The IJIRE is the first peer-reviewed online journal, dedicated specifically to cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural research on Internet Research Ethics. All disciplinary perspectives, from those in the arts and humanities, to the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences, are reflected in the journal.
With the emergence of Internet use as a research locale and tool throughout the 1990s, researchers from disparate disciplines, ranging from the social sciences to humanities to the sciences, have found a new fertile ground for research opportunities that differ greatly from their traditional biomedical counterparts. As such, “populations,” locales, and spaces that had no corresponding physical environment became a focal point, or site of research activity. Human subjects protections questions then began to arise, across disciplines and over time: What about privacy? How is informed consent obtained? What about research on minors? What are “harms” in an online environment? Is this really human subjects work? More broadly, are the ethical obligations of researchers conducting research online somehow different from other forms of research ethics practices?
As Internet Research Ethics has developed as its own field and discipline, additional questions have emerged: How do diverse methodological approaches result in distinctive ethical conflicts – and, possibly, distinctive ethical resolutions? How do diverse cultural and legal traditions shape what are perceived as ethical conflicts and permissible resolutions? How do researchers collaborating across diverse ethical and legal domains recognize and resolve ethical issues in ways that recognize and incorporate often markedly different ethical understandings?
Finally, as “the Internet” continues to transform and diffuse, new research ethics questions arise – e.g., in the areas of blogging, social network spaces, etc. Such questions are at the heart of IRE scholarship, and such general areas as anonymity, privacy, ownership, authorial ethics, legal issues, research ethics principles (justice, beneficence, respect for persons), and consent are appropriate areas for consideration.
The IJIRE publishes articles of both theoretical and practical nature to scholars from all disciplines who are pursuing—or reviewing—IRE work. Case studies of online research, theoretical analyses, and practitioner-oriented scholarship that promote understanding of IRE at ethics and institutional review boards, for instance, are encouraged. Methodological differences are embraced.
The IJIRE is published at the Center for Information Policy Research, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
The IJIRE is published twice annually, January 15 and July 15. Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis, and are subject to Editorial and Double-Blind Peer Review.