Guiding principles


International statements on research integrity, documents that serve research integrity and universal guiding principles.


 ​​​​​​Singapore Statement on Research Integrity

The principles and responsibilities set out in this statement are designed to act as a global guide to the responsible conduct of research.

The Cape Town Statement on Fostering Research Integrity through Fairness and Equity

Unfair and inequitable research practices remain prevalent at all stages of research from proposal development to funding application, data collection, analysis, sharing and access, reporting and translation. These practices can impact the integrity of research in many ways. In response to these challenges the Cape Town Statement of goals, values and recommendations aims to contribute to the growing global recognition that fairness and equity are essential requirements of integrity in all research contexts.

The TRUST Code: A Global Code of Conduct for Equitable Research Partnerships

Senate welcomes the TRUST Code: A Global Code of Conduct for Equitable Research Partnerships. This is an important and necessary statement of principles and procedures with regard to research ethics to be followed when researchers from the global North engage in research in Africa and other ‘resource poor settings’. The Global Code complements the policies already adopted by Senate to ensure that UCT researchers maintain the highest ethical standards. Senate supports the adoption of the TRUST Code subject to recognizing that UCT researchers remain subject, first and foremost, to UCT’s own research ethics policies.

South African Statement on Ethical Research and Scholarly Publication Practices

In support of ensuring quality research of high integrity in South Africa and globally, the NRF and USAF have released a statement to reiterate to the South African research community the fundamental principles of scholarly research and publishing and appeal to this community to act demonstrably in advancing research integrity.

Montreal Statement on Research Integrity in Cross-Boundary Research Collaborations

International and inter-disciplinary research collaborations present special challenges for the responsible conduct of research. It is vital, therefore, that researchers be aware of and able to address integrity-related issues that may arise.

Helsinki Declaration

A set of ethical principles regarding human experimentation developed for the medical community by World Medical Association.

Belmont Report

This report summarises ethical principles and guidelines for research involving human subjects.

Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights

While bioethics today includes medical ethics issues, it goes much further than the various professional codes of ethics concerned. It entails reflection on social changes and even on global balances brought by by scientific and technological developments.




South African governance of research


Some guiding documents, legislation and resources for researchers for understanding research ethics in the South African context.


Constitution of the Republic of South Africa

The Constitution is the supreme law of the country. It provides the legal framework within South Africa. Chapter 2, Sections 10 (Human Dignity), 12 (Freedom and Security of the Person) and 14 (Privacy) are of particular relevance to research integrity.

National Health Act, 2003 (Act No. 61 of 2003), South Africa

This Act, which rests heavily on the Constitution, provides a framework for a structured uniform health system with a strong focus on human rights.

Health Research in South Africa

This guidance is intended to help UCT researchers outside of the Faculty of Health Sciences who plan to conduct health research - as defined broadly in the South African law - and who must seek and obtain prior approval of a registered ethics committee such as the Health Research Ethics Committee (HREC) at UCT.

Animal Diseases Act, 1984 (Act 35 of 1984)

This Act provides for the control of animal diseases and parasites and, measures promoting animal health. Section 20 of this Act specifically refers to the use of animals and animal-based products in research. The authority which oversees the implementation of this Act is the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).




Additional information and sources of training


Useful books and documents, both South African and global, to help researchers navigate issues of research integrity.


National Institutes of Health (NIH) financial conflict of interest tutorial

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Extramural Research has launched a free online tutorial for training on financial conflicts of interest. The tutorial provides documentation in the form of a certificate, which is very important for regulatory compliance.

Frequently asked questions: reportable financial interests on conflicts of interest at UCT

Guidelines for completing forms: HR130/HR131.

The NC3Rs ARRIVE Guidelines

The UK National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs)' ARRIVE (Animal Research: Reporting of In Vivo Experiments) guidelines are intended to improve the reporting of research using animals - maximising information published and minimising unnecessary studies. The ARRIVE guidelines, originally published in PLOS Biology, were developed in consultation with the scientific community as part of an NC3Rs initiative to improve the standard of reporting of research using animals. Details of the guidelines can be found here.

Ethical Quandaries in Social Research (eds Deborah Posel & Fiona Ross, HSRC Press, 2015)

The book opens up a space of frank discussion about the often unsettling, messy realities of ethical decision-making in the thick of social research. All the contributors write in the first person about personal experiences of research. They expose tensions within professional codes of ethics, as well as a range of dilemmas that arose when personal ethical convictions jostled with disciplinary and institutional ethical imperatives. The book is unique in spanning a range of research scenarios, qualitative and quantitative, across different disciplines, fields of study and institutional settings.

Research Ethics in Africa (eds: Mariana Kruger, Paul Ndebele & Lyn Horn, SUN Press 2014)

A useful resource for research ethics committees in Africa, who need to ensure human research participants with limited access to health care choices and from poor socio-economic backgrounds are adequately respected and protected during the research process.

Office for Human Research Protections, US Department of Health and Human Services

This website provides regulations, policies, and guidance for research involving human subjects. It includes specific guidance on informed consent, vulnerable populations, protocol review, biological materials and data, as well as educational resources, checklists, webinars and forums.

Office of Research Integrity, US Department of Health and Human Services

This website provides statutes, regulations, and policies applicable to US federally funded research; guidance in the topical areas of human subject research, publication/authorship, research misconduct, animal resources, mentorship, data management, collaborative science, conflicts of interest and commitment, peer review; and tutorials, webinars and online education modules.

Protecting human research participants: NIH Office of Extramural Research

This website offers a free tutorial in human subjects protection and the ethics of working with human research participants, including a certificate of completion that verifies a user's training on the topic.

Public Responsibility in Medicine & Research (PRIM&R)

PRIM&R is global resource on research ethics, promoting dialogue and debate to inform public policy and to enhance the application of ethical practices in the conduct of biomedical, social science, behavioral and educational research. PRIM&R offers conferences, webinars, 'Knowledge Center' resources, case studies, tools and comprehensive publications to support the responsible conduct of research.




For more information on research integrity contact the Office of Research Integrity