Understanding the relevance of ethics reviews of ICT research in UK computing departments using dialectical hermeneutics
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to attempt to investigate how Information and Communications Technology (ICT) researchers in UK computing departments address ethics in their research. Whilst research and innovation in ICT has blossomed in the last two decades, the ethical, social and legal challenges they present have also increased. However, the increasing attention the technical development receives has not been replicated in the area of developing effective guidelines that can address the moral issues inherent in ICT research. Design/methodology/approach – This research is qualitative and made use of interviews. The data analysis was done with dialectical hermeneutics. Through a dialectical hermeneutic process, this research unpacks different understandings of relevance attached to ethics reviews of ICT research in UK computing departments. Findings – The findings include that ethics reviews are relevant because; it is a moral duty, it improves trust for researchers, it is part of risk assessment, it is in compliance with the law and it is a sustainable act. Practical implications – These various understandings illustrate an important dialectic process on the current state of the art in ICT research. Social implications – It asks to what degree the currently dominant model of ethics review based on biomedical ethics is optimal to ICT. Originality/value – It proposes a framework that can effectively help researchers and administrators to ensure responsible research and innovation in ICT. Finally, it identifies that ICT researchers would benefit from the developing repertoire of responsible research innovation.
Citation:Eke, D. O., Stahl, B. C. and Fidler, C. (2015) Understanding the relevance of ethics reviews of ICT research in UK computing departments using dialectical hermeneutics. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, 13 (1), pp. 28–38
Research Group:Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility