Lecturers Researchers Tilburg University

TLS Ethics Review Board

The TLS Ethics Review Board (ERB) is a committee established by the TLS board, and it assesses the ethical aspects of research proposals.

Why Ethics review

The ERB has been established in order to prevent harm to research subjects and to increase ethical awareness amongst TLS researchers. The existence of an ethics board also ensures compliance with the Netherlands Code of Conduct for Scientific Practice. Furthermore high ranked journals increasingly require ethical clearance before publication.

When to apply for ethical clearance

If you want to know if you should apply for ethical clearance and submit your application to the ERB, read this document. In short you need to apply if your research can cause harm.

At least there is a risk of harm when:

  • The research involves vulnerable groups such as children, patients, people subject to discrimination, minorities, people unable to give consent, people of dissenting opinion, immigrant or minority communities, sex workers, etc. Experts, for example judges or police officers, are not considered to be a vulnerable group unless disclosure of the data collected can put them in a vulnerable position.
  • The research involves sensitive data. Sensitive data are personal data revealing, among others, racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership, and the processing of genetic data, biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person, data concerning health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation.
  • The characteristics of the research design itself are endangering to participants, or when there is a risk that results will be abused by third parties. While these situations are less likely than those listed under A. and B., researchers should be aware of potential harm in these situations.

If you are unsure if your research should go to the ERB, please contact erb-tls@tilburguniversity.edu

How to apply for ethical clearance

G.E.D Started (available from 14 February 2022)

G.E.D. Started (GDPR, Ethics, and Data Management) is the online platform within Tilburg University for the ethics review, the data management plan, and the processing register (GDPR). As a researcher, you can submit an application here. By clicking the button below, you will automatically be redirected to the tool. Via the dashboard, you can see your previous and open applications or start a new application.

Apply through G.E.D. Started  Information about G.E.D. Started

Paper-based application

From 14 February 2022 the paper-based application will be replaced by G.E.D Started. The paper-based application form will be accepted till 14 March 2022.

In order to apply for ethical clearance, you need to fill out the integrated application form. Please send it to erb-tls@tilburguniversity.edu. More information about the GDPR and data management parts of this form can be found in the links below.
Students can apply via the student submission form

Student research

When does research fall under student research? Which steps have to be taken for student research?

In ethics reviews, we distinguish between “normal” and student research. Student research is research that is done for educational purposes. If a student does research with the intention to publish or if the collected data will be reused, we treat that research like any other scientific research. So one should always check first what the purpose of the research is. As to educational purposes, we mean research in the context of a thesis or for a course.

As soon as a research project is carried out for educational purposes only, this has consequences for the ethics review. Because the data of these studies should be deleted immediately after the student has obtained the diploma, a data management plan is not necessary. Furthermore, for the processing register (GDPR), we only ask which type of data will be collected. In addition, the student must declare that the data will be handled with care, which is also done in the form. This makes the application form considerably shorter

Student research using only anonymous secondary data does not need to be reviewed.

A student should always be supervised by a supervisor, regardless of the purpose of the research. The supervisor has the final responsibility. For the ethics application, students can fill out a form themselves, but they cannot submit it. The submission of the application must be done by the supervisor.

To give students more information about data management and the GDPR, a LibGuide and a handout have been created. Supervisors can distribute these to their students.