Balancing Different Legal and Ethical Requirements in the Construction of Informed Consents in Qualitative International Collaborative Research Across Continents: Reflections from a Scandinavian Perspective

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International research collaborations engage multiple countries, researchers, and universities. This enhances the magnitude of contextual challenges, including legal and ethical dimensions across various jurisdictions, that must be bridged in qualitative research regardless of discipline, also in the construction of informed consents. From a Scandinavian perspective, this discussion paper explores challenges pertaining to the construction of informed consents related to EU data protection legislation, to which research institutions are subject when processing data related to EU residents. Next, it discusses challenges related to different traditions in terms of handling informed consent and research participants’ integrity, including the possibilities to waive anonymity in research. In international, multidisciplinary studies where researchers also operate in relatively ‘unknown territory’, it is especially important to be aware of and reflect on (inter)national possibilities and limitations related to laws, ethics, and culture/traditions in societies and within the academic fields. The variations in laws, ethical guidelines, and traditions in different countries demand that researchers are up to date with laws and ethical guidelines in the studied countries. Their practical implementation in the countries at stake in international, collaborative research endeavours are important, especially since such regulations and guidelines are far from static and change over time. The implementation of good ethical research practice requires democratic, reflexive, and responsive processes in all phases of research. Especially the preparation phase functions as a period to increase and ensure the knowledge and legal/ethical competences of the entire research team to meet the demands in the countries at stake.

TidsskriftJournal of Academic Ethics
StatusUdgivet - 27 maj 2024

ID: 392915529