Category: Research Ethics

What is the difference between ‘doing Digital Humanities’ and using digital tools for research?

Tara Thomson shares her experience attending a participant-driven ‘unconference’ for digital humanities students and scholars. The event format aims to be democratic, aligned with how the Digital Humanities has aimed to build itself on devolved authority. But disciplinary knowledge is not always equally shared. The discussions highlighted problems of access and exclusion as primary concerns for the field. Some felt excluded from the Digital Humanities as a […]

Why Inaccessibility? Despite progressive tone, attacks on academics’ lack of clarity can be profoundly regressive.

It has become popular to denounce academic writing as elitist and unhelpful. Eric Detweiler argues that inaccessibility may be a more complex issue. “Inaccessible” writing may be the result of  an author trying to do things with language that conventional, “clear” uses of language cannot. Furthermore, these critiques are often launched at marginalised fields that are writing in non-standard ways […]

Book Review: Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research edited by Donatella della Porta

This collection aims to offer a practical, how-to approach to researching social movement studies, with each author writing on a method they have used extensively in their own work. Leonardo Custódio is impressed by the book’s invitation to researchers to reflect about different approaches to studying mass demonstrations, protests, and other forms of collective action for socioeconomic and political change. This piece originally appeared on LSE […]

Replication is not about making or breaking careers: it is about providing an opportunity to move science forward.

Replication and closer scrutiny of published findings are generally welcome in the scientific community, but questions have been raised over how replication attempts are being reported. Whilst there are certainly arguments for more friendly and cooperative tones to scientific debate, Dorothy Bishop welcomes this next chapter in rigorous debate. Reputation and career prospects will, at the end of the day, come […]

How competitive should science be? External reward structure may inhibit creative thinking and innovation.

Competition for funding and jobs is often cited as a helpful mechanism for spurning innovation and productivity in science. But Jessica Polka challenges this idea by drawing from the results of an experiment known as Duncker’s candle problem. The experiment revealed external rewards can actually inhibit creative thinking. If science is like the version of the candle problem, are we […]

Reconceptualising risk in research: The call to do no harm goes far beyond the field.

A session at the Royal Geographical Society’s annual conference will explore the physical, emotional and reputational risks involved in doing research, with the hope that this will in turn, provide a starting point for a more comprehensive framework for understanding how risk operates. Amiera Sawas will be co-chairing the session and writes here on her experiences with risks in the […]

Patenting of life-saving drugs has created a global health crisis where human life has become a commercial commodity.

Millions of people—mostly in developing countries—lack access to life-saving drugs. Righting this imbalance is among the most important challenges of global public health of this century, argues Akansha Mehta. There is scant evidence to prove that frameworks for intellectual property rights and patent protection have benefited research, development and innovation in developing countries. When the laws of trade and commerce override the human right […]

Neglecting to confront conflicts of interest in industry-sponsored research unfairly burdens early career researchers

As public funding shrinks, industry-sponsored research may be a remedy. But Rebecca Cassidy reports back from a workshop on how the pressure caused by scarcity of funding and conflicts of interest in certain fields falls disproportionately on early career researchers, the most vulnerable members of the higher education precariat. Those who have yet to build up the social capital which comes from […]

Scientific Misbehavior in Economics: Unacceptable research practice linked to perceived pressure to publish.

Upholding research integrity depends on our ability to understand the extent of misconduct. Sarah Necker describes her landmark study on economists’ research norms and practices. Fabrication, falsification and plagiarism are widely considered to be unjustifiable, but misbehaviour is still prevalent. For example, 1-3% of economists surveyed admit that they have accepted or offered gifts, money, or sex in exchange for co-authorship, […]