In legal studies, discussion of new technologies has often focused on the risks to privacy and data protection. Mariana Gkliati outlines how such technologies may be seen not only as Orwellian threats but also as opportunities for human rights research. Some advances have already been made and there remains much to learn from other fields. However, to build on […]
Modelling Engagement: Using theatre-based workshops to explore citizenship and research participation.
Recent research highlights the significant contribution that migrant mothers make to UK society. Dr Umut Erel from the Open University looks at how theatre was used as a strategy to co-produce this research. The workshops and resulting research findings demonstrate the value of two-way exchange between participants and researchers. The evidence suggests it is time to reframe the debate […]
Book Review: Knowledge and Ethics in Anthropology: Obligations and Requirements edited by Lisette Josephides
Inspired by the work of British anthropologist Marilyn Strathern, Knowledge and Ethics in Anthropology: Obligations and Requirements, edited by Lisette Josephides, presents a collection of essays that examines epistemological and ethical questions relevant to the field of anthropology today, including the ethics of being with others in the world and the relationship between the local and the global. This book […]
Evidence and innovation in humanitarian assistance: ‘Conference without Borders’ to address Syrian conflict #MSFSci
The MSF Scientific Days are a round of conferences looking at how humanitarian action can be improved by scientific research and innovation. On behalf of the organisers, Sarah Venis presents an overview. This year will feature a strong focus on the effects of the Syrian conflict and the resultant refugee and migration crisis. Another theme will also look at how […]
Credit where credit is due: Research parasites and tackling misconceptions about academic data sharing
Benedikt Fecher and Gert G. Wagner look at a recent editorial which faced considerable criticism for typecasting researchers who use or build on previous datasets as “research parasites”. They argue that the authors appear to miss the point, not only of data sharing, but of scientific research more broadly. But as problematic as the editorial may be, it points to […]
High prices to access scholarly research could drive developing country researchers to use pirate sites like SciHub.
Developing countries are investing more in research and higher education and it should be no surprise that publishers are building commercial relationships to expand access and services. But prices are often still too high. Jonathan Harle argues now is a good time for the research community to reflect on what we can do to bring the cost of access down. If we […]
When researchers reach the point of actually writing up their analyses, the writing can often centre around the data itself. Howard Aldrich argues this kind of “data first” strategy to writing goes against the spirit of disciplined inquiry and also severely limits creativity and imagination. Literature reviews and conceptual planning phases in particular would benefit if researchers explored the range of ideas […]
The vast availability of digital traces of unprecedented form and scale has led many to believe that we are entering a new data revolution. Will these new data sources and tools allow us to improve business processes in transformative ways? Vyacheslav Polonski argues that the more data is available, the more theory is needed to know what to look for and […]
Research in the age of mass surveillance: Finding an ethical consensus over new digital visual research methods.
With digital recording devices now widely available, the power and functionality of these tools may far outstrip what is strictly required for research purposes. Tze Ming Mok looks at some of the specific ethical research conundrums emerging with the use of first-person visual recording devices. Researchers cannot afford to ignore these ethical challenges. The fundamental principles of research ethics frameworks still stand, and are becoming ever […]
In a changing world, climate adaptation researchers play a key role in addressing risk and ethical responsibilities.
The uncertainties related to climate science present some unique challenges for policymakers and researchers alike. Drawing on lessons from the health care domain, where there are established mechanisms and processes in place for managing risk, Justine Lacey, Mark Howden and Chris Cvitanovic look at ways researchers can proactively support decision-makers. Could a similar ethics system to the one used by frontline medical professionals […]
Book Review: The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos by Leonard Mlodinow
The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos is an accessible grand history of science and many of its most crucial figures, enlivened by personal anecdotes and insights by physicist Leonard Mlodinow. Mlodinow evocatively demonstrates how scientific developments are not solely the product of isolated genius, but are dependent upon the convergence of […]
Researchers are not ‘hoodwinked’ victims. All choose to play the publishing game and some can choose to change it.
Researchers are often cast as hapless victims in the scholarly communication system. Cameron Neylon argues their largely rational actions to demonstrate productivity are a choice and are also all part of the game they helped to create. Everyone is playing the game, publishers, researchers and funders, but that doesn’t mean that all the players have the same freedom to change it. It […]
A recent study sent data requests to 200 authors of economics articles where it was stated ‘data available upon request’. Most of the authors refused. What does the scientific community think about those withholding their data? Are they guilty of scientific misconduct? Nicole Janz argues that if you don’t share your data, you are breaking professional standards in research, and are […]
Academic freedom and authority are fundamentally about responsibilities and public scholars must navigate with care.
The boundaries between scholarly speech and wider public speech are blurry, as separate discussions about Tim Hunt and ethnographer Alice Goffman have both proved. Academic authority and academic freedom are not easy bedfellows. Cameron Neylon argues that much of the entanglement is due to an incomplete understanding of responsibility. Academic freedom is not the right to speak one’s mind. […]