Creation and evaluation ethical tools
Ethical instruments can contribute to more respectful and equitable relationships between Indigenous communities and researchers.
The development of these instruments can also contribute to the revitalization of Indigenous legal cultures and community self-determination. For researchers, the creation of such tools enables them to evolve their practices and lay the foundation for new relationships.
These are tools whose development requires very few means and resources. In addition, there are many examples available that can serve as inspiration in the Ethics Tools section.
These tools may be particularly relevant in cases where States do not provide specific protection for the protection of communities and their intangible cultural heritage. They can also be useful as a complement to State frameworks.
In order to contribute to the development of ethical instruments for the regulation of relations between researchers and indigenous communities, several tools are proposed here:
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Methodology for the creation of an ethical tool
We propose here a methodology to create an ethical tool.
This methodology is based on the analysis of a corpus of more than 120 ethical instruments developed in Canada since 1992.
We have thus been able to identify the recurring themes addressed in these instruments and establish a list of them. These themes comprise many topics for discussion which can be addressed by individuals or groups who wish to develop an ethical tool. This is not an exhaustive list. Topics may be added or deleted depending on the interests of individuals and groups.
For each theme we also propose a series of non-exhaustive questions to encourage discussion. Questions can be added or deleted depending on the interests of individuals and groups.
DOWNLOAD: Methodology [docx]
Here we propose model instruments for the supervision of research projects involving Indigenous Peoples and their knowledge.
These instruments have been developed from a corpus of more than 120 ethical instruments developed in Canada since 1992.
This corpus has enabled us to identify the recurring themes addressed in the ethical instruments as well as the best practices observable for each theme.
The best practices were identified using four indicators of equitable research that we identified from a review of the literature in this field: transparency, community participation, hybridization of exchanges and sharing of decision-making powers.
Indigenous communities and their members are informed as fully as possible throughout the course of the project so they can make informed decisions.
The participation of communities during the various phases of the research allows them to become involved and to monitor project progress. It is also an opportunity to develop new skills.
Hybridization of exchanges
Hybridization of exchanges requires the implementation of approaches aimed at strengthening mutual understanding between researchers and communities, for example by informing communities in the language of their choice or by submitting reports or publications in forms negotiated with the communities and adapted to their needs.
Shared decision-making authority
In collaborative projects with Indigenous communities, Indigenous partners should be able to participate in decision-making on the same basis as researchers. This includes the right to define the scope of use of their knowledge. For example, they must also have the right to review and decide on publications resulting from a project and on the possibilities of commercialization (in particular the filing of a patent). In short, these decision-making powers must allow Indigenous participants to decide on the conditions under which their knowledge will be used and shared outside the Indigenous group.
These models constitute proposals that can be freely personalized by individuals and groups according to their needs and interests.
In some cases, it may be necessary to evaluate ethics instruments. This may be the case when a community is approached to participate in a project and is offered a collaborative agreement. It may also be the case when a researcher is finalizing the drafting of an instrument. We propose an evaluation grid for this purpose.
This grid was developed using a corpus of more than 120 ethical instruments developed in Canada since 1992. This corpus has enabled us to identify the recurring themes addressed in these instruments.
The grid therefore makes it possible to determine whether the recurring themes in Canada are well addressed in the instrument which is being analyzed and to comment on the instrument’s quality.
DOWNLOAD: Evaluation [xlsx]