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

Pablo Diaz

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

Keywords :

data management, ethics, regulations, data protection

Abstract :

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.

Recommendations for researchers:
  • 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.

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