Article

Is It Time to Re-Evaluate the Ethics Governance of Social Media Research?

Details

Citation

Samuel G, Ahmed W, Kara H, Jessop C, Quinton S & Sanger S (2018) Is It Time to Re-Evaluate the Ethics Governance of Social Media Research?. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 13 (4), pp. 452-454. https://doi.org/10.1177/1556264618793773

Abstract
This article reports on a U.K. workshop on social media research ethics held in May 2018. There were 10 expert speakers and an audience of researchers, research ethics committee members, and research institution representatives. Participants reviewed the current state of social media ethics, discussing well-rehearsed questions such as what needs consent in social media research, and how the public/private divide differs between virtual and real-life environments. The lack of answers to such questions was noted, along with the difficulties posed for ethical governance structures in general and the work of research ethics committees in particular. Discussions of these issues enabled the creation of two recommendations. The first is for research ethics committees and journal editors to add the category of ‘data subject research’ to the existing categories of ‘text research’ and ‘human subject research’. This would reflect the fact that social media research does not fall into either of the existing categories and so needs a category of its own. The second is that ethical issues should be considered at all stages of social media research, up to and including aftercare. This acknowledges that social media research throws up a large number of ethical issues throughout the process which, under current arrangements for ethical research governance, risks remaining unaddressed.

Keywords
social media; ethics; research ethics; research ethics committees

Journal
Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics: Volume 13, Issue 4

StatusPublished
FundersThe Wellcome Trust
Publication date31/10/2018
Publication date online24/08/2018
Date accepted by journal24/08/2018
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/33442
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISSN1556-2646
eISSN1556-2654

People (1)

People

Dr Wasim Ahmed
Dr Wasim Ahmed

Senior Lecturer in Digital Business, Management, Work and Organisation