Ethics in global research: Creating a toolkit to support integrity and ethical action throughout the research journey

Corinne Reid, Clara Calia, Cristobal Guerra, Liz Grant, Matilda Anderson, Khama Chibwana, Paul Kawale, Action Amos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Global challenge-led research seeks to contribute to solution-generation for complex problems. Multicultural, multidisciplinary, and multisectoral teams must be capable of operating in highly demanding contexts. This brings with it a swathe of ethical conflicts that require quick and effective solutions that respect both international conventions and cultural diversity. The objective of this article is to describe the process of creating a toolkit designed to support global researchers in navigating these ethical challenges. The process of creating the toolkit embodied the model of ethical research practice that it advocates. Specifically,at the heart of ethical decision-making is consideration of the following: Place, solutions must be relevant to the context in which they are to be used; People, those impacted by the outcomes must be partners in co-creation; Principles, ethical projects must be guided by clear values; and Precedent, the existing evidence-base should guide the project and, in turn, the project should extend the evidence-base. It is the thesis underlying the toolkit that consideration of these 4Ps provides a strong basis for understanding ethical conflicts and allows for the generation of potential solutions. This toolkit has been designed in two phases of collaborative work. More than 200 researchers participated from more than 30 countries and more than 60 different disciplines. This allowed us to develop a model for contextual,dynamic analysis of ethical conflicts in global research that is complementary to traditional codes of ethics. It emphasizes the need to consider ethical analysis as an iterative, reflective,process relevant at all stages of the research journey, including, ultimately, in evaluating the legacy of a project. The toolkit is presented as an open access website to promote universal access. A downloadable “pocket guide” version is also now available in 11 languages.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch Ethics
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • global research
  • culture
  • LMIC
  • research ethics
  • bottom-up approach


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