In research ethics, one size doesn't fit all 2

January 21, 2010

I broadly agree with Ron Iphofen, particularly his thought that the various disciplines within the social sciences should come together to discuss research ethics. This is probably no surprise as I am a fellow member of the Academy of Social Sciences (AcSS) working group on research ethics.

However, I must strike a different note to his suggestion that social science bodies engage in unnecessary duplication of effort and "professional protectionism" in this area. While the AcSS provides a useful forum to discuss research ethics, it is equally important that subject groups and individual academics continue to discuss and take active responsibility for the matter. It is vital that discussions are maintained at the grass-roots level across the social sciences and the wider academy. Only by doing so will we avoid the trap of bureaucratising ethics to the detriment of research. Indeed, I am sure that this is something Ron would agree with.

Nathan Emmerich, Queen's University Belfast, Member of the AcSS working group on research ethics.

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