A New Committee to Consider Revisions to the ASA Code of Ethics
At the annual meeting in San Francisco, the Executive Officer, Sally Hillsman, met with the Committee on Professional Ethics (COPE) and suggested that it was time to revisit the Code of Ethics. It has been more than fifteen years since any revisions have been made to the Code, and a great deal of change has taken place. At the very least, social, regulatory, and technological advances have had striking impacts on the field. Moreover, it is anticipated that the federal Department of Health and Human Services will soon announce changes to The Common Rule, which governs the vast majority of human subjects research efforts.
To that end, an ASA committee has been formed to consider possible revisions. All members are either current or former members of COPE. It is chaired by Tom Van Valey, and the other members are Earl Babbie, Guillermina Jasso, John Kennedy, and Roberta Lessor.
The committee is completely open to considering any topic or issue that might affect the Code. In addition, we welcome suggestions of other members who could serve as resources with regard to specific issues. To this end, the ASA has set up an email account for members and others to communicate with the committee. It is COPE@asanet.org. If your organization has a concern, a suggestion of a topic or a resource person, or even if someone wants to volunteer to help, simply send a message to that address. You will be contacted by a committee member.
The ASA’s Code of Ethics
Starting in 1971, the ASA has had a working Code of Ethics approved by its membership. Since then, the ASA Code has been revised several times, most recently in 1997. Both the Code and the procedures for COPE - the ASA Committee on Professional Ethics (which is responsible for enforcing the Code) - can be found on the ASA website at www.asanet.org/about/ethics.cfm
Thomas L. Van Valey
Department of Sociology
Western Michigan University
Robert Dingwall,PhD,FAcSS, HonMFPH
Dingwall Enterprises, 109 Bramcote Lane, Wollaton, Nottingham NG8 2NJ
Phone +44(0)115 928 1973 or (0)781 135 8678