You are here: Home Research Projects European project on delimiting the research concept and research activities

European project on delimiting the research concept and research activities

Proposal acronym: EU-RECA


  • Abstract:
    This project will investigate a still unresolved question that cuts across all areas of research involving human beings: "When should an activity count as research?"
    The answer to this question is important because classifying an activity as research will sometimes mean that stricter ethical and legal regulations apply but in other circumstances mean that it becomes exempt from certain rules and regulations. It is therefore crucial that we are able to define criteria for classifying an activity as research.
    The question about the definition of research has so far mainly been discussed within biomedicine, but it occurs in a large number of research areas. It will become increasingly important as research ethics regulations are expanded to cover areas other than biomedicine, and data protection legislation is enacted and enforced.
    In this project we will therefore analyse case-studies from five areas: biomedicine, IT, social sciences, databases and biobanks in order to achieve the following scientific objectives:
    - 1. An exhaustive philosophical analysis of the research concept
    - 2. An exhaustive legal analysis of the use of the research concept in European and national legislation and regulation
    - 3. An exhaustive analysis of the philosophical and legal problems in defining an activity as "research" according to a) its aims, b) the intentions of those who plan and conduct it, c) the products flowing from it, d) the intended use of its results, e) the context in which it is performed, or the institutions or persons performing it, f) its impact on the persons participating, g) the views of the persons participating.
    - 4. An account of the specific problems in applying a research / non-research distinction in the area of databases and biobanks.
    - 5. An account of which criteria are most suitable as the basis for the research / non-research distinction in the regulation of different scientific areas.

  • Partner:
    Professor Søren Holm
    University of Manchester (Coordinator)

    Professor Carlos Romeo Casabona
    University de Deusto

    Dr. Mette Hartlev
    University of Copenhagen

    Dr. Emma Cave
    University of Leeds

    Professor Inez de Beaufort
    Erasmus University of Rotterdam

    Dr. Eugenijus Gefenas
    University of Vilnius

    Dr. Marc Guerrier
    Espace Éthique, Paris

    Professor Peter Øhrstrøm
    University of Aalborg

    Professor Ludger Honnefelder
    Institute of Science and Ethics, Bonn


  • Funding:

    European Commission, 6th Framework Programme on Research, Technological Development and Demonstration


  • Funding Period:
    April 2004 - March 2007


  • Publications:
    Heinrichs, B.: Delimiting the concept of research: An ethical perspective. In: Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 28, 3 (2007), 157-179 (mit Bortolotti, L.).

    Hartlev, M.: How to Delimit Science in Case of Scientific Dishonesty. In: Jahrbuch für Wissenschaft und Ethik 12 (2007), 5-20.

    Heinrichs, B.: A Comparative Analysis of Selected European Guidelines and Recommendations for Biobanks with Special Regard to the Research/Non-Research Distinction. In: Law and the Human Genome Review 27 (2007), 205-224.
Document Actions