Ethics and integrity

Summary of the School ethics pages, including the School's ethics and integrity guiding principles, ethics procedure and ethics committee membership.

The Informatics ethics procedure is in place to ensure that all research conducted in the School abides by the required ethical standards. To this end, the School follows a set of guiding principles which are in line with those of the College and University.  There is more information on the School's ethics and integrity guiding principles under the tab of the same name.

Ethics and integrity guiding principles

Since the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018, the School is making increased efforts to ensure any project working with personal data takes the appropriate steps to ensure secure handling of personal information. For a summary of the relevance of the GDPR in ethical research, see Ethics and the GDPR.

Ethics and the GDPR

Each project in the School of Informatics needs to be reviewed by the Ethics committee. Since June 2019, this can be done by completing the online Informatics ethics form. The form guides the PI through mandatory questions and a Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) as required, as well as prompting the user to produce relevant documents (e.g. consent forms). Once submitted, the committee will aim to reply within 10 working days. The online form as well as a PDF reference are available under the Ethics procedure tab.

Ethics procedure

If you are working with human participants, you will need to provide a participant information sheet (PIS) and consent forms to complete you ethics application. For any type of research project, it is further adviseable that you create a data management plan (DMP) before you begin collecting data. School-specific templates for PIS and consent forms, as well as more information and advice on writing a DMP, are available under Ethics resources. 

Ethics resources

Informatics ethics committee

The Informatics ethics committee reviews each ethics application submitted in the School. They are available to answer any questions not answered here, and to advise on your ethics application as you prepare it. 

The ethics committee is chaired by Peggy Seriès and currently has the below membership. The members come from different research areas, and have experience with different kinds of ethical issues:

Image of Peggy Series
Peggy Seriès (chair) I am the convenor of the Ethics Committee. I am a senior lecturer at IANC. My research is in computational neuroscience and computational psychiatry. I have experience with behavioural studies looking at perception and/or cognition, including online studies and studies involving participants with mental illness.
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Alexandra Birch-Mayne

I am an ethics committee member and Reader in NLP in ILCC and my main focus of research is multilingual and low-resource NLP and translation. I have experience of developing NLP tools using personal data from social media.

Image of Kia Nazarpour
Kia Nazarpour I hold a readership in Biomedical AI at IANC. My research is in neuroprosthetics. I work primarily with people with limb difference, controlling a prosthesis. Additionally, I have the experience of receiving clearance from the Home Office for research with animals as well as from the NHS to recruit patients in a clinical trial.
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Arno Onken

I am a lecturer in data science for life sciences at IANC. My research is in computational neuroscience and machine learning. I have experience with analysing data recorded from animals as well as some experience with psychophysical experiments.

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Björn Ross

I am a Lecturer in Computational Social Science in ILCC. In my research I primarily use computational methods from agent-based modelling, natural language processing and social network analysis to study social media and related technologies. I have experience with the analysis of social media data and associated issues such as data sharing and consent.

Image of Kami Vaniea
Kami Vaniea I am a Lecturer in ILCC and affiliated with both LFCS and Design Informatics. My research is in human factors of security and privacy technologies. I have experience with most human computer interaction study approaches including lab studies, interviews, surveys, online experiments, studies involving deception, and some ethnography. 

More information on the commitee is available through the committee pages.

Ethics Committee

The Ethics panel can be contacted on inf-ethics@inf.ed.ac.uk, or via the Ethics office hour (Mondays 4-5pm).

Contact the Informatics Ethics panel

Informatics Ethics office hour

The Informatics ethics committee hold an office hour the first Monday of every month, 4pm-5pm. The session is attended by one member of the ethics committee every session. Staff and students are welcome to join the office hour via the Teams link below, and to discuss questions around ethics and ethics application. Please take the time to review the information available on these pages before attending, including the FAQs. Students should discuss specific ethics questions with their supervisor before attending the office hour (open to both students and supervisors). 

Ethics office hour, first Monday of the month 4pm-5pm