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Doing Science openly is great in general but it may come with some ethical implications or difficulties. Has anyone elaborated this yet? All I could find is a brief summary of a discussion about Research Ethics and Open Science in 2015 by Jessica Parland von Essen. In summary the following issues came to my head so far:

  • Sensitive data about people (e.g. in sociology, ethnology...)
  • Citing people without compromising their integrity (e.g. interviews)
  • Animal testing and other possibly unethical research practice
  • Potentially dangerous information (chemicals, drugs...)
  • Safety of researcher when working on controversial topics (religion, animal studies...)
  • Oversimplification when presenting research
  • The line between open presentation and improper marketing
  • Disclosure of private information about researchers (names, dates, pictures, places visited...)
  • Commercial interest

Sure there are no simple answers to ethical questions but who has tried to find?

1 Answer

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by (62 points)
The list in the original question focuses on ethics as researchers relate to the public. Another perspective to consider is ethics among collegiate researchers. One argument against open science is that it hopes that all researchers will have good morals and share the commons when actually too many people or corporations behave poorly by taking without giving back.

To have good ethics give as much credit as possible for re-using anything which is open. Giving attribution is often the strongest restriction on using free and open content. Even though it is a modest requirement, often people who re-use open tools and content fail to give attribution to their source.

Part of what makes open communities work is good identification of what is open and mutual recognition of who is contributing open content to distinguish it from non-open content. It is a sad experience when one person produces open content and shares it only requesting attribution, but then another entity takes it and reuses it without even giving the attribution. Read the terms of licenses give attribution according to the terms of any license. Even without a license it is good character to give attribution to sources, cite precedents, and thank the groups which share their tools, data, and content.

The Wikimedia and Creative Commons communities discuss this issue intensely as a foundation of these sharing models is attribution for contributors.

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