A new journal for Internet Research Ethics

The International Journal of Internet Research Ethics (IJIRE) is a “peer-reviewed online journal, dedicated specifically to cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural research on Internet Research Ethics“. The first issue of the IJIRE appeared in January, 2008. No subscription is required. PDF versions of articles can be downloaded. The IJIRE is published at the Center for Information Policy Research, School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The final article [PDF, 226 KB] in the first issue, by Erin Hvizdak, is entitled: Creating a Web of Attribution in the Feminist Blogosphere, International Journal of Internet Research Ethics 2008(Jan); 1(1): 115-133. The article includes comments about current copyright law, and presents data about the use of Creative Commons licenses by bloggers.

An excerpt from page 2/20 of the PDF:

Current copyright law in the United States embraces the idea that a single, autonomous author, free from influence or help by others, creates each potentially copyright-protected work. This concept emanates from the “heroic self-presentation of Romantic poets” (Woodmansee & Jaszi, 1994, p. 3) that developed some 200 years ago.

An excerpt from page 4/20:

But, as described, existing copyright law privileges and protects works that emanate from the single, autonomous individual, extending no thought, acknowledgement, or protection to the feminist notion of collaborative, relational ordialogic cultural production.

An excerpt from page 6/20:

The weblog is a collaborative form of media that emphasizes dialogue and deconstructs the dualisms and binaries present in copyright law through prevalent sharing, quoting, and linking of information.

An excerpt from page 10/20:

Creative Commons licenses were present in 22 out of 55 blogs total (10 of the women’s blogs and 12 of the feminists’ blogs), or 40% of the time, demonstrating that women and feminists use Creative Commons on a far more regular basis than the general web population.

For a commentary on this article, see: [feminism and copyright] posted on January 22, 2008 by Jess (Jess Laccetti). Excerpt:

In this month’s issue (I believe it is also the first ever issue) of the International Journal of Internet Research Ethics there is a fascinating article by Erin Hvizdak. Her “Creating a Web of Attribution in the Feminist Blogosphere” takes a feminist look at issues of copyright.

What’s Internet research ethics? There’s an item about it in Wikipedia. There, Internet research ethics is currently defined as involving “the research ethics of Internet research, with an emphasis on scientific research carried out via the Internet“. The IJIRE has a focus on “the ethical obligations of researchers conducting research online“. I’ve argued, in some online notes, that this kind of focus can be termed “micro-level Internet research ethics”, where the emphasis is on knowledge growth (or, knowledge generation) via research conducted online.

If it’s accepted that the creation of new knowledge needs to be
complemented by effective approaches to knowledge transfer and exchange, (that is the dissemination of new and existing knowledge), then a “macro-level Internet research ethics”, with an emphasis on ethical issues relevant to the online dissemination of research outputs, also merits consideration.

From this perspective, “macro-level” ethical issues include ones that are used to justify the OA movement, such as justifications based on the concept of distributive justice.

Erin Hvizdak’s article, with its focus on copyright and on blogs, could be regarded as contribution to “macro-level Internet research ethics”. There’s also a focus on a particular conceptual framework, one that’s often referred to as an ethics of care. As is pointed out in the Wikipedia entry for Internet research ethics, this is only one of a number of conceptual frameworks that can be used to examine ethical issues.

Finally, it’s noteworthy that, although the article by Erin Hvizdak contains information about the use of Creative Commons licenses, such a license wasn’t used for this article.

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