A brief introduction to copyright, ethics and consent

3. Consent

Research data – even that which is sensitive or confidential – can be shared if researchers pay attention to ethics and legal requirements.  Often this is made much easier if the issue is considered right at the beginning.  Thus:

  • When gaining informed consent, include provision for data sharing
  • Make data anonymous (when needed)
  • Consider the possibility of restricting or controlling access to the data (if needed)

Remember to ensure that consent is informed it must be freely given with sufficient information provided on all aspects of participation and data use.  Thus always ensure that participants are informed how the research data will be stored, preserved and used in the short and long-term; how the confidentiality will be ensured (i.e. anonymising data).  Where possible always ensure that you have gained written consent for data sharing.  If using audio or video, verbal consent – recorded – is satisfactory.