Top 5 Ethical Considerations in Research

by Elizabeth Oommen George
Top 5 ethical considerations in research

While research is based on the pillars of innovation, trust, and transparency, it also requires scientists and academics to abide by certain ethical considerations in research. The world is increasingly dependent on the scientific community to come up with solutions to global problems. When inaccurate or plagiarised results are published, only to be retracted later, it leads not only to wasted time and resources, but also threatens the precious trust that people have in the scientific process and scholarly publishing. Therefore, it is important for researchers to understand and abide by these ethical considerations in research not only when conducting experiments but also when publishing the results.

The National Research Council of the National Academies defines ethics and integrity in research as a series of good practices, which include among other aspects, intellectual honesty in performing and reporting research, fairness in peer reviews, transparency in communication, collegiality in scientific interactions, and protection and care of human and animal subjects during research.1 To put it simply, ethical considerations in research refers to a code of conduct that must be followed when planning, conducting, and reporting research.

Despite these ethical considerations in research, many researchers are left grappling with ethical dilemmas and many face journal rejection, retractions, loss of employment, and other penalties because they lack or did not completely adhere to the mandated guidelines. To make it simpler for you, we’ve put together key ethical considerations in research every author should know about.

Table of Contents

Plagiarism and duplication of others’ work

Avoiding plagiarism is one of the basic ethical considerations in research. Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work as your own without acknowledging them, which is unacceptable in scientific research. This unauthorised use is akin to stealing ideas, thoughts, or words and using them for your benefit.

However, all research is built on previously published work and many researchers end up relying too much on the work of others. Violations of this ethical consideration in research may happen due to a lack of experience or skill, forgetting to correctly cite a source or not understanding what constitutes plagiarism. Regardless of the reason, plagiarism is considered a serious ethical violation making it imperative for researchers to understand this key ethical consideration in research and take care to avoid unintentional or self-plagiarism in their work. You can do this by acknowledging people who have contributed to your research, properly citing all sources used in the research paper, and avoiding a direct copy-paste of text from other sources.

Steer clear of accidental or self-plagiarism with Paperpal’s plagiarism checker. Try it now!

Fabrication and falsification of data or results

Conducting and reporting research methods, data, and results honestly is at the very top of the list of ethical considerations in research. Fabrication is making up data or results, while falsification is manipulating or altering data or results, both of which are seen as major ethical violations. As a researcher, you need to steer clear of the temptation to make up data, exaggerate findings, and mislead readers with vague or contradictory explanations.

It is always better to be honest and state all aspects of your research and its results accurately instead of over-exaggerating findings and being found out. If found guilty of violating this ethical consideration in research, you risk being heavily penalized, being suspended or expelled, face rejection, or be forced to retract your paper, all of which will impact your credibility as a researcher. Take time to review your work carefully so that you can identify and eliminate even inadvertent errors in data presentation. It may be a good idea to keep a full record of your research, so that you can go back to check on certain sections if so required.

Conflicts of interest and potential for bias

Conflicts of interest occur when competing financial obligations, personal values and stands, or professional interests compromise a researcher’s ability to be objective. While conflicts of interest are not a major ethical consideration in research and scholarly publishing, not recognizing or declaring them is seen as unethical. It is critical for researchers to identify and disclose any and all potential conflicts of interest when submitting their manuscript for publication.

Ethical considerations in research require researchers to keep aside personal biases and conduct research in an objective manner without letting your own views or cultural perspectives seep into the research study. Stay vigilant and avoid any kind of discrimination and focus instead on the scientific competence and integrity of people involved in research. It may help to discuss your study with peers or have your supervisor review your research plan and data to see if they can identify any possible bias.

Check your paper’s submission readiness with Paperpal for Manuscript. Try it now!

Before you start any study involving people or animals, make sure you meet the ethical considerations in research methodology along with the requisite approvals from respective review boards. It is important to respect the rights of the subjects with regards to informed consent, privacy, and confidentiality. Create detailed and well-designed research plans, taking help from your mentor or supervisor if needed, that reduce harm to the subjects and maximize benefits both for the participants and those conducting the research. Similarly, researchers working with animals must get the necessary permissions and make sure they are properly cared for.

Duplicate submissions and salami slicing

One of the key ethical considerations in research is ensuring the manuscripts you submit to journals are original and have not been published before or submitted elsewhere. Researchers who intentionally submit a paper to multiple journals are seen as breaching the basic standards and ethical considerations in research. In fact, authors are required to disclose details of related or similar papers at the time manuscript submission. This holds true even of the paper is in another language or has been published only in a particular region.

Similarly, researchers must avoid “slicing” their manuscript into segments for publication in different journals to boost their publication output as it is considered unethical. As a rule, if the “slices” of study share the same aim, methodology, and study group it must be submitted as a single manuscript and should never be broken down or published separately.

Understanding and following these ethical considerations in research goes a long way in ensuring that your work earns the trust and support of your peers, supervisors, and the wider community. However, this is far easier said than done. Fortunately, today there are trusted AI writing tools like Paperpal that can make your journey a smoother one.  

Make your manuscript submission ready with Paperpal

Manuscript submission is one of the most important steps in the publication journey, and you need to make sure you’ve covered all the set ethical guidelines. Here, it’s not unrealistic to be tired or even frustrated with the many small but essential checks required when preparing your research manuscript for journal submission. This is where Paperpal comes in, with a full suite of language and technical checks to help move your manuscript closer to journal acceptance.  

Paperpal is a comprehensive AI academic writing tool that is tailored to support students and researchers worldwide achieve high-quality content in half the time. Based on over 21 years of STM expertise and trained on millions of language corrections by leading academic editors across subject areas, Paperpal can quickly grasp academic context and provide accurate suggestions to improve your writing quality.  

The Paperpal Prime subscription is the most effective AI solution for academics, offering unlimited language checks, paraphrasing support, consistency checks, as well as a trusted online plagiarism checker and a suite of 30+ checks to ensure your manuscript is submission ready. Supercharge your writing and effortlessly deliver high-quality writing that has the best change of publication success. 

Go from the first draft to submission readiness in half the time. Try Paperpal now!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why are ethical considerations important in research?

Ethical considerations in research are important to ensure the protection of participants’ rights, well-being, and dignity. Ethical guidelines help researchers maintain integrity, promote fairness, and minimize harm. By following ethical principles, such as obtaining informed consent, ensuring participant confidentiality, and conducting research with integrity, researchers uphold the ethical standards necessary for trustworthy and responsible research. Ethical considerations also contribute to the credibility and reliability of research outcomes and help build public trust in the scientific community.

As part of ethical consideration in research, how can researchers protect participant confidentiality?

Researchers can protect participant confidentiality by implementing various measures. These include obtaining informed consent regarding data confidentiality, using anonymization techniques to remove personal identifiers, securely storing and transmitting data, and restricting access to sensitive information. Researchers must adhere to legal and ethical obligations to safeguard participants’ privacy and confidentiality. Additionally, when reporting research findings, researchers should use aggregated data or pseudonyms to further protect participant identities. By prioritizing participant confidentiality, researchers demonstrate respect for individuals’ privacy rights and foster trust in the research process.

As part of ethical consideration in research, how do researchers obtain informed consent?

Researchers obtain informed consent by providing participants with clear and comprehensive information about the research study. This includes explaining the purpose, procedures, potential risks, benefits, and any alternatives available. Participants must have the opportunity to ask questions and fully understand the implications of their participation before providing voluntary and informed consent. Researchers should document the consent process through written consent forms or other appropriate means, ensuring that participants have freely given their consent and have the option to withdraw at any time without repercussions.


  1. Integrity in Scientific Research: Creating an Environment That Promotes Responsible Conduct, Institute of Medicine National Research Council of the National Academics, 2002.

Paperpal is a comprehensive AI writing toolkit that helps students and researchers achieve 2x the writing in half the time. It leverages 21+ years of STM experience and insights from millions of research articles to provide in-depth academic writing, language editing, and submission readiness support to help you write better, faster. 

Get accurate academic translations, rewriting support, grammar checks, vocabulary suggestions, and generative AI assistance that delivers human precision at machine speed. Try for free or upgrade to Paperpal Prime starting at US$19 a month to access premium features, including consistency, plagiarism, and 30+ submission readiness checks to help you succeed. 

Experience the future of academic writing – Sign up to Paperpal and start writing for free! 

You may also like

Your Paperpal Footer