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Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Building an Effective Research Safety Protocol and Emergency Exit Strategies – SSRC (Angelica Duran-Martinez | June 2014)0

Posted by Admin in on June 17, 2018

Social Science Research Council Papers

This examination of strategies to minimize risks and identify dangerous situations for researchers in conflict and crime-ridden areas focuses on the design of a flexible safety and exit protocol that can help researchers return home safely. Safety depends on how scholars gain access to research locations, introduce their work to potential subjects, and pose questions to them. Naturally, defining what security is and determining levels of danger is a subjective and fluid process contingent on factors intrinsic to the project. The aim here is to help researchers think through security issues systematically and build a working written protocol to deal with emergency situations they may encounter.

The discussion first addresses risk assessment and its role in building effective safety protocols. Risk assessment depends on variables such as research location, type and duration of research, and personal characteristics of the researcher. The second section examines the role of pre-fieldwork preparation in researcher safety, and the third analyzes the role of routine field safety procedures in maintaining awareness of evolving security threats and exit strategies. Ultimately, this examination seeks to go beyond how to conduct research safely, emphasizing instead how to increase the chances of the researcher’s safe return home. Thus, the fourth section builds on sound safety procedures to outline the basic elements of exit protocols that can help researchers and their supporters obtain or render aid under emergency circumstances. The conclusion presents a rubric for creating and thinking through safety before, during, and after field research.

This guide is intended to help researchers think through crucial questions regarding risks and safety. They do not need to consider every issue mentioned here but should focus on those that appear more relevant to their projects. Scholars can define safety according to their own professional needs and develop exit protocols that can assist them in navigating both the ordinary fear and danger and the more extreme threats that affect their research locations

Duran-Martinez, Angelica (2014) Building an Effective Research Safety Protocol and Emergency Exit Strategies. SSRC Paper.
Publishers (Creative Commons):


Qualitative Research in Dangerous Places: Becoming an ”Ethnographer” of Violence and Personal Safety (Guidance: Social Science Research Council | 2016)0

Posted by Admin in on June 10, 2018

Social Science Research Council | Working Papers

“Over the last generation, activists, journalists, and researchers working in Latin America have increasingly faced the challenge of operating in areas affected by chronic police and non-state violence. Further, rising crime rates are leading a growing number of scholars to conduct research on high-risk topics, which involves gathering data on communities that experience conflict, writing and publishing on these difficult and sensitive issues, and developing and implementing programs to deal with the needs of communities affected by violence as well as the wider conflicts in which those communities are embedded. Despite these trends, the literature on safe practices for those working in high-risk environments remains thin. The DSD Working Papers on Research Security series seeks to address this deficit by examining a range of research security concerns, providing a framework to help those working in the region consider how they can enhance their own safety as well as the safety of their associates and research participants.”

Goldstein, D. (2016) Qualitative Research in Dangerous Places: Becoming an ‘Ethnographer’ of Violence and Personal Safety. Brooklyn, NY: Social Science Research Council.
Publisher (Open Access):

The Case of the Girl from La Noria: Implications for Ethics in Research with Human Remains – Etilmercurio (Por Invitado Especial | April 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on June 5, 2018

A recent article describing the whole-genome sequencing of a body of alleged «extraterrestrial» origin according to UFO organisations (1), journalists (2), and other media outlets (3), has initiated an important controversy regarding adherence to scientific, legal and ethical standards for studies involving human skeletal remains. This controversy began with the commentary published by Etilmercurio (4), which was followed by press reports (5,6,7), public statements released by local and international scientific organisations (8,9,10), the authors of the original article (11), and the journal where it was published (12).

Further commentary on this archeological project that prompted a UFO conspiracy and media storm. Do your institution’s guidelines speak to such projects (including legal frameworks in the source country)? We’ve included a link to an earlier item about this case.

The basic issues raised by researchers questioning the article are clearly summarised in a tweet by Professor Tom Higham (School of Archaeology, University of Oxford, UK): «Accepting a human sample sent via TV film crew from a private owner in Spain; not seen or viewed by them – without any checks for provenance or permission, let alone ethical considerations… what were they thinking?». This is exactly what the authors (Nolan and Butte) claimed in their statement, as part of their argument disavowing responsibility, without acknowledging their lack of involvement as the root of the problem.
In their statement (11), the authors attempted to rebut these claims, identifying an earlier lack of criticism or legal action from the Chilean press and authorities when these remains originally became subject to public attention in 2013. Moreover, they declare to have followed U.S. regulations in this regard, completely ignoring Chilean law.

Read the rest of this discussion piece

Implementing the Tri-Council Policy on Ethical Research Involving Indigenous Peoples in Canada: So, How’s That Going in Mi’kma’ki? (Carla Moore | April 2017)0

Posted by Admin in on May 22, 2018

The 2010 edition of the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans introduced a new chapter, titled “Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada.” The goal of our study was to explore how this chapter is being implemented in research involving Mi’kmaw communities in Nova Scotia. Qualitative data from four groups—health researchers, research ethics board representatives, financial services administrators, and Mi’kmaw community health directors—revealed that while the chapter is useful in navigating this ethical space, there is room for improvement. The challenges they encountered were not insurmountable; with political will from the academy and with guidance from Indigenous community health and research leaders solutions to these barriers can be achieved.

Moore, C. , Castleden, H. E. , Tirone, S. , Martin, D. (2017). Implementing the Tri-Council Policy on Ethical Research Involving Indigenous Peoples in Canada: So, How’s That Going in Mi’kma’ki?. The International Indigenous Policy Journal, 8(2) . Retrieved from: DOI: 10.18584/iipj.2017.8.2.4
Publisher (Open Access):