Investigating the current state of the art on Ethics Reviews of Information and Communications Technology Research in UK Universities




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is a concept that represents the convergence of some defining technologies of our time (information technology, computer technology and media technology) and the increasing influences its research and usage have on the society today. With such distinctive features as pervasiveness, ubiquity, malleability, interactivity, augmentation, autonomy and virtualization, ICT research and usage provide an array of ethical and social challenges. However, most contemporary research on ICT ethics concentrates only either on the usage of ICT artefacts or on questions that raise significant theoretical or practical interest such as ICT implants or eHealth. There has been little research on the ethical and social issues associated with research and development. This research draws attention back to the beginning- research and development. It seeks to find out how ethical issues are considered in ICT research being carried out in the UK computing departments/faculties. It investigates the current state of the art with regard to ethics reviews of ICT research through establishing its relevance, availability and effectiveness. The fact that high quality researches (including European projects) in ICT are currently being carried out in so many UK computing departments, which also produce engineers for IT companies, justifies the choice of the UK in this research. Even though a quantitative tool of questionnaire was used as part of the data collection methods, the interpretive and subjective nature of this research find reference in the use of interviews for the main data collection and dialectical hermeneutics for data analysis. Through a dialectical hermeneutic process, the different understandings on availability, relevance and effectiveness of ethics reviews of ICT research emerged. These understandings showed the strengths and weaknesses of the current ethics review procedures in the UK computing departments which provided the basis for relevant recommendations to policy makers.





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