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Prof. Dr. S. Decker
RWTH Aachen
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Developing a machine-actionable process model for ethical approval workflows

Thesis type
  • Master
Student Verena Schwaiger
Status Finished
Submitted in 2019
Proposal on 20. Nov 2018 10:30
Proposal room Seminarraum I5
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Ethical approval is an integral part to the Research Data Management life cycle. It is mandatory when any research involves sensitive data, such as data from human participants.  Currently there are efforts to develop machine actionable data management plans, which aims to evolve data management process from paper base administrative documents to accessible, reusable digital flow which will become a part of existing organizational workflows.  However there are not enough studies to analyze information flows in ethical processes and develop data models. Researchers from many disciplines have to gain ethics approval from involved institutions if their research subject fits certain criteria. There are currently no public databases for previously approved studies and corresponding documents, which poses a problem for secondary research and for readers interested in the ethical background of a study. The aim of the thesis is to add machine-actionability to the approval process. The thesis will analyze existing ethical approval processes, model in the information flow and develop a porotype to capture entities. As an outcome, making these entities (study description and relevant documents) searchable and permanently identifiable in accordance with the FAIR principles would add information and transparency for interested readers. Creating a tool to help users through the approval process by identifying which forms are relevant to their subject would improve the situation for research teams.

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