Research Ethics and Ethical Research: An Example of Integrating Ethics in R&I Research

The role of ethics in research and innovation projects (R&I) has become much more important in recent decades. Particularly, security-related research is required to reflect on normative issues within the research process. At the same time, the form in which ethics is addressed differs greatly. This is not only due to different research agendas (e.g. ethics as an evaluation criterion of research or a research endeavour in itself) and aims (e.g. technology development, social or medical research) but also because of different perceptions with regard to the role of ethics within the research project (e.g. ethics as an external standard to comply with or ethics as a research strand within an interdisciplinary research project).

As differences in the level of ethical reflection are not problematic as such, but might be rooted in the specific research interest itself, it might be difficult for those in charge of performing ethical research in R&I projects to develop ethics research designs for new projects. Focussing on security research, we present in this contribution, how ethics was included into the work performed in a trans- and interdisciplinary EU research project. Thereby, four levels of ethical reflection are distinguished and illustrated with examples. These levels can be subsumed under the categories research ethics and ethical research.

The paper is intended as one example of how ethics can be integrated into security-related research, which might and should be complemented with other approaches in order to help researchers developing an ethical inventory of procedures to conduct ethical research in security domain.

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