Ethics of field research: Do journals set the standard?

Science and Engineering Ethics 5 (3):375-382 (1999)
Abstract
To determine whether ethical issues concerned with field research are addressed in the peer-review process, instructions to authors and reviewers of 141 (mainly natural science) journals were examined to ascertain how often ethical issues were mentioned. Only one-third (n=41) of responding journals addressed ethical issues in their instructions to authors or reviewers. When ethical issues were considered, most of the journals limited their concerns to ethical issues associated with animal and general human experimentation. No journal mentioned ethical practices in working with indigenous peoples or on traditional lands. Only two journals addressed the ethics of research in sensitive areas in their instructions to authors, only one in its instructions to reviewers. We suggest that peer-reviewed journals respond to an emerging issue in ecological research by formally incorporating research ethics into their instructions to authors and reviewers. Furthermore, these instructions should address the ethical issues associated with field research and in working with indigenous peoples and on traditional lands.
Keywords ethies  field research  sensitive areas  indigenous research  journal instructions
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