Operating in the open raises new forms of ethical issues. If you are interested in exploring these issues more in-depth, then the Open Research course has a section on Ethics. This is partly based on our experiences as open researchers, but also draws on the basic principles of research ethics and moral philosophy.  This section contains a framework designed to help you think through the ethical issues around your own open research as well as other kinds of research intervention.

The questions that might arise from operating in the open include: When can data be shared?  What differences does openness make to our obligations and responsibilities to others?  Is it always right to use openly available data from social networks?   Should open researchers use absolutely anything as research data? What and when should you disseminate?

You may need to pay particular attention to these aspects when conducting open research. Most research projects will require ethics approaval, and it is good practice to have an Ethics framework that demonstrates how you will approach the research, and that you have considered the ethical issues involved. The OER Hub Ethics Framework may provide a useful basis for this, although it will obviously vary according to country and institution and should not be interpreted as a legal document. It can be found here: http://oerhub.net/reports/oerrh-ethics-manual/



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