Architecting Global Ethics Awareness in Transnational Research Programs

by John Murray

Traditionally, the ethical principles that guide scientific studies involving people are primarily intended to cover direct human–‐centered research. However, in the modern online world, cyber–‐centric research is inherently data–‐centered in nature, and researchers frequently operate with limited awareness of the potential human risks and effects of their activities. Indeed, the nature of their work is such that any organizational oversight of their research may be absent.
Recently, a series of updates to the U.S. policies and regulations governing Institutional Review Boards have been proposed, which are likely to have a significant impact on the online research community. However, since online studies inherently cross the boundaries of multiple jurisdictions, there is now an even greater need for harmonizing ethics observance regulations and guidelines in a global context.