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ERIC Number: EJ972734
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jan-5
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1931-1362
Boston College Case Shows Weakness of Researchers' Confidentiality Pledges
Schmidt, Peter
Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan 2012
The author reports on a legal battle over oral-history records housed at Boston College that casts light on how little legal weight pledges of confidentiality to research subjects actually have. As a federal court weighs whether to let the federal government seize, and hand over to British authorities, the college's records of confidential interviews with participants in the conflict in Northern Ireland, experts on law related to academic freedom are asking not whether the records can be kept secret, but whether the researchers erred in saying they could. Although the dispute is unusual in that it involves an international treaty between the United States and Britain, leading oral historians say a court decision ordering Boston College to turn over the records could undermine many other such studies, by prompting potential interview subjects to refuse involvement or to censor themselves.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Northern Ireland); United States