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Foreign Policy and Security Research
Posted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:25 pm
To amplify some points in an earlier thread, I have concerns about the implications of DA-RT for scholars who study the foreign and security policies of other countries, especially in non-democratic ones where access to information about these topics can be difficult to obtain. This kind of research often involves conducting interviews on the basis of strict confidentiality not to identify the individual in any way, quote them, etc. Such interviews can be incredibly informative and often crucial to the success of a project where secondary sources are lacking and print-based primary sources unavailable or inaccessible to a foreign researcher. Such interviews can almost never be recorded and in some cases, note-taking during the interview may not be possible, which means a full and complete transcript is hard to produce. But the broader point is that any the creation and public distribution of a transcript of the interview would violate the terms on which it was conducted (to protect confidentiality) and could potentially be used to discern the identity of the individual. If such transcripts were required, it would either limit the willingness of scholars to conduct in this kind of research or prevent such research from being published journals that imposed such a requirement. The former would be a much greater concern for graduate students and junior scholars, while the latter would be perhaps more likely for senior or established scholars. Either way, the real cost is the willing to conduct and disseminate research on such topics, which seems to be a high price to pay.