Location: Rangeland Resources & Systems ResearchTitle: Expanded ethical principles for research partnership and transdisciplinary natural resource management science
|MEADOW, ALISON - University Of Arizona|
|BENTLEY BRYMER, AMANDA - University Of Idaho|
|RUSSO CARROLL, STEPHANIE - University Of Arizona|
|FERGUSON, DANIEL - University Of Arizona|
|GARBA, IBRAHIM - University Of Arizona|
|GREENE, CHRISTINA - University Of Arizona|
|OWEN, GIGI - University Of Arizona|
Submitted to: Environmental Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/16/2021
Publication Date: 7/29/2021
Citation: Wilmer, H., Meadow, A.M., Bentley Brymer, A., Russo Carroll, S., Ferguson, D.B., Garba, I., Greene, C., Owen, G., Peck, D.E. 2021. Expanded ethical principles for research partnership and transdisciplinary natural resource management science. Environmental Management. 68:453-467. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-021-01508-4.
Interpretive Summary: Transdisciplinary research is a relatively new approach to research in which scientists and community partners address complex socio-ecological problems together. This type of research is different than conventional human subjects research because it is done in collaboration with various non-researcher communities. Because this approach to research is different and based on partnership, it requires a new way to look at research ethics. We build upon existing work of ecological and social researchers to offer four expanded principles and two cross-cutting themes to enhance ethical practice in transdisciplinary social-ecological research. These principles are: appropriate representation, self-determination, reciprocity, and deference. These principles are enhanced by two cross-cutting themes: understanding beyond-human actors, and acquiring appropriate research skills. This framework is meant to stimulate important conversations about expanding ethics training and skills for researchers.
Technical Abstract: Natural resource researchers have long recognized the value of working closely with the managers and communities who depend on, steward, and impact ecosystems. These partnerships take on various forms, including co-production and transdisciplinary research approaches, which integrate multiple knowledges in the design and implementation of research objectives, questions, methods, and desired outputs or outcomes. These collaborations raise important methodological and ethical challenges, because partnering with non-scientists can have real world risks for people and ecosystems. The social sciences and biomedical research offer a suite of conceptual tools that enhance the quality, ethical outcomes, and effectiveness of research partnerships. For example, the ethical guidelines and regulations for human subjects research, following the Belmont Principles, help prevent harm and promote respectful treatment of research participants. However, science-management partnerships require an expanded set of ethical concepts to better capture the challenges of working with individuals, communities, organizations and their associated ecosystems, as partners, rather than research subjects. We draw from our experiences in collaborative teams, and build upon the existing work of natural resources, environmental health, conservation and ecology, social science and humanities scholars, to develop an expanded framework for ethical research partnership. This includes 4 principles: 1) appropriate representation, 2) self-determination, 3) reciprocity, and 4) deference, and two cross-cutting themes: 1) applications to humans and non-human actors, and 2) acquiring appropriate research skills. This framework is meant to stimulate important conversations about expanding ethics training and skills for researchers in all career-stages to improve partnerships and transdisciplinary natural resources research.