Our position is clear: scientific research cannot be limited to the common understanding of medical and academic research but needs to be considered alongside other forms of research such as healthcare, arts, humanities, social and market research.
The identification of scientific research cannot be limited to juxtaposition of academic versus commercial, private versus public as much as it cannot be of limited consideration – for example, health science is not only medical research and clinical trials.
The source of funding for research is not a determining factor in whether research is scientific; nor does it determine whether an activity results in public benefit or good.
Market, opinion and social research is robustly self-regulated by a family of national and international codes of conduct, ensuring that data collected for research is strictly limited to only research, thus preventing harm or adverse consequences to individuals.
Compliance with both legal and ethical requirements for the treatment of personal data is vital for maintenance of consumer trust. Ethical standards are set out in national and international Codes.
A full functioning framework for scientific research must reflect the approach of the GDPR and it needs to be technology neutral, relying heavily on both co-regulation and on a ‘toolbox’ of privately adopted measures that present the undisputed advantage of being fit for purpose within the sector in which they are implemented, and in doing so transcending the theory and enabling the practice.