This 2016 version of the Code is designed to be a comprehensive framework for self-regulation for those engaged in market, opinion and social research and data analytics.
It sets essential standards of ethical and professional conduct designed to maintain public confidence in research, while also requiring strict adherence to any relevant regional, national and local laws or regulations, and industry/professional codes of conduct that may set a higher standard.
It ensures that researchers and analysts working with both traditional and new sources of data continue to meet their ethical, professional and legal responsibilities to the individuals whose data they use in research and to the clients and organisations they serve. It also is intended to safeguard the right of researchers to seek, receive and impart information as stated in Article 19 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
This Code applies to all research worldwide. Acceptance and observance of the Code is mandatory for ESOMAR members and the members of other research associations that have adopted it.
ESOMAR published the first Code of Marketing and Social Research Practice in 1948. In subsequent years, a number of national bodies published their own codes. In 1976, ESOMAR and ICC – who had a related international code stemming from their Global Marketing and Advertising Code of Conduct – agreed that it would be preferable to have a single international code. A joint ICC/ESOMAR Code was published the following year. This 1977 code was revised and updated in 1986, 1994 and, most recently, in 2007. More than 60 associations in over 50 countries have adopted or endorsed it.