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Norms and Ethics: Prerequisites for Excellence in Co-production

Publication Type:

Conference/Workshop Paper


Högskola och Samhälle i Samverkan


Abstract Knowledge production is increasingly made in broader Mode 2 (Gibbons, 1994) network of stakeholders and contributing actors, e.g. in the form of participatory, interactive and action research. Historically this has always been an important part of scientific and academic activity, particularly important in certain scientific fields of research, e.g. engineering, business administration, organization and working life research, pedagogics and social work studies, as well in methodological traditions like action research and participatory research (Reason & Bradbury, 2008). When roles in knowledge production are more interconnected traditional research ethics focused on ethical treatments of research objects when they also are subjects (e.g. information, consent, and confidentiality) need to be significantly supplemented. When knowledge is seen as co-produced in interaction between equal parties with different contribution to the process and knowledge interest, this creates the need for recognition and guidance of special norms and ethical codes as prerequisites for excellent practice. This paper is aiming to explore and discuss norms of excellence and ethical concerns in co-production between academia and enterprises and how collaboration could be organized to increase both validity and utility of the knowledge created in such settings. All parties in such collaborative setting have the responsibility to generate practical agreements as to form the ground for a beneficial co-production, however this includes rules for securing non-violation of rights, like confidentiality and intellectual property. The parties share responsibility in review and control of quality of processes and results in relation to these agreements, although it differs in what matters considered important to address in academic traditions and enterprises cultures. The purpose of this paper is to develop an extended set of norms and ethical principles for co-production oriented research. The main focus is relational dimension between involved parties instead of how one party (the researcher) treats other affected parties. We have therefore developed a list of norms with clarification and argument as basis for their use. Examples are: acknowledgement and respect should be given to different forms of knowledge, theoretical and practical, explicit and formal as well as implicit and tacit; care should be taken to provide space for expression of different perspectives of involved parties in order to secure validation and useful results, open discussion on equal terms; democratic dialogue, is a core medium for good co-productive relations, different knowledge needs and interests of involved and concerned parties, practical as well as scientific; to the co-production should be considered in the aims and procedures, and that the parties have a mutual responsibility to develop sufficient understanding of the needs and interests of others. The proposed norms developed in this paper can be considered as a tool or a guideline for the development of ethical and excellence co-produced research.


author = {Ulrika Florin and Erik Lindhult},
title = {Norms and Ethics: Prerequisites for Excellence in Co-production},
editor = {Fia Andersson, Stockholms Universitet},
month = {May},
year = {2015},
booktitle = {H{\"o}gskola och Samh{\"a}lle i Samverkan},
url = {}