Researchers of studies making use of human participants are advised to familiarise themselves with these documents prior to the completion and submission of an application form. Failure to do so might result in a delay in the review and approval of the application.

  • REC-H Terms of Reference: This document defines the purpose, structure, scope and limitations of REC-H.
  • REC-H Standard Operating Procedures: This document serves as a guide for all stakeholders (researchers and reviewers, amongst others) to achieve efficiency, quality output and uniformity of performance in the carrying out of their tasks in the context of research with human participants.
  • Department of Health Research Ethics Guidelines (2015): This document provides the minimum national benchmark of norms and standards for conducting responsible and ethical research.
  • The Belmont Report: This report propagates the 3 ethics principles of beneficence, justice and respect for persons. The purpose of the report is to protect subjects and participants in research studies.
  • Nelson Mandela University Code of Conduct for Researchers: This policy gives expression to the values that apply at the Nelson Mandela University and to which all researchers (students, academic and support staff) commit themselves in their research activities.
  • Nelson Mandela University Research Ethics Policy: This policy aims to promote awareness of fundamental ethical standards, principles and practices when conducting research with human participants.

Depending upon the context of the study, researchers of studies making use of human participants might have a need to familiarise themselves with and/or reference a selection of these documents, not necessarily an exhaustive list.


POPIA (Protection of Personal Information Act):

  • ASSAf POPIA Code of Conduct for Research: Developed in a consultative process with the 'research sector' of South Africa, the purpose of this code is to help researchers comply with POPIA, as well as create legal certainty by ensuring that researchers, and the Information Regulator have a consistent interpretation of POPIA and its impact on Research.
  • Summary of Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA): This document summarises the most important aspects of the Protection of Personal Information Act, a legal requirement for all studies collecting personal data from human participants.
  • ASSAf POPIA Code of Conduct Training Session 1 (12 December 2022): This presentation by Novation Consulting for the research community at Nelson Mandela University provided valuable insight into POPA and research. It covers what is considered to be personal information, when the Code applies to information, misconceptions about POPIA, Personal Information Impact Assessments and security safeguards. (This presentation is only available to staff and students of Nelson Mandela University).
  • ASSAf POPIA Code of Conduct Training Session 2 (14 December 2022): The second in the two-part training by Novation Consulting covers more techincal aspects of POPIA and research. Included is an explanation of what is considered to be high-risk in terms of POPIA and the proocess to be followed if the research is deemed high-risk (it should be noted that high-risk in terms of POPIA does not necessarily mean high-risk in terms of ethics). It also covers data breaches, access control, software and storage security. (This presentation is only available to staff and students of Nelson Mandela University).
  • POPIA and Research Data Management Reading List: An article by Novation Consulting (2020), with particular relevance to South Africa.
  • Information Regulator (South Africa): The information regulator is, among others, empowered to monitor and enforce compliance by public and private bodies with the provisions of the promotion of access to information act, 2000 (act 2 of 2000), and the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (act 4 of 2013). This site provides insight into both Acts.

Research Data Management:

  • Educause HECVAT: The Higher Education Community Vendor Assessment Toolkit is a questionnaire framework specifically designed for higher education to measure vendor risk and is used by many South African Universities. Before a third-party solution is purchased, the solution provider can be asked to complete a HECVAT tool to confirm that information, data, and cybersecurity policies are in place to protect sensitive institutional information and constituents' PII. A useful tool is the Community Broker Index where completed assessments of companies that regularly work within Higher Education is kept.
  • Create a research data mananagement plan: A template that outlines how all research data will be generated or collected, managed, stored and preserved, shared or disposed of. (UWE Bristol)
  • Data Management Plan Guidelines: guidance on the best practices to creating a data management plan. (University of Surrey)
  • Public Data Manaagement Plans: Public DMPs are plans created using the DMPonline service and shared publicly by their owners. They are not vetted for quality, completeness, or adherence to funder guidelines.
  • WUR data management plan template + guidance: Wageningen University & Research template