• Bioethics Commission of University of Barcelona
  • Facultat de Medicina i Ciències de la Salut
  • Campus Clínic, Planta 5ª, Ala Nord
  • Casanova, 143
    08036 Barcelona
  • (+34) 93 403 19 48
  • (+34) 93 403 45 46
  • International Research Projects Office (OPIR)
  • University of Barcelona
    Bosch i Gimpera Foundation
  • Parc Científic, Torre D. 4a planta
  • Baldiri i Reixac, 4-8
  • 08028 Barcelona
  • (+34) 93 403 53 93

Communiqué on students’ participation in research projects

As regards participation of the Universitat de Barcelona’s students in research projects led by professors and researchers from this university, the CBUB wishes to convey to the university community the following considerations:

Students’ participation in research projects may be seen from different angles, according to the aim sought with this participation. The first includes research projects where students are recruited in the same way as if they were persons from outside the University through the usual channels: advertisements in the media, on notice boards at the various university faculties, in each Department or other similar ways. In these cases, participation by students as participants in research are merely passive and any compensation they receive must be the same as any other volunteer who is not a member of the university community. Therefore in this case, the student does not achieve any or only little added education as a result of his or her participation in a research project and, as a result, will not receive any kind of academic compensation.

Secondly, cases in which students’ participation in research projects adds a high value to their education, their participation may be considered as active, since this is the way the students are introduced to learning in research projects (the aim, design, methodology, recruiting subjects, analysing and assessing results) and always under the effective guidance of the head researcher in the project. The training we refer to herein must also include awareness and teaching of those students taking part in these projects such as the aspects of ethics related to research and compliance with the subsequent ethical protocols. In this way, students may become accustomed to research processes in their dual roles of volunteer subjects in experiments and future researchers. Naturally, this training must be controlled, evaluated and appraised, and the activities that students are involved in must be clearly specified in each research project together with the obligations regarding the time dedicated and the ethical principles in the research, and information students must know before joining the project. The Departments are in charge of establishing the specific procedures to carry out the control, assessment and appraisal of the active participation of students in research projects.

In addition to the above, the Departments that offer students the chance to actively participate in research projects must also provide alternative mechanisms to the students who do not wish to take part in these projects. These alternative mechanisms may be, among others, comments on experiments already conducted, bibliographic, documentary or other research work, data processing, taking part in experimental studies as assistants, observers, etc. providing these projects provide direct valuable experience for the students and they carry out some kind of study or analysis which obviously must also bear an adequate academic appraisal in accordance with that established by each Department.

Finally, in scientific publications researchers must take into consideration the possible ethical problems outlined in the CBUB’s communiqué.



November, 2009

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