Protection of Human Subjects of Research
Policy summary and frequently asked questions
By M. Squire, Chair (2006-2007)
Protection of Human Subjects Review Committee
in 2006 the Faculty Assembly of UMFK recommended to the VPAA the adoption of the
policies in this booklet. These policies have been in effect since 2006. Any research, data
collection, and data storage done under the auspices of UMFK must follow these policies.
This includes student research.
The Protection of Human Subject Research Policies are designed to protect the researcher
and the researched. The human subjects of research have the absolute rights to privacy
and confidentiality, and to intellectual property ownership. The subjects can agree to be
researched, can agree to allow reasonable invasion of privacy, and can agree to allow the
researcher educational and scholarly use of their intellectual property. However, to be
valid, all such agreements must be in writing.
All proposed research must be approved by the designated PHSR committee, or Division
Chair in the case of exempted proposals. [see definitions]
All proposed data storage, archiving, and dissemination of intellectual property involving
human subjects and done under the auspices of UMFK must be approved by the PHSR
committee, or Division Chair in the case of exempted research.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: what is the intent of this protocol?
A: the intent is to protect human subjects from invasion of privacy and violation of
confidentiality and to ensure ownership of rights to intellectual property.
Q: What sort of research is covered?
A: any research, whether done by faculty, staff, or student, which involves a human
subject, must be approved by the Committee for PHSR before the research begins. This
usually means submitting the proposal the semester before the proposed start date.
Q: what types of research gathering is covered?
A: any type that has a reasonable expectation of adding to general knowledge about the
human condition. Examples include interviews, surveys and questionnaires, and
participant-observations. Passive or non-interactive observation may be exempt if it in no
ways compromises the subject's privacy or confidentiality. For example, people-
watching in a public place would be exempt. Activity in class, with other students, as part
of in-class learning, is also exempt.
Q: what about children?
A: the parent or guardian of a legal minor (under age 18) must give permission in writing.
Q: what is production of knowledge?
A: production can take the form of essays, papers, presentations, posters, plays, or artistic
renderings, whether for public dissemination or for in-class assignment.
Q: what if I don't intend to publish professionally?
A: even the production of a research paper for an assignment in a course is a production
of knowledge, and therefore must be approved, if living subjects were used for data.
Q: who "owns" information collected on interviews?
A: Intellectual property includes family stories, songs, anecdotes and other oral data. It is
considered the same as material property. The laws on intellectual property have changed
over the last few decades. In the 1950's and before, intellectual properties such as folk
tales were generally the property of the folklore collector. However, since the 1970's,
intellectual property rights vest in the original owner or tale-teller, not in the researcher.
Thus, an interview subject must consent in writing to being interviewed and to having
hisher information used for research.
Q: What about old data?
A: "Old" intellectual property still belongs to the original owner. Research conducted
before the 1970's might not have been obtained with written consent of the researched.
However, such permission must be retroactively obtained for it to be now accepted into
professional archives, made available for research, or otherwise used for scholarly or