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    Considering the monstrous in digital methods can inform researchers’ ethical decision making

Considering the monstrous in digital methods can inform researchers’ ethical decision making

Monsters stop people in their tracks, make us (re)consider the route we are taking. Consideration of imagined horror is a useful ethical tool for those who use digital methods. In this Halloween-themed post, Naomi Barnes provides historical and literary examples of the association between horror and information technology, challenging users of digital methods to consider whether their practices are […]

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October 31st, 2016|Research Ethics|1 Comment|
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    Collecting data using crowdsourcing marketplaces raises ethical questions for academic researchers

Collecting data using crowdsourcing marketplaces raises ethical questions for academic researchers

The need for larger sample sizes and ready access to a diverse group of participants has seen many researchers turn to crowdsourcing platforms such as MTurk for their data collections. However, Ilka Gleibs argues that the ethical implications of using crowdsourcing marketplaces demand further attention. To safeguard academic progress and public trust in research it is imperative that we […]

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    The potential of big data and new technologies in human rights research

The potential of big data and new technologies in human rights research

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 […]

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September 30th, 2016|Big Data, Research Ethics|0 Comments|
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    Blogging platforms are not neutral: Challenging the underlying assumptions of our technology.

Blogging platforms are not neutral: Challenging the underlying assumptions of our technology.

As a farewell post on her last day working on the LSE Impact Blog, Sierra Williams reflects on her time as editor and her relationship with the platform. Drawing on Neil Postman’s critique of technology, she looks at some of the assumptions that underpin the blog and argues a bit of ‘technological modesty’ is required to get a better […]

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    Book Review: Knowledge and Ethics in Anthropology: Obligations and Requirements edited by Lisette Josephides

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 […]

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    Evidence and innovation in humanitarian assistance: ‘Conference without Borders’ to address Syrian conflict #MSFSci

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 […]

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    “Tenure can withstand Twitter”: We need policies that promote science communication and protect those who engage.

“Tenure can withstand Twitter”: We need policies that promote science communication and protect those who engage.

In the age of social media, the professor’s podium has expanded. Cassidy R. Sugimoto argues so too must our policies on science communication and academic freedom. Academic freedom is a right for unfettered freedom to research, but also with an obligation to disseminate that research. Twitter and other social media can be used to fulfill this obligation. What we need […]

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    Political History in the Digital Age: The challenges of archiving and analysing born digital sources.

Political History in the Digital Age: The challenges of archiving and analysing born digital sources.

The vast bulk of source material for historical research is still paper-based. But this is bound to change. Dr Helen McCarthy considers the lessons from the Mile End Institute’s conference on Contemporary Political History in the Digital Age. The specific challenges of using a ‘born digital source’ is an area that requires considerable attention. For political historians, the advent of […]

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    Credit where credit is due: Research parasites and tackling misconceptions about academic data sharing

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 […]

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    High prices to access scholarly research could drive developing country researchers to use pirate sites like SciHub.

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 […]

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    Write As If You Don’t Have the Data: The benefits of a free-writing phase.

Write As If You Don’t Have the Data: The benefits of a free-writing phase.

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 […]

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    The Next Decade of Data Science: Rethinking key challenges faced by big data researchers

The Next Decade of Data Science: Rethinking key challenges faced by big data researchers

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 […]

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    Book Review: Research Justice: Methodologies for Social Change

Book Review: Research Justice: Methodologies for Social Change

In the collection Research Justice: Methodologies for Social Change, edited by Andrew J. Jolivette in collaboration with the US non-profit organisation DataCenter: Research for Justice, a number of authors consider how researchers can contribute to the struggle for social justice through their research methodologies. While Helen Kara would have welcomed more reflection on the possible limitations of methodologies designed […]

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    Research in the age of mass surveillance: Finding an ethical consensus over new digital visual research methods.

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 […]

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  • Newton after William Blake by Eduardo Paolozzi 1995 at the British Library
    Permalink Newton after William Blake by Eduardo Paolozzi 1995 at the British LibraryGallery

    Standing on the shoulders of the Google giant: Sustainable discovery and Google Scholar’s comprehensive coverage.

Standing on the shoulders of the Google giant: Sustainable discovery and Google Scholar’s comprehensive coverage.

The 11th anniversary of Google Scholar passed yesterday. Max Kemman provides an overview of the growth and impact of the platform and also looks at why Google Scholar is virtually unrivaled. The scholarly community might ask whether it is entirely desirable that Google plays such an important role in the scholarly workflow. Not only does Google Scholar have a known effect on discovery and citation […]

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  • An unusual stand of ancient ponderosa pine forest growing out of the sand is the outstanding feature of the Lost Forest Research Natural Area, which is located in the northeast portion of the Christmas Valley Sand Dunes Area of Critical Environmental Concern. A remnant of a forest that existed in a cooler and wetter age, these pines survive on half the typical annual precipitation for this tree species due to unique soil and hydrologic properties of the area. The nearest forest is 40 miles to the northwest, yet the pines continue to reproduce and thrive in this environment. Old growth juniper groves also exist in the Lost Forest. Motorized vehicles are allowed in the Lost Forest on routes posted “open.” No cross country use is allowed. Camping is permissible in designated sites only.
    Permalink An unusual stand of ancient ponderosa pine forest growing out of the sand is the outstanding feature of the Lost Forest Research Natural Area, which is located in the northeast portion of the Christmas Valley Sand Dunes Area of Critical Environmental Concern. A remnant of a forest that existed in a cooler and wetter age, these pines survive on half the typical annual precipitation for this tree species due to unique soil and hydrologic properties of the area. The nearest forest is 40 miles to the northwest, yet the pines continue to reproduce and thrive in this environment. Old growth juniper groves also exist in the Lost Forest. Motorized vehicles are allowed in the Lost Forest on routes posted “open.” No cross country use is allowed. Camping is permissible in designated sites only.Gallery

    In a changing world, climate adaptation researchers play a key role in addressing risk and ethical responsibilities.

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 […]

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    Book Review: The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos by Leonard Mlodinow

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 […]

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    Researchers are not ‘hoodwinked’ victims. All choose to play the publishing game and some can choose to change it.

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 […]

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    Is withholding your data simply bad science, or should it fall under scientific misconduct?

Is withholding your data simply bad science, or should it fall under scientific misconduct?

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 […]

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