::: thinking research ethics & online research(ers) together

7 Jun

Lately, Stuart Geiger has called for reflecting on this year’s Wikimania the topic of research ethics:

Looking through the submissions for Wikimania, I see that there is nothing yet on the subject of researchers in Wikipedia and there could be a good panel or workshop discussion on this topic. At the moment, the theme would be something along the lines of “Researchers in my Wikipedia? It’s more likely than you think” and have wiki researchers on the panel who will talk about ethics, protocols, methodologies, and their relation to community norms and policies. (Source: wiki-research-l)

Also, he has written about what it means to blog as a researcher:

Maybe it is part of being a grad student, where I feel afraid that I’ll accidentally offend someone or, more likely, just say something stupid. Maybe it is because my site is first and foremost an academic portfolio constructed with blogging software, a professional, polished, public space in which I can present a slightly more interactive CV. Maybe it is because I’ve been part of an pedagogic culture in which blogging is overwhelmingly just a digital form of the standard one-page essay summarizing and responding to the week’s course readings. And as I write that last sentence — which may be interpreted as a slight jab towards some of my favorite professors — I realize exactly what my problem is: I have to stop myself from obsessing too much, or else I’ll never actually blog. (Source: Technically Human)

I answered to him because I think he raised two very important issues that are strongly interrelated. New practices and forms of  ‘scientific’ communication such as blogging but also procedures and unwritten rules of online research make me think about what is currently happening to research(ers)? Are we unconsciously adopting ‘validate-ex-post-practices’ or is this just a new fruitful way of enriching concepts and methodologies such a grounded theory?

Personally, I do like the idea of posting a monthly blog entry if the times allows for doing it. I also like experimentig and testing with new scenarios and procedures, also to have a critical look at it. That is why I posted a request in the English Wikipedia group (SRAG) that just set up in order to approve so called “Subject Recruitments”. I will be the first case that this group looks at. What happened so far? They made me answering questions I do not have had found answers for myself so far… I might look at it as an extension/modification of writings memos but the forms and norms may also influence research slightly by its own; i.e. in the case of SRAG I got forced to ‘close’ meanings (e.g. political knowledge) that I am currently trying to fill from various perspectives with all kind of material.

I am looking forward to discuss this on the Wikimania, research ethics should be seen from three sides: researchers, technology used/implemented, research subjects/objects!

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