Ethical considerations for independent scholars

Here’s another issue to think about.  Many linguists, through retirement or lack of employment in the field, are independent scholars without an institutional affiliation but still are actively engaged in research.  We can probably agree that the lack of an institutional affiliation does not absolve us from obtaining informed consent and abiding by the ethics of the profession.  Can we find a principled way of dealing with these issues, or do we just trust the researcher to do the right thing?

2 Responses to Ethical considerations for independent scholars

  1. Natasha Warner says:

    I just dealt with this issue for an undergrad who has just graduated, and might be continuing some research from her senior honors thesis, but won’t be in graduate school, at least not immediately. If the research is clearly not threatening at all (hers requires straightforward, non-threatening perception experiments and no endangered languages or subjects one might worry about), and if I know the researcher will behave ethically and considerately toward their subjects, at least we know the subjects will be protected in real life, even if the researcher’s ability to use the data later when they get affiliated with someplace else might not be. I’m not sure there’s a good official solution I could recommend, unless the person is at least appointed as a visiting scholar or emeritus professor somewhere, so that some university will take responsibility for them.

  2. Thank you for helping out, fantastic info. “Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.” by William Blake.

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