ASN issues a statement of concern regarding DA-RT
April 23, 2016 Lisa Koriouchkina
The Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) raises concerns regarding the Data Access and ResearchTransperancy Initiative originating within the American Political Science Association (APSA).
The Association for the Study of Nationalities (ASN) has recently learned of the DA-RT discussions originating within the American Political Science Association (APSA). We are concerned that a set of stipulations regarding research signed by 27 journals (JETS) was enacted on January 15th 2016 when so few of those who will be affected by these stipulations are aware of their requirements. We share the concerns outlined by the 1,173 petition signatories to delay DA-RT implementation to more fully consider its implications for a broad range of research.
The DA-RT stipulations establish conditions in which editors and reviewers can request that materials produced in the course of research should be made available on a public domain website. These materials can include databases but also interview transcripts, recordings, and fieldnotes. We understand that exemptions can be requested from these requirements. However, we remain concerned that there is not sufficient clarity in the policies as outlined to protect from the potential harms to sources and researchers in the conduct of research, as well as to long-term implications of harm for the conduct of research on sensitive topics. Nor do we find IRB / ethics board statements to be sufficient protection, given the diversity of access to such protections for our members across the globe. We note many of the concerns DA-RT raises for research on violence and autocratic regimes as well as those using qualitative approaches, as outlined in the APSA Qualitative and Multi-Methods Research newsletter in 2015 as well as the APSA Comparative Politics Newsletter in Spring 2016. As researchers on sensitive topics, we share many of these concerns in our own work. We are particularly disturbed that the serious problems outlined by researchers in these forums have not yet produced changes to the policy appropriate to the potential harms.
We urgently request a re-thinking of the DA-RT stipulations to incorporate better policies to address concerns of researchers working on sensitive topics, including those using qualitative and historical research.
The ASN Board of Directors and the Advisory Board