Ethics in the era of open research data: some points of reference


FORS Guide Nº 03

How to cite

Diaz, P. (2019). Ethics in the era of open research data: some points of reference. FORS Guide No. 03, Version 1.0. Lausanne: Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences FORS. doi:10.24449/FG-2018-00003


This document provides points of reference for researchers seeking to manage their data in the most ethical way possible in the era of open research data. Through a presentation of binding and non-binding regulatory frameworks, it addresses some points to be taken into account in order to make data as open as possible while ensuring an adequate level of protection.


  • Researchers should be aware of the different regulatory frameworks that apply to their field of research and institutional settings (law, disciplinary ethical codes, university charters, etc.)
  • Researchers should ensure that consent is truly free and informed. To do this, the respondent’s interests must be put first – unless the social benefits outweigh the risks involved.
  • Researchers should conduct a risk assessment for any project, even when the consent of the participants has been obtained.
  • Researchers should seek advice from their universities or relevant ethics commissions as soon as they are in doubt about the ethical implications of their research projects.
  • Researchers should be aware that ethical issues are deeply practical and should, therefore, avoid excessive formalism.
  • Researchers should communicate more about the ethical issues of their research projects in order to enrich the literature on the subject and create more collective knowledge.


Copyright: © the authors 2019. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0)