The Human Remains Committee (the committee) gives guidance and advice on research ethics / research integrity issues related to research on human remains (see our mandate). Everyone (students, researchers, institutions, those affected, etc.) can contact the committee for general guidance, or about a specific project. The committee is free to determine which cases or issues they choose to address. Inquiries can be directed to the committee’s head of the secretariat: Lene Os Johannessen, (+47) 41 92 88 51, firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also contact us via our switchboard: +47 23 31 83 00, or by e-mail: email@example.com.
About proceedings for research ethics assessment of a concrete project
If you are going to research or exhibit human remains, we recommend that you look into the procedures and start the process at an early stage in the project. The three most important steps are: Step 1: Clarify with the institution; Step 2: Request an advisory opinion from the human remains committee; Step 3: Apply for access to the material.
Step 1: Clarify with the institution
The institution that owns and/or manages the material you wish to research determines access to the material. If the material has been deposited at an institution other than the owner's institution, it is also necessary to contact the owner's institution to obtain permission. The institution decides whether there is a need to request an advisory opinion from the human remains committee. If the institution decides that this is necessary or if you yourself want our opinion, see Step 2.
Step 2: Request an advisory opinion from the human remains committee
Contact the committee and ask for an advisory opinion. Each institution decides whether a project is to be approved before an advisory opinion from the committee is available or whether such an opinion is to be part of the decision-making basis for the institution. The committee believes it is most appropriate if an advisory opinion precedes final approval from the institution. An early research ethics assessment of the project should ensure the project's integrity and contribute to making it sound and well-founded.
Meeting dates 2023
You can request an advisory opinion from the committee by submitting a completed form for requests (see below), a research ethics self-evaluation, a project description, and any material overviews, permits etc. where applicable. In the ethical self-evaluation, you must explain the research ethics questions in the project/case. See Guidelines for Ethical Research on Human Remains (he National Committee for Research Ethics on Human Remains, 2022).
Submission form for requests: Submission form for requests
Download the form, fill in and send with attachments to Lene Os Johannessen, (+47) 41 92 88 51, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feel free to get in touch for questions, clarifications or to let us know that a request is on its way.
Step 3: Apply for access to the material
An application for access to the material is sent to the relevant institution (see Step 1). Follow the procedure at the individual institution. See own guidance (Bokmål) / guidance (Nynorsk) if the inquiry concerns:
- Material not yet collected
- Sami skeletal material
- Research related to medicine and health
Advisory opinions from the committee
The committee bases its work on Guidelines for Ethical Research on Human Remains (The National Committee for Research Ethics on Human Remains, 2022), as well as other research ethical guidelines prepared by national bodies, Guidelines for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and the Humanities (NESH, 2021), Guidelines for Research Ethics in Science and Technology (NENT, 2016), Etiske retningslinjer for samisk helseforskning (Sami Parliament, 2019, in Norwegian only), and by international bodies, such as the Code of Ethics for Museums (ICOM, 2017). In addition, the committee takes into account provisions laid down in existing legislation, such as the Cultural Heritage Act, the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act, the Burial Act, and conventions to which Norway has acceded.
Statements from the committee are made public, so that they can also be a resource for others. The statements may be useful in discussions and ethical reflections about one's own research.
Deadline for submitting requests to the committee
The committee processes requests for advisory opinions in its quarterly meetings. The inquiry must be sent to the committee no later than three weeks before a committee meeting. When necessary and possible, a shorter deadline and processing outside of committee meetings may be possible. This depends on the case.
About the proceedings
The committee follows general administrative law rules for case management (cf. the Administration Act, chap. 1-3, as well as non-statutory administrative law). Because the committee only gives advice, its statements are not considered decisions under the Public Administration Act. Therefore, the Act's provisions on individual decisions do not apply. It is also not possible to appeal an advisory statement.
The committee is part of the administrative body NREC, and all members are subject to provisions on confidentiality (section 13 of the Public Administration Act)
Personal data is stored for as long as it is necessary to carry out the proceedings. For more information, see NREC's privacy statement.
Registration, storage and retention of case management material takes place in accordance with archive legislation.
The proceedings in the committee follow the Public Act, «offentleglova». Documentation submitted is therefore public.