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Data archives and the ethics of research data

Presenter 1
Laurence Holton
The London School of Economics and Political Science
Presenter 2
Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda
GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences

In this paper we investigate the effect of different legal requirements and attitudes towards data protection, intellectual property, and ethical review processes and procedures in Germany and the UK to illustrate the divergence in regulation. We especially focus on formal and informal ways of data sharing across disciplines and countries, highlighting paths to ethical and responsible data sharing. Data archives often provide discipline specialized research data management support services. An aspect of support is addressing legal data protection requirements, intellectual property standards, and ethical research practices. Researchers encounter laws concerning data protection and intellectual property throughout the data-lifecycle, but established research practices can clash with new legal frameworks (see debate over the proposed reform of European Union data protection rules). Likewise, changing public attitudes to research and notions of consent can affect conceptions of what constitutes ethical research. Archives can help researchers navigate an environment which simultaneously pushes data sharing, and consideration of the individual’s right to privacy and protection. However, doing so often requires negotiating the gaps and contradictions of different national laws, research cultures, and funding environments.

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