Research Ethics

Blog posts and resources relating to research ethics in the social sciences. To start a new discussion on ethics, visit the forum via the above link.


Unknown Unknowns: The War on Null and Negative Results

The Wellcome Trust, a large funder of biomedical research, is keen to ensure that the findings of that research are widely and openly shared. Here, Jonathon Kram and Adam Dinsmore from the trust’s evaluation team discuss why any apparent bias against writing up and publishing certain types of results would impede scientific progress.

5 years ago
Myers Briggs results

Myers-Briggs at Work? Might Be a Terrible Idea (MBTI)

Academics already tend to have a bone to pick with the Myers Briggs Type Indicator as anything other than a parlor game. Nonetheless, while the personality test has a hold on the popular imagination it shouldn’t enter the workplace.

5 years ago
Danger sign

The Risks–Both Serious and Subtle–of Fieldwork

Amiera Sawas writes here on her experiences with risks in the field and beyond, finding that institutional protocols are undoubtedly robust on a wide range of physical threats, but more subtle threats, like sexual harassment, which cross psychological and physical lines, are not always explicitly dealt with.

5 years ago
data protection key

European Scientists Fear Data Protection Overreach

Raising the drumbeat of alarm before a final European Parliament ruling later this year, a coalition of the continent’s research organizations have made explicit their opposition to new rules that they say would impede social science and medical research.

6 years ago
MIT Center logo

A Social Science Audit for Facebook’s News Feed?

How can the public learn the role of algorithms in their daily lives, evaluating the law and ethicality of systems like the Facebook News Feed, search engines, or airline booking systems? Earlier this month Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society hosted a conversation about the idea of social science audits of algorithms, and J. Nathan Matias reports on the discourse.

6 years ago
Corruption woodcut

Economists Behaving Badly Linked to Pressure to Publish

Sarah Necker describes her landmark study on economists’ research norms and practices and finds that while we all agree that fabrication, falsification and plagiarism are bad, a few academics admit they have accepted or offered gifts, money, or sex in exchange for co-authorship, data or promotion.

6 years ago

To Err Is Human, To Study Errors Is Science

The possible retraction of a high profile paper in the medical sciences offers a teachable moment about replication, peer review, cognitive bias and the beauty and beastliness that can be science.

6 years ago

Tamiflu and the Ethics of the British Medical Journal

No one expected Tamiflu to be a wonder drug, but indications are that it’s moderately useful in fighting a serious public health threat. But that message was lost last week in an ill-starred rush to beat up on ‘wicked’ Big Pharma, argues Robert Dingwall.

6 years ago