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Data & Digital Science Research Ethics Committee

The terms of reference for the Data & Digital Science Research Ethics Committee, including its functions and procedural rules.

Terms Of Reference

Committee objectives

The purpose of the Data & Digital Science Research Ethics Committee (D&D REC) is to receive, consider and provide an ethics opinion on proposals for ethical approval for research being undertaken by staff and students.

The committee aims to provide a facilitative approach to supporting research conducted in and with the University of Bath.

Committee remit

The committee will consider the research ethics implications projects involving the use of social media as data and where large amounts of data are being handled. In addition, the committee will consider projects involving artificial intelligence, machine learning and associated themes.

Responsible for contributing to the development of guidance and resources for managing digital risks and addressing ethical concerns for the University as well shaping standards for data collection, sharing and use of norms and practices more broadly.

The Committee is responsible for assuring that the research proposals it supports have set out processes for:

  • maintaining ethical standards of practice in research
  • protecting human participants
  • protecting researchers from potential harm
  • the preservation of research participants’ dignity, rights, and welfare
  • taking account of legitimate interests of other individuals, bodies, and communities associated with the research and providing reassurance to the public and to outside bodies that their legitimate interests have been protected
  • operating free from conflicts of interest so that the application of ethics principles and reasoning is neither impeded nor compromised
  • being supportive, developmental, and dedicated to the promotion of ethical standards in research
  • safeguarding the integrity of research.

Committee duties

The duties of the committee include:

  • the consideration of the ethical implications of research projects on behalf of the Academic Ethics and Integrity Committee, and to provide an ethics opinion on the research
  • receiving details of research proposed to be carried out, whether by staff or students, where the research might reasonably be considered to have a high potential to do harm
  • following a favourable opinion, to exercise powers to require the halting of research if substantive ethical problems are identified as the project progresses until such time as any such concerns have been remedied to the satisfaction of the committee
  • withdrawing a favourable opinion when concerns such as those identified above are not remedied to the satisfaction of the committee
  • re-considering research which may have altered since a favourable opinion was provided
  • advising University bodies, staff, and students, as appropriate, on all matters pertaining to the ethics of research in the remitted area of the committee
  • recommending policies and procedures for the ethical conduct of research to the Academic Ethics and Integrity Committee
  • raising awareness of research integrity and ethics amongst staff and students across the University.

Reporting lines and responsibilities of the Committee

This committee reports to the Academic Ethics and Integrity Committee.

Procedural Rules

Membership and Appointment of Chair

Appointment of the Chair and Committee members is for three years via an open call led by the Chair of AEIC.

The membership of the REC should:

  • include a senior member of academic staff with experience in research and/or research ethics formally appointed as Chair
  • include at least one ‘lay member’ who can either be a member of Professional Services, or external to the University
  • be multidisciplinary and represent diversity, both in general terms and that of the local community
  • have members with a broad experience of and expertise in the areas of research
  • have members who represent a broad range of methodological expertise


The committee may co-opt additional members to provide areas of specific expertise not offered by the sub-Committee’s membership.


In the absence of the Chair, an alternate can be nominated by the Chair for a particular meeting.


There shall be a quorum at meetings of the Chair (or their appointed alternate) plus one-third of the membership of the Committee.


Minutes are submitted to Academic Ethics and Integrity Committee.


Adapted from: Research Ethics Support and Review in Research Organisations

Queries on the University's institutional ethics processes can be sent to Governance Office. Queries on the University’s research ethics processes can be sent to

Version information

Owner Academic Ethics and Integrity Committee
Version 1
Approval date 07 February 2023
Date of last review 07 February 2023


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