Ethical and privacy compliance

Ethical and privacy compliance

As a PhD candidate you are likely to conduct empirical research, and often this entails collecting and analysing data about people, i.e. personal data. The EGSH takes its legal and ethical responsibilities very seriously and has therefore lined up a number of links and instruments that will help you assess how you need to work with your data.

  • Here you can find an overview of regulations and recommendations with regard to research quality and integrity.
  • You can find the General Data Protection Regulation here.
    Pay special attention to article 89 about Safeguards and derogations relating to processing for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes.
  • The VSNU Code of Conduct for personal data is available here (Dutch only).
  • The Erasmus Data Classification will help you to find out how sensitive your data are.

Obligatory Ethics review for Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB)

Ethical research review is a very useful way to improve the quality of your research, and this type of review is becoming increasingly important in order to meet the requirements of research integrity codes, legal regulations and policies from funders and publishers. As of 1 January 2021 ethical research review has become mandatory for all research activities at ESSB that involve one or more of the following aspects:

  • Human beings;
  • Potential misuse of research results;
  • (Special categories of) personal data;
  • Potential conflict of interest;
  • Non-EU countries;
  • External stakeholders, among which funding organizations;
  • Environment, health & safety issues, including potential harm to researchers.

Ethical research review involves the assessment of all aspects of your planned research (e.g., research design, participants, instruments and materials, informed consent, briefing and debriefing, etc.) and must take place before the start of your research project. The new regulations apply to all new research projects that start from 1 January 2021 onwards. During the ethical review process, it might be necessary to clarify or revise your application before it can be approved. Therefore, you are required to submit your application at least two months before the planned start of your research activities. If you expect being delayed in this transition phase, please contact Tijs Gelens ( or, the secretary of the Ethics Review Committees. He will provide guidance. Applications for research activities that have already taken place will not be accepted for ethical research review.

Please keep in mind that not only new data collection, but also the reuse of existing data may require ethical research review (e.g., when you study a new research question based on an existing dataset). When in doubt, please get in touch with Tijs Gelens ( or, the secretary of the Ethics Review Committees. The new regulations apply specifically to research conducted by ESSB researchers, including all PhD students regardless of their contract type, and visiting researchers, part-time researchers or external professionals insofar as they participate in research by or at the faculty or disclose their research in its name. Ethical review of research conducted by students is not mandatory (yet).

Detailed information about the EUR-wide policy and the ethical research procedures can be found in this document.

Further information about ethical research review at ESSB, can be found here.

In addition to the ethical research review, we would like to draw your attention to the other support that is on offer within ESSB to help you conduct good research:

  • Eduard Klapwijk:, data management support (e.g., setting up a data management plan, data management advice)
  • Bo Schijven:, privacy officer (e.g., questions about GDPR compliancy, processor agreements)
  • Renée Hanegraaf:, senior legal counsel (e.g., legal checks of agreements, legal advice about research)

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