The purpose of the research team at the Franklin Institute of Wellness (FIW) is to further the body of evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of essential oils, botanical products, dietary supplements and health behaviors. Industry funded research conducted at the Franklin Institute of Wellness is mutually beneficial as it enables the FIW team to achieve its purpose while also providing evidence regarding the effects of industry products.
To achieve this purpose, the FIW research team maintains the highest standards of performance in all areas of its research work, including ethics. This ensures that the research team remains free from conflicts of interest and protects the integrity of the completed work. The following sections are requirements of all industry-funded work completed at FIW.
Methodology & Research Direction
Funding agencies are encouraged to contribute to the broad direction of the research project. Each research contract will outline a specific type of study, intervention (where appropriate), and outcome of interest. The FIW research team maintains professional discretion regarding the design of the research project, including any modifications that may be required.
To maintain accepted research ethical standards, it is not appropriate for industry funding parties to specify in detail how the research is to be accomplished. The research team must maintain full academic freedom to complete the project using scientific standards. This protects both the quality and integrity of the work.
Data & Confidentiality
To maintain ethical standards, data compiled during the process of the work remains the property of FIW. All research projects which include human subjects are authorized by an independent IRB (Institutional Review Board) and this authorization maintains that confidentiality of all participants must be protected. One of the ways the FIW team protects participant data is by restricting access to qualified members of the research team who are certified in human participant research ethics.
Upon completion of the research project, FIW faculty and staff must retain the option of disseminating the work, through any method deemed appropriate. This includes, but is not limited to, scientific journal manuscripts and conference presentations. All funding agencies are acknowledged in each presentation as funding partners for the work.
Funding agencies may request to review the materials prior to publication or presentation to confirm that the manuscripts or outlines do not contain any of the industry’s proprietary information, but industry agencies may not prohibit or prevent the dissemination of the work. This is essential to maintain both the ethical reputation of the college and to enable the college to meet its mission of furthering the body of knowledge regarding integrative health.
The purpose of research is to discover new knowledge regarding a topic of interest. Research is unpredictable by definition and certain results or findings can never be guaranteed. Conversely, it is unethical for the college to subject human participants to research processes which are not expected to provide a benefit to the participant and to the scientific field itself. Therefore, FIW may refuse to undertake research projects which are not expected to be successful out of its commitment of integrity to industry funding parties and to the participants who agree to be included in our research studies.
Because FIW’s mission is to further the body of knowledge on integrative health, the college will not enter into research agreements which require a guarantee of findings or permit the withholding of payments if the industry agency is not satisfied with the results. Such practices are inconsistent with the college’s commitment to meeting the highest research quality and are in conflict with ethical principles required of research with human participants.