16.392 Internet research ethics

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Mon Dec 30 2002 - 02:14:04 EST

  • Next message: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty

                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 392.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2002 07:08:11 +0000
             From: Charles Ess <cmess@lib.drury.edu>
             Subject: perhaps worthy of notice..


    While it may not be quite central to humanities computing as it is regularly
    discussed and (reasonably) well defined by Willard and many others who
    participate on this list - I cannot repress the impulse to pass on the

    As was announced yesterday (Friday, 13 December) on the listserv of the
    Association of Internet Researchers (<www.aoir.org>),
    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.

    The document may be retrieved from <www.aoir.org/reports/ethics.pdf>.

    Quoting from the announcement:

    > 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.

    As I also noted to the aoir membership:

    > 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!

    Why might all of this be of interest to HUMANIST folk? If nothing else, it
    may suggest that for all the challenges and difficulties of utilizing these
    technologies in humane ways towards humane ends - and that across the great
    diversity of cultural differences and ethical traditions connected so easily
    by these new media -- it _can_ be done, at least in small measure, in even
    one of the most contentious and yet central domains of humanist inquiry,
    i.e., ethics.

    In my mind, moreover, this work and its results fits reasonably well with
    what I perceive to be an emerging coherence to our working definitions of
    "humanities computing" - though, of course, it is a first marker of humane
    discourse that we may well want to debate that claim (smile)!

    In any case, I hope you will find this document of interest. Additional
    comments and suggestions always welcome. And let me echo Willard's
    solstitial greetings with my own.

    Cheers and best wishes for the new year (as measured by the calendar
    prevailing in these parts...) -

    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/

    Exemplary persons seek harmony, not sameness. -- Analects 13.23

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Dec 30 2002 - 02:18:12 EST