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Information Technology Researchers need RESPECT

Ethical and professional guidelines for the conduct expected from people undertaking socio-economic research are being produced by the RESPECT project, with almost 1 million from the Information Society Technology (IST) Programme of the European Union's Framework Programme.

The rapid evolution of a global Information Society in recent years has seen several trends converging to bring about major changes in the roles of socio-economic researchers and their working practices. Now, ethical and professional guidelines for the conduct expected from people undertaking such work are being produced by the RESPECT project, with almost 1 million from the Information Society Technology (IST) Programme of the European Unions Framework Programme. Explaining the need for the guidelines Ursula Huws, Associate Fellow of the Institute for Employment Studies and the originator and director of the RESPECT project, says: In order to create a European market in research with a level playing field while ensuring high quality research, there is a need to create clear and transparent frameworks which ensure that everyone is playing by the same rules. This will enable us to 'work with strangers' with trust, and to be able to use the results of others' research with confidence. The need for such guidelines has emerged as a result of several recent trends, especially the increasing use of the Internet and other Information and Communications Technologies for carrying out socio-economic research. RESPECT also takes into account the expansion of the EU to include states with very different research traditions, the increasing scale of EU-funded research projects, the need to work across national boundaries and the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of socio-economic research projects. These developments also raise issues of intellectual property. The availability of material in digital form (and of technologies for the digitisation of hard copy material) makes plagiarism easier to carry out. Simultaneously the sheer volume of information available makes such plagiarism much more difficult to detect. Even when there is no conscious intention to plagiarise, the increasing pressures on the research community to deliver results speedily creates incentives to borrow more widely than was traditionally the case. RESPECTs draft code is now being circulated for consultation., ,Peter Walters, UK National Contact Point for IST within the EU's 6th Framework Programme, recognises the importance of the project saying: As we continue to encourage research and development in Information Society Technology, we must not lose sight of the need to address the issues that will arise as traditional boundaries are pushed back and projects such as this are doing just that. With new EU legislation being introduced in a number of areas that impact on the conduct of IST research, particularly in the areas of copyright and data protection, these guidelines will prove invaluable. However, notwithstanding the importance of this work, it is unlikely to have been undertaken without substantial funding support from the EU's Framework programme. The Framework Programmes are the EU's main vehicle for support of leading edge, internationally collaborative R&D. The current Framework Programme (FP6) runs until 2006 and organisations wanting free information on how to access some of the 17.5bn available should log on to or call central telephone support on 0870 600 6080. Feedback on the draft code of conduct is invited from all stakeholders in the IST socio-economic research community including professional and academic researchers, research funders, evaluators, reviewers, intellectual property lawyers, data protection authorities, SMEs, research users and those involved in training researchers or providing software solutions for the research market.,The EU's Framework Programmes are the world's largest, publicly funded, research and technological development programmes. The Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) covers the period 2002-2006 and is the European Unions main instrument for the funding of collaborative research and innovation. It is open to public and private entities of all sizes in the EU and a number of non-EU countries. It has an overall budget of 17.5 billion. Most of the budget for FP6 is devoted to work in seven priority thematic areas:,? Life sciences, Genetics and Biotechnology for Health;,? Information Society Technologies;,? Nanotechnologies and Nanosciences, Knowledgebased Multifunctional Materials and New Production Processes and Devices;,? Aeronautics and Space;,? Food Quality and Safety;,? Sustainable Development, Global Change and Ecosystems; and,? Citizens and Governance in a Knowledge-based Society. There is also a focus on the research activities of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across all seven thematic areas. The services of FP6UK are funded by the Office of Science & Technology (OST) / Department of Trade & Industry (DTI). More information can be found on ,IST Programme ,The IST Priority Thematic Area (PTA) of the 6th Framework Programme(FP6) is the largest of the seven PTAs with a budget of 3.6bn over the lifetime of FP6. The first Call for proposals with a budget of 1070m - closed in April 2003. The second Call closed on 15 October 2003 and had a budget of 525m. The 3rd Call for proposals will be announced in early June 2004 along with a Joint Call with the Priority 3 area -Nanotechnologies, Materials and Production technologies.,


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