This code expresses the ethical values of all staff engaged in academic and/or research activities at the Workers’ College, who have committed themselves to:
The purpose of this code is to communicate and guide staff, students, contractors, sponsors and clients of the Workers’ College engaged in or supporting academic and research activities as to;
The research ethics committee is the custodian of this code and shall develop further policy, play an advisory and oversite role and function as a decision making body in the case of ethical complaints or appeals against decisions of line function heads on ethical grounds about research proposals. The board shall act as the final arbiter of high level appeals.
All academics need to take into account other codes of ethics that might be relevant to their work, i.e. international codes of ethics negotiated by regional or global organisations and codes of ethics accepted by national and international academic organisations.
This code of ethics finds its basis in the Constitution of South Africa enshrining the core value of democracy as interpreted in the Bill of rights.
All students, staff and contractors engaged in research and academic practice must be familiar with the fundamental human rights contained in the bill of rights.
These fundamental human rights inform the core academic values of the Workers’ College which include the pursuit of working class emancipation through truth and free enquiry and expression in open and constructive dialogue. There is an academic commitment to quality and the just and fair treatment of all people and the environment.
Different parties and stakeholders in the research and academic relationship shall have rights and responsibilities.
It shall be the responsibility of the Workers’ College to provide a nurturing and enabling environment for academic and research excellence that is aimed at the transfer of knowledge to learners, participants and society at large.
It shall be the responsibility of staff to identify the learning opportunities in academic and research practice by;
It shall be the responsibility of management and the ethics committee
Researchers aspire to the highest degree of integrity in their research through;
All student research shall be proposed in a prescribed format and reviewed by the appropriate staff member before further work on a research process can take place
Externally commissioned research shall be developed to proposal level and presented to the research ethics committee for approval before contractual undertakings are made between the Workers’ College and a external party in this regard.
Students and staff must as part of the proposal submit in writing as part of any research proposal a consideration of any potential ethical considerations and an acknowledgement and plan to uphold this code in that regard.
Research Participants to be respected and protected
All researchers must be aware or made aware of these primary obligations and shall at all times;
Respect research participants rights to freedom, choice dignity, privacy, and freedom from any potential physical, psychological, social or economic harm.
Research design and testing must expressly consider any potential threats to these rights and either be subject to redesign to eliminate such potential threats or document steps to control external elements in so far as this will adequately manage such threats.
It is the duty of staff to oversee such elements and where necessary seek advice from the research ethics committee in doing so.
Respect that all research participants are in the first instance considered anonymous and data sets when shared with other parties continue to respect this right. This consideration may only be waived with the express and informed consent of a research participant.
Researchers may use people as participants of research only if they have given their proven free prior and informed consent for their participation in the research
Researchers should respect and exercise due diligence in care for the environment.
Sponsor’s support the college research agenda and either partially or fully fund a research project or area. Clients commission a piece of research and therebye determine the topic of investigation.
Client commissioned research should be developed into a mutually agreeable framework through methods such as a reference group. A client should not be enabled to undermine the integrity of a research piece or require any action that would violate this code of conduct.
Sponsors and the Workers’ College may engage in discussions on methodology and data processing but the sponsorship can not undermine the integrity of the research process or influence the findings in any way. There shall be no requirement for violating any element of this code either explicitly or implicitly in a sponsorship agreement.
Any sponsorship or client commissioned research must be approved by the research ethics committee and a written agreement entered into between the parties.
The methods, contents and results of research that has been funded (fully or partially) by external funders, must be fully disclosed. Full particulars of the person or institution from outside the Workers’ College who funded the research must be provided in the published results of the research.
Secret research (results will not be published) is generally discouraged and can only be accepted where there is a compelling developmental or human rights advantage to the research or there is an obvious and non-harmful confidentiality requirement or a commissioned piece is for internal organisational purposes and not in the public interest, for the research being conducted. The Research Ethics Committee must expressly approve such a research project stating in full the reasons for such approval. The research area and client must however be publicly disclosed through the normal reporting and communication channels.
Researchers are to be honest with sponsors and clients of their research about their qualifications and their research expertise and skills. Researchers must ensure that sponsors require nothing of their research that is contrary with internationally acknowledged standards for ethical research. Researchers will only utilise a sponsor’s or client’s funds for purposes explicitly approved by the sponsor or client.