Open access is fast becoming the norm across science. Sharing research data broadly has the potential to accelerate scientific progress, optimize the value of data, and promote scientific integrity. However, data sharing also poses new practical and ethical challenges to the conduct of research with human participants. This article provides an overview of how open access to research data has impacted the core principles of research ethics-respect for persons, beneficence, and justice-and, in turn, how a reinterpretation of these principles translates to procedures for the protection of the rights and wellbeing of human research participants.
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While regulations and policies for research with human participants in the United States seldom, if ever, explicitly consider potential harms to individuals or groups not involved in the research, other countries have addressed such issues more comprehensively. For instance, harms to nonparticipants are considered in the Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council (2015) statement on ethical conduct in human research, where risks and potential benefits are considered for individuals, their families, and groups with which they identify
© 2018 American Psychological Association.
- Data access
- Data sharing
- Group harms
- Research participant protections