UniPID, in collaboration with TENK and an international steering group, has published the Ethical Guidelines for Responsible Academic Partnerships with the Global South.
Since 2021, the Finnish University Partnership for International Development (UniPID), the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity (TENK), and an international steering group1 have been developing Ethical Guidelines for Responsible Academic Partnerships with the Global South. Now, it is time to share it with you!
Academic partnerships have been increasingly popular in Finland and globally. They have the potential to address global challenges collaboratively but also, unfortunately, exacerbate global inequalities. Issues such as language, distribution of resources and power, and knowledge and whose voice counts are evident and replicated in academic partnerships. A call for counterbalancing global inequalities by acknowledging differing contexts and ways of working, actively promoting ethics of care, manifesting integrity, and ultimately shifting to dialogic encounters can provide the backbone for materializing respect, trust, transparency, and honesty in global academic partnerships.
Why is it important to consider research integrity and responsible academic partnerships?
Research integrity is about good research practice. If academic partnerships involve research and its practice, then research integrity and responsible academic partnerships must be closely connected. Research integrity is not only about safeguarding research integrity but also about those involved in research, whether individually or institutionally, and how the systems and incentives for academic partnerships promote good practice. Expanding the traditional understanding of research integrity means is essential to ensure academic partnerships' high quality, reliability, and ethical conduct.
Ethical Guidelines for Responsible Academic Partnerships
The guidelines are divided into five main sections. It includes key concepts that frame the ethical considerations, followed by recommendations and references for their implementation. The document concludes with a compilation of existing guidelines and toolkits that have served as benchmarks and can further support equitable and responsible practices for engaging with the Global South in an academic environment. The aim is to encourage critical thinking and self-reflection within academic partnerships. The document also invites the Finnish higher education community and stakeholders, in general, to familiarize themselves with these guidelines and actively contribute to promoting inclusive and equitable academic partnerships.
In this work, UniPID also shares more information on other initiatives worldwide, that are further addressed similar practices and principles for responsible and equitable partnerships with the Global South.
This document complements the Finnish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity and Procedures for Handling Alleged Violations of Research Integrity in Finland (2023), precisely point 3.2 ‘Good research practices’. The guidelines also seek to expand the ethical principles of research with human participants and ethical review in the human sciences in Finland by acknowledging that these principles should be equally applied to engaging responsibly with our peers in the Global South.
Read the complete document of the Ethical Guidelines for Responsible Academic Partnership here.
Note: The recommendations outlined in the document are not intended to be exhaustive or rigid instructions. Instead, they should be seen as an opportunity to tailor them to meet the specific requirements, realities, and environments for each context where an academic partnership is taking place.
What is next? Even though a significant milestone has been reached, it is not the last. UniPID and TENK invite the higher education community and stakeholders to turn these practices into action. Let’s work together towards more responsible, equitable, and inclusive global engagements.
1. Universities Finland – UniFI, Ethical Review Board in the Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences - University of Helsinki, Research Council of Finland, Finnish National Agency for Education - EDUFI, Finnish Society for Development Research, Council of Finnish Academies, Asia Pacific Research Integrity Network – APRIN, Southern African Nordic Centre – Sanord; Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales – CLACSO; and African Research Integrity Network – ARIN. Universities Finland – UniFI, Ethical Review Board in the Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences - University of Helsinki, Research Council of Finland, Finnish National Agency for Education - EDUFI, Finnish Society for Development Research, Council of Finnish Academies, Asia Pacific Research Integrity Network – APRIN, Southern African Nordic Centre – Sanord; Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales – CLACSO; and African Research Integrity Network – ARIN.
Photo credits: Claudio Schwarz, 2019 on UnSplash; Eetu Haverinen, Kuohu & Kaisla