[Air-L] research ethics world wide? (was Re: NYT story on academic facebook research)

Ulf-Dietrich Reips ureips at genpsy.unizh.ch
Mon Dec 17 09:32:36 PST 2007

Hi Peter, Charles,
it seems one crucial issue is whether the law system has both privacy 
laws and laws governing the protection of research, and how these 
relate to each other - generally and in court decisions.
Best --u

At 9:32 Uhr +0100 17.12.2007, Charles Ess wrote:
>  > Now my question for cross border scholars are the research ethics
>>  much different based on the privacy laws in Canada, the USA, Europe
>>  or Asia?
>>  Of course I am more interested in privacy law differences than the
>>  actual ethics. But I am curious if there is an effect from the laws
>>  on the ethics?
>A starting point, actually, is the AoIR ethical guidelines for Internet
>research (2002 - from the website) which, among other things, paid careful
>attention to the relationship between diverse cultural expectations re.
>privacy, data privacy protection laws, and research ethics.
>Roughly, the E.U. has the most stringent data privacy protection laws - but,
>until recently at least, nothing like the U.S. IRBs.  Research ethics, at
>the risk of a wildly wholesale and overgeneralized statement, at least in
>the northern countries, are learned and enforced more informally than
>formally.  (Especially in Germany and Scandinavia, there is a prevailing
>trust that people will do the right thing - and if they don't, the error can
>be corrected more effectively through informal rather than formal channels.)
>In Japan, China and Thailand, there is a nascent attention to Internet
>research ethics - but shaded, as one might expect, by very different
>traditions regarding the understanding of "privacy" (generally more negative
>than in a West shaped by modernity and industrialization since the 1700s,
>and, when positive, more collective-familiar than individual).
>Comparatively limited data privacy protections exist - but the situation is
>changing, in part as cultures, and thereby values/assumptions/beliefs re.
>privacy, etc. hybridize (in part through the influence of our beloved
>Internet ...)
>Clearly, all of this is work very much in progress.  We heard from scholars
>and researchers from around the globe at this year's AoIR panel on research
>ethics, chaired by Elizabeth Buchanan (the chair of the AoIR ethics working
>group).  Notes from that session should be online soon - and I would look
>for more to come from the forthcoming _International Journal on Information
>Research Ethics_ (the first issue will be online soon).
>Interestingly, a highlight for me was to learn from our European colleagues
>that U.S.-like IRBs were becoming more and more the norm for them as well.
>In the meantime, the best single article I know of recently on
>cross-cultural comparisons of this sort is Dan Burk's
>Privacy and Property in the Global Datasphere, in S. Hongladarom and C. Ess
>(eds.), _Information Technology Ethics: Global Perspectives_, 94-107.
>(Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2007.)
>there's a ton more out there (including some of my own articles in _Ethics
>and Information Technology_) - but I hope this is a helpful start!
>What would be even better would be for our colleagues in different parts of
>the world to report / comment on this - Elizabeth and I will take careful
>On that happy thought,
>- c.
>Distinguished Research Professor,
>Global Studies Center <http://www.drury.edu/gp21>
>Drury University
>Springfield, MO  65802  USA
>Guest Professor (fall, 2007)
>Department of Media Studies
>IT Park
>Helsingforsgade 14
>8200 Aarhus N
>Office: (45) 8942 9219
>Mobile: (45) 2986 8967
>President, Association of Internet Researchers <www.aoir.org>
>Co-Editor, International Journal of Internet Research Ethics
>Co-chair, CATaC conferences <www.catacconference.org>
>Professor II, Globalization and Applied Ethics Programmes
>Exemplary persons seek harmony, not sameness. -- Analects 13.23
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