I will be doing some research for a company I am about to start working for. The company is small and provides animal assisted interventions in schools. They want and need ways to measure the children's progress. I have suggested a validated measure and agreed to help with research and analysis. Am I able to write this up and submit for publication? I have a masters in Psych and been through the publication process before (although unsuccessful). Basically I am worried about conflict of interest (I suppose it is in my favour to show positive results) and ethics as I am no longer affiliated with a university. But I know there's a shortage of research in this area and I want to add to it. Any suggestions are very welcome! Thank you in advance
Two important things to consider...
A) It's up to the company. If they approve, then you can possibly write it up. If they disapprove, you cannot.
B) Human subjects research must be conducted under proper ethical controls - some sort of institutional review board has to approve of your human subjects research ahead of time, or certify that your research does not need full review.
These research regulations do not apply to certain types of data that are not considered research. For example, if a teacher is assessing the efficacy of their own lessons, and they don't plan to disseminate the results, it is not considered "research". Similarly, market studies, customer satisfaction surveys, etc, are all not "research" from a regulatory perspective.
Therefore, it's possible that your study is completely okay if it's just used internally, but not okay to be published without taking steps like obtaining proper informed consent from the research subjects and getting prior approval for the study.
(this is from a US perspective; rules might be different elsewhere, but there are likely to be similarities and it's something you would need to investigate)
There are companies who will claim all your work while you are employed for themselves. Those companies have you sign an agreement to that effect. The "agreements" can be quite limiting and extensive. Non disclosure, no expiration, lots of possibilities. Some will let you publish under your own name provided that they approve in advance of what you will write.
Since you haven't started working for them, I suggest you work out an agreement to your mutual satisfaction. It may be in a small company you can get this done, especially if the research isn't involved in the main "product" of the company.
Don't make assumptions about what is possible. Work it out. It may even be an advantage for them to have you publish freely. But lawyers will possibly be concerned that you will publish something that refutes the value of what they do.