Research ethics philosophical focuses on the relations and differences between ethics and research, between on one side an instrumental rationality, which rules sciences and technical innovation, and the ethical dimension of the human action. It gathers documents on research understood philosophically as, on one side, a possible way to renew life, thus on research as an ethics of utopias. Utopias offer a glimpse of an alternative to dominant system dissatisfaction, open the image of a world not yet in existence that is different from and better than the world we inhabit now.Research norms and values mean on the other hand concrete applications, in various fields, on ethics in research involving human beings. Setting research standards in empirical sciences and publication related research, finding rules and common praxis to reaffirm the anthropological ground of knowledge formation and erudition is a long path, a field in development, coextensive with that of ethics in higher education, and permeable to technological evolutions inside our societies.

Recent Submissions

  • Qualitative migration research ethics : mapping the core challenges

    Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament de Ciències Polítiques i Socials; Zapata Barrero, Ricard; Yalaz, Evren (2019)
    When conducting qualitative research, migration scholars are often confronted with particular ethical issues. Since migration researchers often work on vulnerable, hard-to-reach, and sensitive populations, the protection of participants and their information may become a challenging task. The exploratory and flexible nature of qualitative research proves that standardized codes of ethical conduct cannot adequately address emerging issues during the qualitative research process. This article aims to map current ethical challenges that migration scholars often face as well as to provide some guidance while acknowledging the fact that many researchers deal with ethical challenges on a case-by-case basis. It starts by placing qualitative migration research ethics (QMRE) at the crossroads of qualitative migration research and research ethics debates and reviewing the main issues of this emerging literature. Then, we map ethical issues involved in different research stages including before, during, and after the fieldwork. We conclude insisting on the particularities of the critical ethical consciousness in migration studies. We also claim the need to incorporate these ethical issues in higher education programs and the need of teaching the best ethical principles in classroom environments to young migration researchers.
  • What's in a Word? Just vs. Fair vs. Appropriate Earnings for Self and Others

    Adriaans, Jule; Liebig, Stefan; Sabbagh, Clara; Jasso, Guillermina (USA, 2022-05-31)
    Despite Rawls' famous call to distinguish between justice and fairness, these and other justice-related words often seem to be used interchangeably by both ordinary people and justice researchers. Based on a survey-embedded question wording experiment (N = 4534) fielded in Germany as part of the GESIS Panel, we explore the effects of three justice words - "just," "fair," and "appropriate" - on the sense of justice about earnings for self and others. We observe differences in the just reward, justice evaluation, and justice consequences by justice word. For example, justice evaluations of one’s own earnings are more negative, i.e., deeper in the underreward territory, signaling larger just rewards, when using "just" instead of "fair" or "appropriate" in the question wording. No such clear pattern emerges for justice evaluations of others’ earnings. Our analyses show the decreasing effect of an underreward situation on psychosocial health to be significantly stronger in the "just" condition compared to the "fair" condition but do not reveal differential consequences by justice word for measures of satisfaction and trust. Overall, the observed differences by justice words are moderate in size. Nonetheless, our findings suggest caution for justice researchers in communicating with peers and respondents and warrant further inquiry extending research on the role of "justice language" to other language-country contexts.
  • Student Research Committee as a Model for Development of Medical Research Projects.

    Rezaee-Zavareh, Mohammad Saeid; Khosravi, Mohammad Hossein; Alavian, Seyed Moayed (Academy of Medical Sciences of I.R. Iran, 2016-11)
    Student Research Committee (SRC) has been developed a subset of each university's Vice chancellor for research in purpose of research training for motivated students and conducting their research interests. In this paper, we evaluated effect of SRCs on Iran's research through Scopus database and showed that SRCs has a remarkable impact on Iran's publication performance.
  • Revolution in death sciences: body farms and taphonomics blooming. A review investigating the advantages, ethical and legal aspects in a Swiss context.

    Varlet V; Joye C; Forbes SL; Grabherr S (2020)
    Taphonomy is the study of decaying organisms over time and their process of fossilization. Taphonomy, originally a branch of palaeontology and anthropology, was developed to understand the ecology of a decomposition site, how site ecology changes upon the introduction of plant or animal remains and, in turn, how site ecology affects the decomposition of these materials. In recent years, these goals were incorporated by forensic science to understand the decomposition of human cadavers, to provide a basis on which to estimate postmortem and/or postburial interval, to assist in the determination of cause and circumstances of death, and to aid in the location of clandestine graves. These goals are achieved through the study of the factors that influence cadaver decomposition (e.g. temperature, moisture, insect activity). These studies have also provided insight into the belowground ecology of cadaver breakdown and allowed to develop useful protocols for mass disaster managements in humanitarian medicine. From the results obtained, new scientific disciplines have arisen, gathered under the word "taphonomics" such as the study of microorganisms living below/on a cadaver (thanatogeomicrobiology), and join the more classical forensic sciences such as anthropology, botany or entomology. Taking into account the specificities of the study object (human cadaver), primordial requirements are needed in terms of security (physical and environmental) as well as ethical and legal concerns which are studied in the Swiss context. The present review aims to present in a first part the concept of human forensic taphonomy facilities (HFTF, also colloquially named "body farm") leading to an enrichment of forensic sciences with new "taphonomics". The second part is focused on the mandatory points that must be addressed for a HFTF approach, especially because it requires a specific place to undertake this research which must be performed in conformity with a country's human ethics and laws.
  • Innovations in research ethics governance in humanitarian settings.

    Schopper D; Dawson A; Upshur R; Ahmad A; Jesani A; Ravinetto R; Segelid MJ; Sheel S; SINGH J (2015)
    BACKGROUND Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is one of the world's leading humanitarian medical organizations. The increased emphasis in MSF on research led to the creation of an ethics review board (ERB) in 2001. The ERB has encouraged innovation in the review of proposals and the interaction between the ERB and the organization. This has led to some of the advances in ethics governance described in this paper. DISCUSSION We first update our previous work from 2009 describing ERB performance and then highlight five innovative practices: • A new framework to guide ethics review • The introduction of a policy exempting a posteriori analysis of routinely collected data • The preapproval of "emergency" protocols • General ethical approval of "routine surveys" • Evaluating the impact of approved studies. The new framework encourages a conversation about ethical issues, rather than imposing quasi-legalistic rules, is more engaged with the specific MSF research context and gives greater prominence to certain values and principles. Some of the innovations implemented by the ERB, such as review exemption or approval of generic protocols, may run counter to many standard operating procedures. We argue that much standard practice in research ethics review ought to be open to challenge and revision. Continued interaction between MSF researchers and independent ERB members has allowed for progressive innovations based on a trustful and respectful partnership between the ERB and the researchers. In the future, three areas merit particular attention. First, the impact of the new framework should be assessed. Second, the impact of research needs to be defined more precisely as a first step towards being meaningfully assessed, including changes of impact over time. Finally, the dialogue between the MSF ERB and the ethics committees in the study countries should be enhanced. SUMMARY We hope that the innovations in research ethics governance described may be relevant for other organisations carrying out research in fragile contexts and for ethics committees reviewing such research.
  • The ethics of business information systems: the present state of the discussion and avenues for future work

    Sub Organization and Information; Sub Process Management and Analytics; Organization and Information; Bock, Alexander; España, Sergio; Gulden, Jens; Jahn, Katharina; Nweke, Livinus Obiora; Richter, Andreas (2021)
    Despite occasional pleas to incorporate the ethics of information systems into the field’s research agenda, the analysis of the moral ramifications of information systems has remained unsystematic in nature. Work on a remarkable variety of ethical issues has appeared, but the field has yet to produce a coherent conception of how it construes and studies the ethics of information systems. In this research-in-progress paper, we report on work to redress the situation by addressing three goals. First, we provide an overview of contributions made to the study of ethics in information systems research in recent decades. Second, we present a classificatory scheme to organize past and future work on the subject. Third, we identify themes that have received little attention to date, proposing routes for future work. In particular, we find that our field has yet to fully explore the moral implications of the very artifacts of its own design. We conclude with a call to action for information systems researchers to work towards a structured account of ethics as part of the field’s research agenda.
  • Extent of non-publication in cohorts of studies approved by research ethics committees or included in trial registries.

    Schmucker C; Schell LK; Portalupi S; Oeller P; Cabrera L; Bassler D; Schwarzer G; Scherer RW; Antes G; von Elm E (2014)
    BACKGROUND The synthesis of published research in systematic reviews is essential when providing evidence to inform clinical and health policy decision-making. However, the validity of systematic reviews is threatened if journal publications represent a biased selection of all studies that have been conducted (dissemination bias). To investigate the extent of dissemination bias we conducted a systematic review that determined the proportion of studies published as peer-reviewed journal articles and investigated factors associated with full publication in cohorts of studies (i) approved by research ethics committees (RECs) or (ii) included in trial registries. METHODS AND FINDINGS Four bibliographic databases were searched for methodological research projects (MRPs) without limitations for publication year, language or study location. The searches were supplemented by handsearching the references of included MRPs. We estimated the proportion of studies published using prediction intervals (PI) and a random effects meta-analysis. Pooled odds ratios (OR) were used to express associations between study characteristics and journal publication. Seventeen MRPs (23 publications) evaluated cohorts of studies approved by RECs; the proportion of published studies had a PI between 22% and 72% and the weighted pooled proportion when combining estimates would be 46.2% (95% CI 40.2%-52.4%, I2 = 94.4%). Twenty-two MRPs (22 publications) evaluated cohorts of studies included in trial registries; the PI of the proportion published ranged from 13% to 90% and the weighted pooled proportion would be 54.2% (95% CI 42.0%-65.9%, I2 = 98.9%). REC-approved studies with statistically significant results (compared with those without statistically significant results) were more likely to be published (pooled OR 2.8; 95% CI 2.2-3.5). Phase-III trials were also more likely to be published than phase II trials (pooled OR 2.0; 95% CI 1.6-2.5). The probability of publication within two years after study completion ranged from 7% to 30%. CONCLUSIONS A substantial part of the studies approved by RECs or included in trial registries remains unpublished. Due to the large heterogeneity a prediction of the publication probability for a future study is very uncertain. Non-publication of research is not a random process, e.g., it is associated with the direction of study findings. Our findings suggest that the dissemination of research findings is biased.
  • How Much Participant Outcome Data Is Missing from Sight: Findings from a Cohort of Trials Submitted to a German Research Ethics Committee.

    Kirkham JJ; Dwan KM; Blümle A; von Elm E; Williamson PR (2016)
    BACKGROUND Study publication bias and outcome reporting bias have been recognised as two threats to the validity of systematic reviews. The purpose of this research was to estimate the proportion of missing participant outcome data from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) due to lack of publication of whole studies and due to outcome data missing within study publications. METHODS AND FINDINGS Data were extracted from protocols of clinical research projects submitted to the research ethics committee of the University of Freiburg (Germany) between 2000 and 2002 and associated fully published articles. The total amount of published and unpublished outcome data from all trial participants was calculated for each trial and the overall proportion of missing data from both unpublished and published trials computed. Full and partially reported outcome data was also taken into consideration. The impact of funding source on missingness was also considered at the trial level. From 308 parallel group trials in the study cohort, 167 were published and 141 were unpublished. Overall, 260,563 participants contributed to a total of 2,618,116 participant outcome data across all trials. About half (47%) of the participant outcome data from the 308 trials was reported in full but at least 81% were partially reported. Of the 19% of participant data that were missing, 4% was attributable to missing data from published trials and 15% from unpublished trials. Commercially funded trials had a higher probability of publication (relative risk 1.20, 95% confidence interval 0.86, 1.67; p = 0.27) but were less likely to fully report all outcomes than non-commercially funded trials (relative risk 0.64, 95% confidence interval 0.30, 1.38; p = 0.26). CONCLUSIONS Missing participant outcome data from both published and unpublished trials is frequent. Clinical trial registration including outcome information not only identifies that clinical trials exist but the systematic examination and monitoring of trial information within a registry can help detect selective reporting of entire studies and of outcome data within studies and possibly prevent it.
  • Premature Discontinuation of Prospective Clinical Studies Approved by a Research Ethics Committee - A Comparison of Randomised and Non-Randomised Studies.

    Blümle A; Schandelmaier S; Oeller P; Kasenda B; Briel M; von Elm E (2016)
    BACKGROUND Premature discontinuation of clinical studies affects about 25% of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) which raises concerns about waste of scarce resources for research. The risk of discontinuation of non-randomised prospective studies (NPSs) is yet unclear. OBJECTIVES To compare the proportion of discontinued studies between NPSs and RCTs that received ethical approval. METHODS We systematically surveyed prospective longitudinal clinical studies that were approved by a single REC in Freiburg, Germany between 2000 and 2002. We collected study characteristics, identified subsequent publications, and surveyed investigators to elucidate whether a study was discontinued and, if so, why. RESULTS Of 917 approved studies, 547 were prospective longitudinal studies (306 RCTs and 241 NPSs). NPSs were on average smaller than RCTs, more frequently single centre and pilot studies, and less frequently funded by industry. NPSs were less frequently discontinued than RCTs: 32/221 (14%) versus 78/288 (27%, p<0.001, missing data excluded). Poor recruitment was the most frequent reason for discontinuation in both NPSs (36%) and RCTs (37%). CONCLUSIONS Compared to RCTs, NPSs were at lower risk for discontinuation. Measures to reliably predict, sustain, and stimulate recruitment could prevent discontinuation of many RCTs but also of some NPSs.
  • Additional file 1 of Research ethics and refugee health: a review of reported considerations and applications in published refugee health literature, 2015-2018

    Emma E. Seagle (9000203); Amanda J. Dam (9000206); Priti P. Shah (9000209); Jessica L. Webster (9000212); Drue H. Barrett (9000215); Leonard W. Ortmann (9000218); Nicole J. Cohen (9000221); Nina N. Marano (9000224) (2020-06-20)
    Additional file 1. Articles included in review and additional characteristics. Additional file 1’ includes the list of the 288 articles used in the review of ethical considerations in refugee health literature, additional characteristics of these 288 articles, and a list of the 64 variables abstracted from each article.
  • Der Stand der Dinge zur forschungsethischen Begutachtung in den Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften: Ergebnisse einer Umfrage unter Forschenden

    Rat für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsdaten (RatSWD); Strobel, Anja; Zeiler, Anne; Schaar, Katrin (DEUBerlin, 2022-05-11)
    Bei der Vorbereitung und Durchführung von Forschungsprojekten spielen auch ethische Gesichtspunkte eine Rolle: Forschung sollte möglichst weder für Teilnehmende an Forschungsprojekten noch für die Gesellschaft negative Folgen haben. Zunehmend werden durch nationale und internationale wissenschaftliche Zeitschriften Nachweise über eine forschungsethische Begutachtung gefordert. Eine in der 7. Berufungsperiode des RatSWD neu eingesetzte "Arbeitsgruppe Forschungsethik" hat im Frühjahr 2021 eine bundesweite systematische Erhebung bei mehr als 1000 Forschenden verschiedener Statusgruppen aus vom RatSWD vertretenen Disziplinen durchgeführt, um deren Unterstützungsbedarfe für die forschungsethische Begutachtung ihrer Forschungsvorhaben zu ermitteln. Die Auswertung ergab, dass mehr als 60 Prozent der Befragten einen regelmäßigen oder gelegentlichen Bedarf für eine forschungsethische Begutachtung hat. Überwiegend können sich diese Forschenden auch an für sie zuständige Ethikkommissionen wenden, wobei dies fachspezifisch sehr variiert: Aus dem Bereich Psychologie können sich 90 Prozent der Befragten an eine Ethikkommission wenden, in den Wirtschaftswissenschaften bzw. dem Bereich der Kulturwissenschaften, Ethnologie und Religionswissenschaften sind es lediglich 53 bzw. 60 Prozent. Als unterstützend für den Aufbau von Ethikkommissionen wurden in erster Linie Vorlagen und Beispiele für den Begutachtungsprozess beurteilt, aber auch formale Informationen, z. B. zur personellen Zusammensetzung einer Kommission, zur Ausarbeitung einer möglichen Geschäftsordnung oder zu grundlegenden Fragen von Begutachtungsrelevanz von Forschung oder Entscheidungskriterien von Kommissionen. Sofern bereits Ethikkommissionen etabliert sind, wünschen sich Forschende Vorlagen und Unterlagen für die Erstellung von Anträgen sowie Informationen zu Begutachtungsprozessen. Auch datenschutzrechtliche Aspekte wurden thematisiert, die in Ergänzung zu forschungsethischen Fragen zu beachten sind. Die Ergebnisse der Bedarfsermittlung bilden eine wesentliche Grundlage für die weitere Arbeit des RatSWD im Bereich Forschungsethik.
  • Musique à l’école : des projets affiliatifs et interculturels au service du Projet Éducation 2030 de l’OCDE

    Apprentissage, Didactique, Evaluation, Formation (ADEF) ; Aix Marseille Université (AMU); SFERE-Provence (FED4238); Le geste créatif et l'activité formative (GCAF) ; Apprentissage, Didactique, Evaluation, Formation (ADEF) ; Aix Marseille Université (AMU)-Aix Marseille Université (AMU)-Aix-Marseille Université - Institut national supérieur du professorat et de l'éducation (AMU INSPÉ) ; Aix Marseille Université (AMU)-Aix Marseille Université (AMU); Haute École Pédagogique Berne-Jura-Neuchâtel (HEP Bejune) ; Haute Ecole Pédagogique du canton de Vaud (HEPL); Terrien, Pascal; Joliat, François (HAL CCSD, 2022)
    International audience
  • Autoethnography: A Method of Research and Teaching for Transformative Education

    Shashidhar Belbase; Bal Chandra Luitel; Peter Charles Taylor (Kathmandu University, 2013-04-01)
    This paper discusses the thesis that autoethnography as tool in research provides the researcher to examine his or her pedagogical and research practices from his or lived evocative experiences. The essence of this paper is to seek the possibilities of linking autoethnography as a method of inquiry that catalyses the transformative pedagogy positively in mathematics education. It is an outcome of my dissertation of Masters of Philosophy (M.Phil.) in Education. I highlights the importance of autoethnography in research in a way that permits researchers to apply flexible modes of inquiry from their life experiences with motives of change to take place in educational institutions and classroom practices. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3126/jer.v1i0.7955 Journal of Education and Research 2008, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 86-95
  • Towards Decolonising Research Ethics: From One-off Review Boards to Decentralised North–South Partnerships in an International Development Programme

    Maria Josep Cascant Sempere; Talatu Aliyu; Cathy Bollaert (MDPI AG, 2022-03-01)
    Contemporary North–South research collaborations are fraught with power relations originating in colonialism. Debates about research ethics have tended to turn around the “procedural ethics” formal model and the “everyday ethics” practical model. We build on that to suggest a second debate that scrutinises ethics and power relations not only in the researcher–researched relationship but also in the relationships within research teams and ethics review boards. The research asked: how can we shift power in research to decolonise research and build more equitable partnerships? We explored this with data obtained through collaborative autoethnography in a multi-country development research programme, Evidence and Collaboration for Inclusive Development (ECID). This included regular self-reflective meetings, visual methods, a self-evaluation survey, and blogs addressing power issues. Coordinated from London, the research had all the cards to adopt a ‘colonial’ gaze in which the North would ‘research’ the South. The case narrates the journey of the research team to decentralise power in the programme, which included sharing control over the selection of research topics, and the research design, budget, and publications. Drawing from the lessons learned from the research approach that was adopted in ECID, this paper offers an 8-step model towards decolonising research ethics.
  • Normativity, Realism and Emotional Experience

    Turp M (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-04-26)
    Norms are standards against which actions, dispositions of mind and character, states of affairs and so forth can be measured. They also govern our behaviour, make claims on us, bind us and provide reasons for action and thought that motivate us. J. L. Mackie argued that the intrinsic prescriptivity, or to-be-pursuedness, of moral norms would make them utterly unlike anything else that we know of. Therefore, we should favour an error theory of morality. Mackie thought that the to-be-pursuedness would have to be built into mind-independent moral reality. One alternative, however, is that the to-be-pursuedness is built into our faculty of moral sensibility. There is a large body of empirical evidence demonstrating that the emotions play a central role in making moral judgments. I shall argue that this helps to explain how normative judgments are reliably and non-accidentally related to motivation. I shall also argue that emotional experience has the right structure and properties to provide us with a defeasible warrant for normative knowledge. The role of the emotions in our moral psychology does not obviously support anti-realism. Rather, emotional experience can be intentional, evaluative, evaluable, and quasi-perceptual. This makes emotional experience a plausible candidate for constituting a non-queer faculty of moral sensibility.
  • Doing research in the Global South: Exploring research ethics and their transformative potential

    Larjosto, Vilja; Knaps, Falco; Abassiharofteh, Milad; Göb, Angelina; Baier, Jessica; Eberth, Andreas; Zebner, Fabiana; Thimm, Insa; ARL - Akademie für Raumentwicklung in der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft; Tuitjer, Leonie (Verlag der ARLDEUHannover, 2022-04-26)
    At the conference on 'Spatial Transformation: Processes, Concepts and Research Designs', a number of local and regional case studies from spatial research were presented alongside research papers about transformation processes conducted in the so-called Global South. This short article offers a reflection on the role of research ethics and their potentially transformative power within such contexts. First, the article argues that within research projects conducted by researchers from the socalled Global North in the Global South, a critical self-reflection of ones' own position is necessary, as the researcher will inevitably be confronted with various ethical, logistical, and political challenges. Second, it is argued that it is precisely these challenges that enable critical self-reflection and the development of a transformative potential at the personal, institutional, project and output level. Research on spatial transformations may benefit from such ethico-political moments as those proposed by the social scientist Vinay Gidwani to achieve a deeper level of ethical self-reflection and perhaps a transformation on the level of knowledge production.
  • Anmerkungen zu den vielfältigen Dimensionen einer Forschungsethik in den Sozial-, Verhaltens- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften

    Rat für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsdaten (RatSWD); Wagner, Gert G. (DEUBerlin, 2022-04-22)
    Das vorliegende Working Paper reflektiert die Erarbeitung forschungsethischer Empfehlungen des Rates für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsdaten (RatSWD), die unter https://www.ratswd.de/dl/RatSWD_Output9_Forschungsethik.pdf zu finden sind. Der RatSWD beziehungsweise die von ihm eingesetzte Arbeitsgruppe (AG) hat sich auf die ethischen Aspekte des Forschungsprozesses im engeren Sinnen beschränkt, also insbesondere auf die der Gewinnung von Daten, und etliche weitere forschungsethische Aspekte nur knapp genannt oder ganz ausgeklammert. Deswegen versucht das vorliegende Papier, einen knappen Überblick über das gesamte Feld der Forschungsethik zu geben. Nicht zuletzt auch, weil die vom RatSWD empfohlene intensivere Selbstprüfung des Forschungsprozesses durch die Forschenden selbst für alle Felder der Forschungsethik von großer Bedeutung ist.

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