[Air-l] Ethics statement adoption

Steve Jones sjones at uic.edu
Fri Dec 13 09:43:15 PST 2002


We are very pleased to announce that the ethics committee document on
Internet research ethics was unanimously approved by voting members at the
close of the vote on midnight, Wednesday, November 27, 2002.

For the first time, there now exists a relatively complete ethics statement
tailored to the distinctive venues and methodologies of Internet research,
one which - like the professional ethics codes of other disciplinary
organizations - reflects the considered ethical judgments, insights, and
practices of those active in the multiple fields of Internet research.

Researchers, students, ethicists, and related institutional bodies and
academic organizations in the domain of Internet research may now turn to
the ethics document as at least a starting point for their inquiries and
reflection.  This starting point reflects not only nearly two years of
collaborative effort of the ethics working committee, as composed of
ethicists and researchers from 11 different countries - but also the
endorsement of aoir members at large.

Of course, as we noted in the pre-vote discussion of the document, while the
document stands as something of a milestone in the development of Internet
research ethics - it is by no means the final word.  Rather, the ethics
working committee will continue to explore and debate how new experiences,
issues and insights affiliated with Internet research evoke ethical
challenges and demand ethically justifiable resolutions.   Just as the
current document was immeasurably enriched by comments and contributions
from aoir members - we very much hope that the aoir membership will continue
to call attention to issues and resources in Internet research ethics for
debate and deliberation by the ethics working committee.  As the ethics
working committee thus elaborates and refines the current document, it will
be returned to aoir members in updated form for your review, comment, and,
where appropriate, endorsement.

Our thanks, finally, not only to the many aoir members who contributed in a
variety of ways to the document - but also to the members of the ethics
working committee who have worked for nearly two years to develop an ethics
statement with a daunting job description:

* it must reflect the wide diversity of disciplinary approaches - in both
the social sciences and the humanities - to Internet research;

* it must take in and, where possible, coherently synthesize the diverse
ethical approaches and cultural traditions represented among the global
community of Internet researchers;

* it must address a wide audience - researchers, ethicists, students, and
professionals engaged in Internet research in a variety of capacities - in
ways that are both well-grounded in philosophical ethics and immediately
practical for researchers and others with varying degrees of familiarity
with ethics as a discipline; and

* it must meet the approval of aoir members!

The members of the ethics committee have undertaken this task with
unstinting generosity, insight, and spirited but collegial debate.  If you
ever find the ethics document to be useful, it is these people you will want
to thank:

Poline Bala - Malaysia;
Amy Bruckman - USA;
Sarina Chen - USA;
Brenda Danet - Israel/USA;
Dag Elgesem - Norway;
Andrew Feenberg - USA;
Stine Gotved - Denmark;
Christine M. Hine - UK;
Soraj Hongladarom - Thailand;
Jeremy Hunsinger - USA;
Klaus Jensen - Denmark;
Storm King - USA;
Chris Mann - UK;
Helen Nissenbaum - USA;
Kate O'Riordan - UK;
Paula Roberts - Australia;
Wendy Robinson - USA;
Leslie Shade - Canada;
Malin Sveningson - Sweden;
Leslie Tkach - Japan;
John Weckert - Australia.

With gratitude and all best wishes,

Steve Jones
President, Association of Internet Researchers
Professor of Communication
University of Illinois at Chicago/USA

Charles Ess
Director, Interdisciplinary Studies Center
Drury University
900 N. Benton Ave.                          Voice: 417-873-7230
Springfield, MO  65802  USA            FAX: 417-873-7435
Home page:  http://www.drury.edu/ess/ess.html
Co-chair, CATaC 2002: http://www.it.murdoch.edu.au/~sudweeks/catac02/

PS: My special thanks go to Charles Ess for his leadership, effort 
and time guiding the ethics committee. -Sj

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