Building on the results of the Responsible Knowledge Sharing, Engagement and Impact project (2021-2023), Alice Oancha, Eileen Marshall-Brown And Juliet Scott-Barrett Outline six factors to consider when developing policies and practices to promote responsible knowledge sharing, interaction and influence.
Transparency, honesty, and accountability are designed to underpin all elements of research practice, and almost all research projects are expected to be ethically reviewed, but when it comes to Knowledge Sharing, Engagement, and Impact (KEEI), such considerations are sometimes neglected. There are some standards (for example, the UK National Institute for Medical Research). Public Participation Standards; Principles for Knowledge Sharing in Forest Research), although they are often discipline-specific and less visible than national and international initiatives that are more broadly focused on responsible research practice. The latter include, for example, Australian Code for Responsible Research; Declaration of Evaluation of Scientific Research (DORA); Declaration of Principles from the Latin American Forum for Scientific Assessment; Hong Kong Principles to evaluate researchers; Singapore Research Integrity Statement; Agreement to Reform Research Evaluation; UK universities Concordat to Support Research Integrity), and the emphasis on fairness in the recently released Cape Town Statement on Promoting Research Integrity through Fairness and Equity.
To fill this gap, the Responsible Knowledge Sharing, Engagement and Impact 2021-2023 (RKEEI) project was co-designed as a research-to-practice collaboration and is led by the Department of Education and Social Sciences at the University of Oxford. . Since October 2021, the project has been bringing together KEEI professionals and researchers in a series of workshops and interviews to conceptualize and support the practice of responsible knowledge sharing, interaction and impact, and to co-create a resource and structure to support responsible KEEI practices.
Key ideas from the first workshops
Table 1 gives an overview of some of the discussions in the first set of collaborative workshops with KEEI researchers and professionals. To date, four workshops have been held, supplemented by fourteen interviews and document reviews.
Table 1: Key messages from the first workshops
New Key Principles
Based on this work, we propose that a framework for understanding and developing responsible RKEEI practices could include the following components (Figure 1):
Figure 1: Initial concept of key principles for responsible KEEI
1) Honesty and ethics
First, integrity and ethics are an important component that ranges from a broad commitment to values and principles to very pragmatic and procedural considerations. For example, in many universities, knowledge sharing and impact work is not necessarily subject to special ethical procedures, much like research data collection and co-creation are subject to ethical scrutiny. While ethical reflection may occur informally or be initiated by KEEI partners, it is usually not supported by dedicated training and resources. There may be differences in how relevant parties identify and prioritize ethical issues, especially in how training can be justified. in Western knowledge systems. A responsible KEEI should be mindful of whether formal or informal reflection and scrutiny of ethical issues in creating, conducting and benefiting from KEEI projects is sufficient, as well as whose responsibility such reflection should be, and how it can be resolved and supported. .
2) Fairness, Diversity and Inclusion
Secondly, equity, diversity and inclusiveness have also been subject to limited analysis in relation to the impact and activities of KEEI. Need for justice and equality in scientific cooperation was highlighted, and we highlight the need for closer attention and scrutiny of power asymmetries and barriers that can exclude (or discourage) different people and teams, as well as the need for more inclusive environments and KEEI systems.
3) Sustainability and reciprocity
Third, it is striking how few of the policies, policy papers, and approaches we reviewed directly address issues of sustainability and reciprocity. Little mention was made of meaningful and long-term benefits for the communities concerned, avoidance of negative externalities, or environmental sustainability. The latter is seen in the design of many KE projects, many of which still do not consider their carbon footprints. In addition, much remains to be learned about the reach, longevity, and resilience of community resources that may be shared unequally. Recognition of the role that sustainability can play in engagement activities remains understudied, although we note as a starting point the compilation by Chambers and colleagues of various approaches to sustainability through co-production.
4) Context Sensitivity
Fourth, consider contextual sensitivity across cultures as well as contexts of experience. What level of reciprocity is built into these interactions? What mechanisms for listening or “reading” contextual information are being introduced into KEEI activities and ensuring compliance with the principles of inclusiveness and cultural security? What interactions are respectful and meaningful to all involved? How epistemically valid are these interactions? Whose interests and whose worldviews and interpretive resources take precedence in selecting contextual information for action?
5) Exchange and openness
A strong open knowledge program that applies to research and research processes does not extend in the same way and to the same extent to sharing knowledge and influencing practice. Open Science Structure And Structure of open and replicable research learning provide excellent guidance and ideas for developing more accessible and inclusive research processes and knowledge interactions. However, while some aspects of KEEI allow for open exchange, others may be completely inappropriate. For example, many of our respondents raised concerns regarding the protection of member privacy (including vulnerable members and the organizations that support them), commercial privacy, competition, or maintaining trust.
6) Support and recognition
Based on our own academic and professional experience, support for KEEI activities is unevenly distributed. The contributions and workloads of KEEI are also not always recognized. Moving towards descriptive summaries and broader criteria for hiring and promoting researchers and evaluating research may help address this issue to some extent, but they may not distinguish between more or less responsible KEEI practices. In addition, much of the knowledge sharing and impact – even if recognized within existing reward and recognition structures – can occur in ways that mask “irresponsible” practices. We invite reflection and dialogue on how formative recognition can encourage and support responsible participation.
These components mark areas of KEEI discussion that can be done more (or less) responsibly. They allow us to articulate positive meanings, identify generative practices, and encourage responsible thinking configurations; and understand the risks, power disparities, and potential for friction and conflict associated with KEEI, including the possibility of different interpretations of these issues in different contexts. We are now turning these ideas into a new set of workshops, publications and resources, and a follow-up project; Please contact if you are interested in contributing or collaborating.
This research project is funded through the Higher Education Innovation Fund, the ESRC Acceleration Impact Account, the Wellcome Institutional Policy Support Fund, and the Research England Research Culture Fund. This project has been approved by the ethics committee of the Department of Education, a division of the Research Ethics Committee of Oxford Central University (CIA-22TT-127).
We are sincerely grateful to our two previous research assistants, Sylvie Watson and Claire Macleod, our expert advisory group, and our workshop participants and interviewers for sharing their time, advice, and ideas.
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