the submitted project.
5. Students applying for the evaluation of the ethical aspects of their thesis projects by the Committee should only do so on the basis of the written recommendation of their thesis supervisor. Their application must contain all of the aforementioned requisites. In the case of research projects where participants are at no or minimal risk in terms of ethics, the supervisor or the instructor of the thesis, respectively, shall approve the applications.
5. Research projects dealing with research on animals or work with animals are also subject to Committee approval. The criteria for working with animals will be published on the Faculty website.
1. Committee meetings - on site or online- are summoned by the Chairperson at least twice a year (usually in October and in March), and furthermore as needed. Any committee member may also convene a meeting of the Commission as required, subject to the agreement of more than half of the members of the Commission.
2. Committee meetings are chaired by the Committee Chairperson. In the case of the absence of the Chairperson, they are substituted by the Vice Chairperson, who also chairs the meeting.
3. The Committee votes on the standpoints on the ethical aspects of project proposals or of already acquired projects.
4. An absolute majority of positive votes by Committee members must be made on the decisions, or on the approval of research projects, respectively. In the case of a tie, the vote of the Chairperson is decisive, or of the Vice Chairperson, respectively, in the case of the Chairperson’s absence.
5. If any of the Committee members should be connected to the project proposal or already acquired project in question, or is in conflict of interest with the project’s coordinators, they must give notice of this fact to the Committee Chairperson without undue delay (in the case that the Chairperson is in this position, then to the Vice Chairperson), and they shall not take part of the evaluation of the ethical aspects of the project.
6. Meetings are held in Czech. In the case that circumstances require it, e.g. in the case of a foreign project Proposer who does not speak Czech, or if the external agency requires that the Committee standpoint be issued in English, the pertinent parts of the meeting are held in English and the standpoint is issued in English.
7. The Committee can require the presence of the Proposer of the project in question during the meeting. The Committee can also request that the Proposer give the further information needed for evaluating the ethical aspects of the project proposal or of the already acquired project.
8. A written standpoint shall be elaborated by the Committee for each evaluated project proposal or already acquired project. The standpoint always has a reference number, and can be the following:
a) The project does not contain the requisites necessary for evaluation by the Committee. The Committee will not deal with the application for the evaluation of the ethical aspects of a project proposal or already acquired project.
b) The Committee is issuing a standpoint with a positive appraisal of the ethical aspects of the project proposal or already acquired project, i.e. it is approving the project.
c) The Committee is issuing a standpoint with a negative appraisal of the ethical aspects of the project proposal or already acquired project, i.e. it is rejecting the project.
d) The Committee is issuing a standpoint with a conditional approval of the project, specifying the areas or issues that require additional information or reworking.
The standpoint of the Committee is always issued in writing, containing the signature of the Chairperson or of the Vice Chairperson of the Committee.
9. The Committee does not evaluate the legal contexts and legal repercussions stemming from the research project proposals, nor of the actions of the research project Proposers.
10. The Committee is an authority that primarily evaluates research projects in terms of the protection of the participants of the research project. The project proposers must ensure that research projects do not cause inadequate strain or risk for participants. A significant principle is the comparison of the potential benefits of the projects and of the strain that this project has on participants. The Committee is not responsible for the realisation of such research where the risks were insufficiently reflected on by the Proposer.
11. The Committee evaluates a project proposal or an already acquired project and elaborates its standpoint within thirty (30) calendar days from the submission of the application form for evaluation. In the case that the application form was incomplete when submitted or was filled out incorrectly, the time period begins on the day that the corrected and completed application form is submitted.
12. If the Proposer of a rejected project proposal or already acquired project submits a written request, the Committee shall elaborate a written reasoning of its standpoint within sixty (60) calendar days from the day that the request is submitted.
13. Minutes are recorded from meetings. The minutes are publicised on the Faculty website within thirty (30) days of the day that the meeting was held.
1. The Committee may evaluate and decide about project proposals and already acquired projects by circular resolution.
2. Meetings held through circular resolution shall not be held if at least one third of all committee members are against it.
3. Committee meetings held through circular resolution are chaired by the Chairperson of the Committee, or by the Committee member designated to do so by the Chairperson.
4. The results of voting by circular resolution are public.
5. Voting by circular resolution is valid if an absolute majority of all Committee members vote.
6. The period for voting must not be shorter than four (4) working days from being declared.
7. Minutes are recorded from meetings held through circular resolution, which the Committee approves at the next meeting.
1. The Dean names the committee members as of 1 July 2018.
2. The Dean names the Committee Chairperson as of 1 July 2018.
3. These provisions come into effect on the day it is signed.
4. These provisions come into effect on 22 June 2018.
In Prague on 18 June 2018
Ing. arch. Mgr. Marie Pětová, Ph.D.
Dean, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University, Prague