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The value-free ideal in codes of conduct for research integrity

Ambrosj, Jacopo and Desmond, Hugh and Dierickx, Kris (2023) The value-free ideal in codes of conduct for research integrity. [Preprint]

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Abstract

While the debate on values in science focuses on normative questions on the level of the individual (e.g. should researchers try to make their work as value free as possible?), comparatively little attention has been paid to the institutional and professional norms that researchers are expected to follow. To address this knowledge gap, we conduct a content analysis of leading national codes of conduct for research integrity of European countries, and structure our analysis around the question: do these documents allow for researchers to be influenced by “non-epistemic” (moral, cultural, commercial, political, etc.) values or do they prohibit such influence in compliance with the value-free ideal (VFI) of science?
Our results return a complex picture. On the one hand, codes of conduct consider many non-epistemic values to be a legitimate influence on the decision-making of researchers. On the other, most of these documents include what we call VFI-like positions: passages claiming that researchers should be free and independent from any external influence. This shows that while many research integrity documents do not fully endorse the VFI, they do not reject it and continue to be implicitly influenced by it. This results in internal tensions and underdetermined guidance on non-epistemic values, that may limit some of the uses of research integrity codes, especially for purposes of ethical self-regulation. While codes of conduct cannot be expected to decide how researchers should act in every instance, we do suggest that they acknowledge the challenges of how to integrate non-epistemic values in research in a more explicit fashion.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Ambrosj, Jacopojacopo.ambrosj@kuleuven.be0000-0002-6026-9285
Desmond, Hugh0000-0002-4822-923X
Dierickx, Kris0000-0002-1016-1145
Additional Information: Accepted for publication on Synthese, Topical Collection: The Legacy of the Value-Free Ideal of Science
Keywords: Value-free ideal; research integrity; ethics of research; self-regulation; content analysis; empirical philosophy
Subjects: General Issues > Ethical Issues
General Issues > Science and Policy
General Issues > Social Epistemology of Science
General Issues > Values In Science
Depositing User: Jacopo Ambrosj
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2023 19:50
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2023 19:50
Item ID: 22642
Subjects: General Issues > Ethical Issues
General Issues > Science and Policy
General Issues > Social Epistemology of Science
General Issues > Values In Science
Date: 2023
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/22642

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