[Corpora-List] Ethical review of spoken corpus collection

Janne Bondi Johannessen jannebj at iln.uio.no
Tue Apr 5 18:10:04 CEST 2011

We have similar restrictions in Norway. All corpora containing audio and video are considered to contain sensitive data, and we are not supposed to use the corpus data for other purposes than have been planned and, importantly, conveyed to the informants beforehand. The person protection law is very strict for corpora that contain no secrets and no personal information (except the fact that the informants can be recognised).

However, we have managed to find a solution that seems to work - in cooperation with the state institution that deals with the person act and research data. We have agreed with them that if we tell the informants whose speech will be part of a corpus that the goal for this particular research project is to develop a speech corpus for linguistic research, then it is the corpus that is the research project rather than particular research questions. We also do not have to dispose of the data when the project is finished because we have given the project a very long life time - eternal.

In our country, too, there are very strict laws for researchers, while anything can be done legally in the name of art, for example extremely revealing and damaging documentaries about individual people.

Janne Bondi Johannessen.

2011/4/5 Brett Reynolds <brett.reynolds at humber.ca>:
> We have what appears to me to be a rather restrictive ethical review policy based on the this document: <http://www.pre.ethics.gc.ca/pdf/eng/tcps2/TCPS_2_FINAL_Web.pdf>, and I'm sure others face similar constraints. It requires among other things, that people from whom data is gathered be notified of the particular research purposes for which that data will be used (no "such as" allowed). It also requires that contributors be able to withdraw at any point. Finally, it typically requires that data be destroyed after the study is completed, although it does allow that research ethics boards "should not automatically impose a requirement that researchers destroy the research data. Stored information may be useful for a variety of future purposes."
> I find it very strange that these onerous requirements do not apply to staff doing PR, organizational research (for internal use), journalism, or art, all of whom are trusted to gathering the same type of data as researchers without oversight, but that's another issue.
> These requirements obviously have implications for anyone compiling a corpus of spoken language, especially if one were to make that corpus publicly available, as, for example Mark Davies has done with his written corpora. Has anyone run up against this, and, if so, how did you deal with it?
> Best,
> Brett
> -----------------------
> Brett Reynolds
> English Language Centre
> Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
> Toronto, Ontario, Canada
> brett.reynolds at humber.ca
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-- Janne Bondi Johannessen Professor, The Text Laboratory, ILN, http://www.hf.uio.no/tekstlab/ President, NEALT, http://omilia.uio.no/nealt/ University of Oslo P.O.Box 1102 Blindern, N-0317 Oslo, Norway Tel: +47 22 85 68 14, mob.: +47 928 966 34

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