AMC Colloquium: ‘Research Ethics: A Matter of Compliance?’ on 25 January

AMC Colloquium: ‘Research Ethics: A Matter of Compliance?’

When: Wednesday 25 January, 15.30-17.30
Where: Spiegelzaal


  • 15.30 – 16.00: AMC business
  • 16.00 – 16.30: Wiebe Bijker, chair Ethical Review Committee Inner City Faculties (ERCIC)
  • 16.30 – 17.00: Sharing experiences (Aagje Swinnen, Vivian van Saaze, Renée van de Vall, Ike Kamphof and Leonie Cornips)
  • 17.00 – 17.30: Plenary discussion

The last decade has seen a rise in formal research ethics procedures in the form of ethical guidelines and approval processes. Whereas ethical review procedures have been part and parcel of medical and clinical research, such policies and procedures are increasingly more common to research at large. On the one hand, ethics review procedures are put in place in response to malpractice and to ensure scientific integrity. On the other hand,
ethical norms are developed to protect the researcher as well as his or her ‘data subjects’ as these standards are understood to support the values ‘that are essential to collaborative work, such as trust, accountability, mutual respect, and fairness’ (Resnik 2015). A third, related development is the requirement to store primary research data in semi-public repositories.

While universities and other research institutes are still grappling with the instalment of ethical committees and ever more strict ethical requirements from funding bodies, researchers are voicing their concerns towards, in the words of Sharon Macdonald (2015), ‘increasing codification and bureaucratisation’. As an ethnographic researcher, Macdonald for example has argued that ethnography is often ill at ease with the policies developed in institutional contexts that are initially developed to serve all disciplines. Macdonald’s concern might be highly applicable to the research AMC members are conducting as tensions may arise between the requirements posed by funding bodies, publication venues and those of individual research practices in interdisciplinary settings.

This AMC colloquium will discuss these developments from the perspective of the Ethical Review Committee Inner City Faculties (ERCIC) at Maastricht University and from experiences of AMC researchers.

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