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Fears of the legality of some Swedish research projects as ethical principles might have been broken
Sunday, 23 December 2012
Swedish researchers could have used personal and sensitive data to
pursue some research, which is now deemed as could have been illegal.
According to radio Sweden's own research and assessment, after going
through research works conducted in Sweden since 2004, when the
so-called Ethical Review Act took effect, it shows from their
assessment that the amounts of sensitive personal data collected from
the Swedish Employment Service's archives used in the research seems to
have failed the ethical test.
The Swedish Employment Service archive in Söderhamn contains hundreds
of thousands, perhaps millions of documents relating to individuals.
This could be related to illnesses of various sorts such as injuries as
well as documents and story of Sweden's labour migration.
"During the past eight years, several researchers have sought to gain
access into the archive and its documents, sometimes to gain access to
sensitive data about individuals to be used for research purposes,"
said radio Sweden
But in order to process data on, for example, ethnicity and health
issues, scientists need to have applied for a review by an ethics
committee. Radio Sweden has found eight projects that have no
authorisation for research to be conducted with such data but where the
Employment Service records show that they are still allowed to push
forward with the research even though they are described as sensitive
to the researchers.
One specific project is about a social medical study conducted on an
ethnic group in the 70s, said Radio Sweden. The research according to
experts, would have obviously been labelled ethics where there are both
borderline for such studies.
There is also a research that focused on occupational injuries. This
includes medical certificates for individuals, even where sensitive
data that require ethical review was necessary, it is lacking for that
Radio Sweden says it has spoken to several experts in the field and
they say that in these cases is not enough for the employment service
to have leave the documents and such databases without adhering to the
confidentiality clauses pertaining to them. They also question the
researcher of the projects about their own ethical proficiency.
Generally, there are rules in Sweden that certain studies relating to
human beings need adhere to those set of ethical rules, which guarantee
that their personal situations will not be used to enhance research
without certain conditions reached. In some cases, some data is not
allowed to be used and some databases are not in any circumstances
allowed to be accessed. From this report, it therefore looks like
databases where invaded and information extracted either with or
without the knowledge of authorities or that the
authorities were lax with the checks required.
by Scancomark.com Team