EDEV_507 Week 6_4

I did the LAUR754 Ethical Issues for Practitioner-Researcher Masterclass in July. Doing the week-long course is to be recommended, and I expect that you will derive much benefit from it. (Ah! This reminded me of a question I had about the ethics of reproducing/drawing upon our earlier work. That question is now in the other discussion forum.)

One part of your post in particular drew my attention. You talk about the “moral and legal obligation” (Aman, 2016) concerning research dissemination, and you include both research participants and the general public in the scope of that dissemination. I wonder to which extent researchers are actually obligated to report their research. Oliver makes a surprising claim on this point;

“If it is intended that this [research report] will be an article in an academic journal, which is clearly in the public domain, there will be no difficulty” (2010, p. 65).

It is easily arguable that “the public domain” is not the same thing as expensive journal articles that are hidden behind both paywalls and the general inaccessibility to the general public of academic publishing. Even researchers have great difficulty in accessing certain publications. The general public in most cases do not even know about those publications, and locating them is practically impossible. Furthermore, if the funding body for a research plan wishes to keep the final report within its own domain, can the researcher override that wish? Oliver (2010) claims no.

If I felt that I was under a moral obligation to disseminate my research to the public domain but could not (due to circumstances beyond my control), I would begin to feel uncomfortable. This creates an ethical contradiction: should the ethical duty (i.e. comfort) to conduct research result in ethical discomfort? Because of this contradiction, personally, I would not link the ethical action of research—necessarily—to its dissemination. These two issues would be better kept separate. What do you think?


Aman, J. (2016, November 16). RE: Week 6 – Ethical issues in research [Online discussion post]. Retrieved from https://my.ohecampus.com/lens/home?locale=en_us#

Oliver, P. (2010). The student’s guide to research ethics (2nd ed.). Maidenhead: Open University Press.

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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