INCLUSIVE RESPONSIBLE RESEARCH
From an ethical perspective, University Social Responsibility (USR) in the field of research implies analysing the way in which the university manages the impact of its research, considering its mission of service to society. Therefore, its purpose is to investigate how the final knowledge is produced and its dissemination.
In this sense, it is essential that the university incorporates, among its strategies for approaching society, the Knowledge Mobilisation (KM), which is understood as a series of activities related to the production and use of knowledge that include strategies for interaction between researchers and stakeholders, ranging from the exchange and co-production of knowledge to its development and shared dissemination.
Furthermore, university research should be inclusive in its approach, process and dissemination, which implies the democratisation of the research process and understanding a researcher as a committed person in collaboration with other community agents who identify, analyse and solve problems of their environment, with methodological approaches that are accessible and open to different perspectives and voices. The use KM is committed to fight against inequalities and social transformation and stands for equity and social justice. KM mobilises knowledge emancipatory citizen participation from a shared construction of knowledge in the research process
The catalogue presented below aims to help universities and research groups to reflect on their research actions, providing indicators that help to establish the strengths and areas for improvement in an attempt to carry out more inclusive research through the mobilisation of the knowledge they generate.
Factor 1. Participatory Perspective
To facilitate the participation of stakeholders in different stages of research, we have to consider different perspectives and voices, which are generating spaces for dialogue and distribution of responsibilities and leaderships, building a common language and giving value to knowledge that is different from scientific knowledge.
HOW STAKEHOLDERS ARE DEFINED IN RESEARCH
Definition: Level of stakeholder definition.
- The research group does not explicitly define the stakeholder
- The research group defines the groups in a generic way
- The research group clearly and concisely defines its direct and indirect stakeholder
Level 1. Stakeholders are not explicitly defined and identified. The researcher group investigates only what they are interested in, without worrying about the recipients of its results. This can seriously affect the ethical implications of the research.
Level 2. Diffuse definition of stakeholders, such a society, companies, professionals and similar, without delimiting specific groups in these fields. It does not distinguish between direct and indirect stakeholders, beneficiaries or participants. In these cases, the research group investigates what they are interested in, and makes explicit who can benefit but their personal interest prevails over the repercussion. When asked who their stakeholders are, their answers would start with: “for example…”.
Level 3. The stakeholders’ role is well defined and corresponds to explicitly specified groups. They clearly distinguish between direct stakeholders (those who order or receive the outcome of the research immediately) and indirect stakeholders (those who can receive the outcome of the research if the necessary conditions are met).
RESEARCH TOPIC IDENTIFICATION/DEFINITION
Who participates in the definition of the research problem?
- The research group defines it unilaterally.
- The stakeholder, as the only beneficiary, poses the problem to the research group.
- The stakeholder and the research group together pose a problem from which not only the stakeholder benefits.
Level 1. The stakeholder does not participate. The research only responds to the interest of the research group (due to fashion, scientific relevance, etc.).
Level 2. It is the stakeholder that poses the problem to the research group and contracts their services. It is also about the transfer, but the latter must be distinguished from the mere transfer of research results since. In this situation, the stakeholder requests the development of a new product, method, etc., which involves a complete research process, not just the application of existing knowledge.
Level 3. The research group, in collaboration with the stakeholder, poses a problem that is part of a broader area of social relevance, which has a greater social impact on other groups that can benefit (indirect stakeholders). For example local development projects or projects for vulnerable groups, which are commissioned by an association (direct stakeholders) but whose result transcends the group itself (indirect stakeholders).
PARTICIPATORY PERSPECTIVE IN THE METHODOLOGICAL DESIGN OF THE RESEARCH
How are different stakeholders involved and how do they contribute to the methodological design of the whole research process?
- They do not participate.
- The stakeholders are informed, but have no decision-making power.
- It is designed jointly.
Level 1: The stakeholders do not participate.
Level 2: The research group, when designing the research methodology, counts on the stakeholders as advisors but without decision-making capacity (e.g. having an Advisory Council made up of user associations, which are consulted on different aspects of the design).
Level 3: When designing the research methodology, the research group counts on the stakeholders as co-researchers who make consensual design decisions (e.g. in biological research on pollution, researchers and stakeholders select methodological tools for sample collection and analysis that are accessible and understandable to all).
PARTICIPATORY PERSPECTIVE IN DATA COLLECTION
How different stakeholders participate in research data collection?
- Data collection is only carried out by the research group without interaction with the stakeholders.
- The research group collects the data by interacting with the stakeholder.
- The stakeholders share the collection of data with the research group
Level 1: Stakeholders do not participate or if they do, they play a passive role under orders of the research group. They follow instructions. There is no interaction between researchers and participants. For example, undergoing a mass survey or collecting samples and sending them by email to the research group.
Level 2: Stakeholders and the research group interact at the time of data collection. For example, an interview is conducted instead of a questionnaire, or in addition to collecting a sample, the researcher asks the person who has collected the sample for some kind of feedback. However, in either case, the “power” remains with the research group.
Level 3: Stakeholders and research group participate in collecting the data, sharing roles. The power relations between researchers and stakeholders are discussed and balanced (for example: interviewing each other or making observations as co-researchers).
PARTICIPATORY PERSPECTIVE IN DATA ANALYSIS
How different stakeholders participate in the analysis of the data?
- The stakeholders do not participate.
- The stakeholders do not participate in the analysis, but can provide feedback at the request of the research group.
- The stakeholders analyse collected data together with the research group.
Level 1: Stakeholders do not participate in the analysis, they can only access the data like the rest of the society.
Level 2: Stakeholders do not analyse, but the research group may require some form of review on their part. For example, when reporting on an interview they ask the interviewee to review the summary for any errors. The power remains with the researcher.
Level 3: Research group and stakeholders analyse the collection of data on an equal footing jointly or separately. Both parties share the ownership of the data.
PARTICIPATORY PERSPECTIVE IN DISSEMINATION
How different stakeholders participate in the dissemination of the knowledge generated in the research?
- The stakeholder does not participate.
- The stakeholder supports dissemination process initiated and implemented by the research group.
- The stakeholder participates as co-author in the different dissemination strategies.
Level 1: Stakeholders do not participate in dissemination strategy.
Level 2: Stakeholders agree that the research group disseminates the results and assist them in their initiatives, but they are not proposers.
Level 3: Researchers and stakeholders disseminate generated knowledge in different ways in line with defined dissemination strategy, as they are co-owners, therefore, they can disseminate jointly or separately. Even stakeholders could provide their reflections on the process and empower researchers to learn and conduct more inclusive research in the future.
PARTICIPATORY PERSPECTIVE IN TYPES OF DISSEMINATION CHANNELS USED
How is research knowledge disseminated and are they available to the widest possible audience?
- Scientific Channels
- Open access and non-scientific channels by invitation
- Various scientific and non-scientific formats
Level 1: Dissemination in High-impact scientific journals. The highest prestige is sought within the scientific community.
Level 2: Dissemination in Scientific journals in open access format. Open access is prioritised. There can be some dissemination in social events, but as guests not as hosts.
Level 3: The same as on the 2nd level, but adding hosting non-scientific media: interviews, social networks, fairs, etc.
PARTICIPATORY PERSPECTIVE IN EXPLOITATION OF RESULTS
How different stakeholders participate in the exploitation of the results generated in the research?
- There is no strategy for exploitation of the research results.
- There is some exploitation plan, but it is vague and not specifically detailed. If it is detailed only the research group participates in its implementation.
- There is a well-defined strategy for exploitation of agreed research results, where both stakeholder and researchers participate.
Level 1: Research group does not care about the use of results, they are only interested in the research process and its dissemination.
Level 2: The research group does not have a specific strategy, but only a general plan for the exploitation of results without defined intellectual property rights and their exploitation modalities. If there is a strategy for exploiting the results at the level of the institution/research group, the stakeholder does not participate in its implementation.
Level 3: Research group and the stakeholder have designed an exploitation strategy to use the selected and agreed results after the research, jointly or separately. In this case, the intellectual property rights between the parties and the ways of exploiting intellectual property are clearly defined. In any case, both parties (researchers and stakeholder) can use the results as co-owners
Factor 2. Ethical Perspective
The research group and/or its stakeholders generate internal mechanisms for reflection and review of the ethical implications of each of the research stages and decisions made during research. Explanation of the ethical implications provide us with an answer of why or what/who is being researched and what type of relationships are established in the research process between researchers and participants.
ETHICAL PERSPECTIVE ON RESEARCH TOPIC IDENTIFICATION/DEFINITION
Why and for what purpose the research group includes stakeholder in the research topic identification
- Not applicable.
- Instrumental ethics
- Inclusive ethics
Level 1: This level will be marked when indicator 1P of the participatory perspective has been at 1 or 2.
Level 2: The research group agrees on the problem with the stakeholder for an interested or utilitarian purpose. For example, in educational research, to reach a consensus with the teachers of a school on the research topic to investigate in order to obtain permission to access the centre. In this case, the problem is established by the research group, but they need to agree on some conditions with the school, otherwise, they will not gain them with access to the institution.
Level 3: The research group agrees on the research topic with the stakeholder to improve the initial situation with a clear emancipatory intention. For example, in educational research, teachers and the research group will (together) investigate which topics to cover. The outcome will be an agreement between these two parties and will include what is best for the school.
ETHICAL PERSPECTIVE IN THE RESEARCH PROCESS
Why and for what purpose the research group includes stakeholders or beneficiary in the research process (design, data collection, analysis of results and drawing of conclusions)
- Not applicable.
- Instrumental ethics
- Inclusive ethics
Level 1: This level will be marked when indicators 2P, 3P or 4P of the participatory perspective have been 1 or 2.
Level 2: The research group counts on and interacts with the stakeholders for questions of research need. For example, in the information collection phase, use the stakeholders itself to collect information as co-investigators with the intention of obtaining more data or saving on staff costs.
Level 3: The research group counts on the stakeholders as co-investigators, to improve their initial situation and even empowering them. For example, in the information collection phase, while conducting interview, they will encourage interviewees to reflect about the content of the interview. Another example, could be to participate in the collection of environmental samples to raise awareness of environmental preservation.
ETHICAL PERSPECTIVE OF PARTICIPATION IN DISSEMINATION
Why and for what purpose the research group includes the stakeholders or beneficiary in the dissemination process
Nominal dichotomous level: inclusive/non-inclusive relationship
- Not applicable
- Instrumental ethics
- Inclusive ethics
Level 1: This level will be marked when indicator 5P.A. of the participatory perspective has been 1 or 2.
Level 2: Dissemination is carried out jointly because it is a condition for publication, or because the research group has more visibility of their research outcomes. In any case, other interests prevail that are not related to the conviction of co-ownership of the results or the process.
Level 3: Dissemination is carried out jointly because researchers and stakeholders are co-owners of the entire research process and therefore co-responsible for dissemination or outreach.
ETHICAL PERSPECTIVE OF THE CHANNELS OF DISSEMINATION OF RESULTS
Why and for what purpose are the results disseminated and disclosed
Nominal dichotomous level: inclusive/non-inclusive dissemination
- Academic dissemination
- Instrumental dissemination
- Inclusive dissemination
Level 1: This level will be marked when indicator 5P.B. of the participatory perspective has been 1 or 2. It is disseminated only to expert groups in scientific channels. There are no approaches or reflections on the usefulness of these results for other groups and how to make them available.
Level 2: There are informative activities that go beyond the scientific field, but the objective is closer to publicizing the activity of the research group than to making the results accessible to the Stakeholders: news in the press or social networks, radio interviews, the group’s website. The objective is informative, not educational.
Level 3: The research group disseminates the results in different channels and formats, accommodating their language to the different audiences with a real objective, not only to inform, but to train the stakeholders and empower them in the use of the results to improve their initial situation. For example, exhibitions, workshops, demonstrations, etc.
ETHICAL PERSPECTIVE IN THE EXPLOITATION OF RESULTS
Why and for what purpose are the results exploited
Nominal dichotomous level: inclusive/non-inclusive exploitation
- Not applicable
- Instrumental exploitation
- Inclusive exploitation
Level 1: This level will be marked when indicator 6P of the participatory perspective has been 1.
Level 2: The exploitation of results has only economic or commercial purposes. The use of research results belongs exclusively to the research group, and to stakeholders only on a commercial basis and does not include the needs of wider target groups and the society, as well as end users who would use part of the results for free. Still it is not contrary to ethical standards in research.
Level 3: The exploitation of results has a social or environmental improvement purpose. The use of research results is enabled by the research group and stakeholder for end users and vulnerable groups, with a positive impact on the problems of society and environmental protection.