ETHICS IN LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE RESEARCH
(Ётика исследований в области библиотековедени¤ и информатики)
УAlthough LIS has imported [research methodologies] from other disciplines, it has not turned its attention to Сresearch ethicsТ to the extent of the fields it borrows fromФ. However, a few books and articles have been concerned, at least in part, with ethical issues somewhat specific to LIS practitioners and researchers. Westbrook (2001), for example, in her book on the analysis of community information needs, incorporates guidelines for ethical practices as appropriate. These guidelines stress that anonymity, or confidentiality, of everyone involved must be maintained; that library services should never appear to depend on patron participation in the study; and no harm should come to any subject (p. 47). She reminds the reader that upon completion of the study all confidential data should be destroyed, including interview transcripts, lists of subject names, and observation notes and that both electronic and paper files should be weeded as much as possible. Westbrook also stresses the importance of emphasizing ethical practices when training staff to conduct information needs analyses.
In his article on the ethical considerations of information professionals (1992), Froehlich discusses the ethical issues that can arise when decisions are being made about who should publish research results and take the credit. Other issues related to the publication process can include plagiarism, falsification or fabrication of data, dual submissions of manuscripts to journals, and duplicate publication of identical or largely identical manuscripts without permission from the editors (p. 309). Losee and Worley (1993), in their book about research for information professionals, also provide brief, but useful, information about ethics in the dissemination of research results. They, too, deal with plagiarism and the submission of results to more than one journal or conference. Chapter 9 of a book by Hauptman (2002) includes a discussion of ethical issues related to research and publication by academic librarians.
Smith, in her 1994 article, focuses on the ethics of research on the uses of information provided by librarians. In other words, to what extent are librarians justified in investigating the information use activities of patrons in order to improve information services provided to them? What are the ethics of user studies? Smith noted that there is a need for guidelines for research on user needs and information use, but concludes that such guidelines should not scare practitioners away from Уthe serious evaluation and research that needs to be conducted if librarians are to serve the public and to preserve the professionФ (p. 65).
Carlin (2003), while pointing out the need for more consideration of the place of ethics in LIS research, presents several cases and debates from other disciplines so as to raise the visibility of research ethics for researchers in LIS. He also discusses the possibility of an Уethics of interdisciplinarityФ and stresses the importance of being accountable for the presentation of research strategies and accurately distinguishing between primary and secondary sources (p. 14).
As Case (2002) indicated, a new ethical issue that has arisen has to do with the uses of the Internet for research. Most existing guidelines for ethical research were not developed with such information technologies in mind. Jones (1994) pointed out, for example, that issues such as public versus private information and informed consent in an electronic environment are not adequately addressed by the guidelines provided by the typical research university. He cautioned researchers to recognize the limitations of existing guidelines and to take steps to ensure that research on the Internet is just as ethical as any other research.
Library and information professionals desiring more information about scientific and research misconduct are encouraged to consult a book edited by Altman and Hernon (1997).Chapters in that work address issues such as misconduct and the scholarly literature, implications of misconduct for bibliographic instruction, and implications of research misconduct for libraries and librarians. Also included are appendices with references to codes of ethics from professional societies, guidelines for instructions to authors, and sources helpful in finding out about cases of research misconduct.
Another useful resource is a special issue of Journal of Information Ethics (1996) devoted to research misconduct. Articles treat, among other topics, information ethics in the workplace, the lure of scientific misconduct, the influence of academic departments/disciplines on misconduct, federal actions against plagiarism, misconduct involving digital imaging, and the legal aspects of scientific misconduct. And finally, readers interested in electronic guides to research ethics can consult the bibliography on Tom WilsonТs Web site Ц InformationR.net (see the section Electronic Resources for Information Research Methods) and Sharon StoergerТs Research Ethics Webliographies, which include resources on research ethics in general (http:/www.web-miner.com/researchethics.htm), plagiarism, and research ethics in specific subject fields.