We invite authors to contribute to a special issue of Diametros "Ethical challenges in contemporary social research".


Deadline for submissions: 15 June 2023

Guest editors: Adrianna Surmiak & Sylwia Męcfal


In contemporary social research, it is accepted that ethical issues are embedded in the research process regardless of the research perspective, research method, method of data analysis or presentation of results. Although social research has always involved ethical reflection, during the dominance of the positivist paradigm, the ethicality of research meant simply methodological correctness. Nowadays, attention to ethical issues in social research is much more broadly understood, as it is concerned, among other things, with avoiding harm to research participants, caring for their autonomy, confidentiality and sometimes the benefits of the research for the participants (e.g., their enumeration). Greater attention to research ethics is also manifested in the formalisation and institutionalisation of research ethics. Codes of ethics and ethics committees are intended, on the one hand, to show researchers the right ways to behave and, on the other hand, to control their behaviour during research. This puts social researchers in a situation where they also have to face a number of formalised requirements that may affect their research practice and the ethical solutions that they apply. Despite these formal rules, social researchers still face various ethical challenges that they cannot always deal with easily.

Such ethical challenges for social researchers seem to be increasing in the modern world for several reasons. For example, new circumstances affecting the conduct of research are emerging (e.g., Covid-19 pandemic), and new technologies are being developed which enable other ways of collecting data (e.g., using GPS maps). In addition, collaboration between researchers from different countries and disciplines (guided by different ethical approaches, both formal and informal) is becoming more common, or broadening the scope of ethical care in social research by including new ethical subjects (such as animals, air, and river). Therefore, while there is a general consensus in the research community that research should be conducted ethically, it is not always clear what this means in practice, and how researchers deal with ethical challenges in specific research situations.

We invite submissions from researchers who are interested in how ethical issues affect contemporary research practices in the social sciences. The range of issues addressed will include, but not be limited to, the following questions:

  • What ethical challenges and difficulties are involved in conducting research using new technologies?
  • What role do increased ethical requirements play in social research? What are the procedural challenges involved when conducting social research, especially in trans- and interdisciplinary research teams?
  • How do different methodological approaches shape research ethics?
  • How do we ethically represent data? Where is the boundary between ethics and 'moralising'?
  • For what and for whom is the researcher responsible at different stages of the research process? What does such responsibility mean in research practice?
  • How do the ethics of the researcher, the ethics of the research and the ethics of the subjects in research practice interact? To what extent should the researcher align his/her conduct in the field with the ethics of the subjects?
  • How do different factors affect ethics in research practice?
  • What are the implications of increasing competition for research grant funding for research ethics?


Formal requirements

Papers should be submitted for double-blind peer review via the journal's online platform: https://diametros.uj.edu.pl. Before submitting your paper, please read our instructions for authors carefully: Instructions for authors.

The submitted essays should:

  • be in English;
  • present original research;
  • have not been published previously;
  • not exceed 40,000 characters in length (inclusive of spaces, footnotes and the bibliography);
  • fulfill the other submission criteria for the Diametros journal.

In assessing the essays, priority will be given to originality, their potential for advancing discussion, and clarity of expression. Submissions are invited from researchers at every stage in their career (including postgraduate students enrolled on PhD programs).