The SO-CLOSE project will carry out tests within all the relevant national, EU and international ethics-related rules and professional codes of conduct. The partners have considerable experience in ethical issues deriving from the research using eye-tracking, focus groups, on elderly people and people with disabilities. The coordinating institution, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), has an Ethical Commission on Human and Animal Research to supervise the experimentation on human and animal beings in compliance with the European directives 86/609/CEE, 91/628/CEE and 92/65/CEE, and will seek its advice any time the consortium considers it appropriate.
Concerning test design, SO-CLOSE partners will be able to capitalise on the experience gained under the previous projects, where some users proved uncomfortable when taking part in specific tests aimed to demonstrate their reading comprehension. Each experiment performed by UAB was subject to prior authorisation by the UAB Ethical Commission and the consortium will maintain this approach lead by UAB within WP6 and WP7. In case of ULUND, VDA, MONTE, MUME, CERTH, ENG, TEMP and GFR the following ethical guidelines were derived from their work in previous projects. They will be applied in all SO-CLOSE tests and validations performed by ULUND, VDA, MONTE, MUME, CERTH, ENG, TEMP and GFR and brought into the project for all tests by UAB:
- The research must be planned, implemented and evaluated in a free and independent way.
- The first condition is a respectful contact on an equal footing with all users. Especially people who are les competence must have increased attention by the test leaders.
- The tester must be informed honestly and exporting and only then give their consent. The communication must be adapted to the needs of users. Questionnaires and organizational communication will be coordinated with disability organizations
- The tests must be anonymous and privacy must be ensured.
- The ethical risks are assessed with disability organizations in advance. Here is the dignity of the users the most important aspect. The completely test procedure is planned in close consultation with disability organizations
- The tests must be of as much as possible while limiting the possible expense for the testers.
- It must be emphasized, that not the user will be tested but the application, what means the users are the experts. A pleasant atmosphere for the user needs to be created, so that the test results as free and objective as possible. To put the users under pressure regardless of the type (time, understanding, sympathy) would distort the test results.
SO-CLOSE will describe the procedure and the arrangements for protecting the confidentiality of personal data of the individuals concerned. If the beneficiaries wish to retain the data for further research, they will have to ensure that the consent form mentions it and that the measures taken to encode or anonymise banked data are explained. In case only anonymised data will be retained, researchers will ensure adequate security for storage and handling of such data. SO-CLOSE will generate personal data under the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR) as of data from workshops within WP1, WP2 and WP4. All consortium members participating in this task will identify a Data Protection Officer implementing a common Data Protection Plan that complies with European Regulation 2016/679.