What role do ethics play in determining which researchers you partner with? My role at my organization (a citizen science, environmental and human health non-profit) is in project creation, this involves a lot of research on folks asking important scientific questions. Within the org we talk a lot about who we will and won’t partner with. For example, an oil company wanted to partner with us at one point and we declined because we don’t want to be tied in that closely with the extractive industries or green washing. We’re hoping to develop a decision tree, of sorts, to help guide or decisions in partnership development. Does anyone have anything similar? Or ideas on what we should consider?
I am a citizen scientist. While some ethics play an important part of any research project and with possibly selecting partners you might consider compatible, but be careful that your desire for alignment doesn’t result in research bias. Identify those ethical values that are independent from the research and those that could get intertwined with the research itself. While you may not like the ethical values of certain potential partners, unless you have a brand to protect, you may have to dance with the devil in order to get real answers.
Thanks for sharing your insights, as a citizen scientist, I’m curious how would you feel if you found out a project you were volunteering on was funded by bad actors? Would that have an impact on your trust in the org you were volunteering through?
Funding can come from many places. The most common sources of funding are government, foundations, industry, or crowd-sourced donations. Three of these including government, foundations and crowd-sourced donations are relatively untraceable in terms of ethical or moral background of the donors. This money comes from taxes, philanthropy, or general donations. The only source of funds that may have some heritage might be from specific industries. Whether the money comes from Big Oil, Big Phrma, Big Data, or Big Chem it would be difficult to refuse their funding based on the ethical dilemma alone. As a citizen scientist I may partially blame Big Oil for global warming, but that wouldn’t stop me from participating in an environmental study on global warming that may be partially funded by Big Oil. Similarly, the Big Chem companies may be contributing to water contamination around the world, but if they are willing to help fund water quality studies through a citizen science project, I wouldn’t not participate because of it. The only time I would withdraw my support is if the industry player was in control of the project itself. If the Big X industry player wanted to provide all of the funding and control the design of the experiment and the reporting of the results, then I would not participate. The project management would need to be independent of the funding source.
Hope this helps. A vote of one.
Super helpful, thank you
With me absolutely.
I don’t by anything I know which is made Eg by nestle - as nestle buyes Water Wells and sells it to the people to a high price.
Or I don’t by energy out of atomic power.
Well, I think I can’t select everything that wents bad in the world and can only try to harm less.
But I would be really annoyed to find out if a study that I would take part would cooperate with environmental bad behaviour or misuse of people.
But I know and understand it is really hard to find out what someone as a sponsor does or doesn’t.
So when a firm is your sponsor to the best of your knowledge and you find later that this firm did something irresponsible I would expect you to stop the connection at once.
In Munich in a museum was a Exhibition about coffee. Part of it was a kind of puzzle what environmental and social standarts one will select to be hold up. Fazit was - you can’t have it all. And nearly everyone in the group did select different mixtures of standarts.
Well. I 'd say, social the absolute no go is children work. Work without protection from chemics (like in Gold mines with Mercury, Glyphosat, dye textiles,…)
With environmental it is much more difficult to find a Standart which everyone would agree.
For me it is atomic power, destruction of nature like rainforest (palm oil…).
And even if the list is important to me, I know I can’t keep up to everything…
I would recommend that you make a kind of list what behaviour is the “bad 10 things” or so. And maybe you communicate this with your science team /citizens.
Like "we don’t tolerate… X, y, z, and we do everything not to tolerate this with our support /finance.
We try to act responsible for… (and we know we’re working on…)
Hope you get the idea.
Think your guideline you mentioned is a good thing and a great idea!
Best regards, Eva