Skip to main content

Who are we and what do we do?

The Norwegian National Research Ethics Committees shall ensure that all research is conducted in accordance with recognized research ethical norms. We do preventive work, counseling, publish general and specific decisions and investigate individual cases concerning possible misconduct.

The Norwegian National Research Ethics Committees are independent agencies for questions regarding research ethics, and investigation of misconduct, within all subject areas. The committees' shared secretariat is based in Oslo.

Committees and commissions

We consist of: 

The National Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics (NEM)
The National Committee for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and the Humanities (NESH)
The National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology (NENT)
The National Commission for the Investigation of Research Misconduct

NESH has the following subcommittee:

The National Committee for Research Ethics on Human Remains

In addition, there are seven independant regional committees for medical and health research ethics (REK), which give advance approval for research applications in these fields. NEM is the appeal body for REK.

Secretariat

All committees and commissions have a joint secretariat, based in Oslo.

Each committee has its own director with special expertise within the committee's field.

The secretariat also has expertise in administration, law and communication. It publishes the magazine Forskningsetikk (Research Ethics) and has editorial responsibility for this website, including the Research Ethics Library (FBIB) - a research ethics subject resource with articles, discussion examples and more.

The website also contains research ethics guidelines, guides and other publications.

Coordinating function after the terrorist attacks 2011

The Norwegian Research Ethics Committees was also given the task of coordinating research on the terrorist attacks July 22, 2011 where those directly affected participated. The primary objective was to safeguard the interests of those affected by the attacks in the research. This task was taken over by the Norwegian Directorate of Health in 2015 and ended in 2016.

Seeking advice

All our committees and commissions are advisory and anyone can seek advice.  

When our committees are consulted in a specific case they will ask you to specify which research ethical aspects / challenges of the project you want them to consider first and foremost. If what one primarily wants is a general assessment, this should also be specified.

For research ethical issues in medicine and health sciences, contact NEM, NEM is also the complaints body for REK, which pre-approves medical and health sciences research projects.

For research ethical questions in the fields of science and technology, industrial, agricultural and fisheries research, as well as those parts of bio- and genetic engineering research that are not covered by medicine, contact NENT.

For research ethical issues in the social sciences and the humanities, including law and theology, contact NESH.

If you have any questions regarding suspected scientific fraud, please contact the The National Commission for the Investigation of Research Misconduct. This commission is a supplement to local committees and an appeal body. The main responsibility lies with the research institutions.

When in doubt about the right addressee, contact post@etikkom.no.

How the committees/commission work

The research ethics committees are broadly composed to reflect a diversity of views and values ​​in society. They consist not only of researchers from different disciplines and institutions, but also of lay people's representatives. The members are appointed by virtue of their expertise, and represent none other than themselves.

In the committee work, national research ethics guidelines are a basic tool. The guidelines define the committees' scope and are explicitly used in justifying the assessments made. NEM and REK's work is based on the Helsinki Declaration, in addition to the Health Research Act. NEM has also developed area-specific guidelines and guides. NESH and NENT have developed subject-specific research ethics guidelines and additional area-specific guidelines and guides.

The Norwegian National Research Ethics Committees is a governmental administrative body and has an obligation to comply with the Administration Act. This applies primarily to the handling of individual cases leading to administrative decisions. Even in counseling or statements in individual cases, general administrative law rules for case processing must be followed, among other things, a case must be well-informed and prepared, and parties must be given the opportunity to comment in the cases where they are entitled to.