If your project involves human data subjects, it is important that you have a legal basis for using their data. Consent is one of the legal grounds for processing personal data for scientific research. It’s a crucial ethical principle to ensure that individuals are fully aware of the nature of the research, its potential risks and benefits, and their rights before they decide to participate.
When you use consent as a legal basis for your research, you need to be able to demonstrate that the participants have consented to the processing of their data. One of the ways in which you can do this is by asking them to sign a consent form.
Be clear and transparent in your communication
All the information provided to the participants must be presented in a transparent and easily accessible way, using clear and understandable language. Participants must be capable of understanding the information provided to them. Researchers should use plain language and avoid technical jargon.
If participants have questions, researchers should address them adequately. There are different ways you can inform participants about the manner in which you or possibly others are going to process their data. Examples of methods that are commonly used are privacy statements/notices and information on the project’s web page.
In long-term studies, researchers should seek to obtain ongoing informed consent, especially if there are any changes to the research protocol or if new risks emerge.
In most studies, it is possible to inform data subjects directly about the processing of their personal data. However, there are also studies in which informing the subject directly is not as straightforward (e.g. in social media research).
The DCC has developed a guide on the steps you should follow in these situations and what information you should make publicly available to inform your data subjects indirectly.
|04 October 2023 1.09 p.m.