In October 2010, CyberAgent, Inc. stated the significance of its existence and purpose, “To break through stagnation with new power and the internet”. The background to this was our question, “What is the purpose of companys' existence and business in society?” and our wish, “We would like each of us to feel we are contributing to society through our work.” In order for our company to break through the stagnation that remains in Japanese society, not only do we need to pursue economic value, but we also need to grapple with societal issues and push for evolution in society through technology. We do not want to gloss over things, instead, we aim to focus on substantial, raw issues and make bold and sincere solutions, without being caught up by the status quo or assumptions.
To increase the chance of reaching solutions for such social challenges, our research development organization and researchers are seeking and pursuing the next generation of science and technology that will be the source of innovation. Our researchers are requested to deliberate and foresee the impact of the technology they pursue on society and the environment, as well as act ethically. Therefore, we have established “Research Ethics Guidelines” based on our “Mission Statement”, and ask that all employees (hereinafter referred to as “researchers”) engaged in research development of science and technology observe these guidelines. In order for our researchers to carry out research that is considered ethical and scientific, these guidelines aim to establish the fundamental regulations for required actions. We also observe Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) Research, Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), and science and technology governance, and constantly inspect our Research Ethics Guidelines for important matters, and make any necessary changes.
Research activities are executed with the following items as fundamental principles.
(1) Carry out research that has social and scientific significance
(2) Ensure scientific rationality according to characteristics of the research fields
(3) Consider the burdens and detriments for research subjects
(4) Consider the ripple effects on society and the environment
(5) Carry out monitoring, inspections, and evaluations related to education and research, by following these guidelines
(6) Obtain consent in advance from research subjects based on sufficient explanations and their free will
(7) Take special consideration for socially vulnarable populations
(8) Appropriate management of privacy protection and information
(9) Ensure quality and transparent research
Consideration for Research Participants
Researchers respect the individuality and human rights of and consider the welfare of research participants. Also, when carrying out research that requires dealing with potential hazards for livelihoods or safety, observe related laws and ordinances and company regulations, as well as scientific society guidelines and ethical codes.
Consideration for Society and the Environment
Researchers carefully consider the derivative and secondary ripple effects caused by research activity and ensure the safety and security of research participants and people surrounding test environments without violating individuality, livelihood, health, safety, or social rights. They are also committed to the development of welfare, protection of a sustainable environment, as well as transparency and integrity of services under study that are essential to carry out the research.
Eliminate Discrimination and Harassment
For research activity and social implementation processes, researchers are impartial based on scientific methods and respect individual freedom and personality without discriminating against race, gender, status, thoughts, creed, or religion. Also, their position or authority is not exploited to speak or behave in a way that could be detrimental to those who receive instructions or guidance. Researchers are aware of and have foresight about the impacts caused to users and the public by socially implemented services and carry out proper measures to prevent discrimination, bullying, and harassment.
Privacy Protection and Proper Information Management
Researchers respect the dignity and human rights of research participants, and protect their privacy based on related laws and ordinances, and company regulations, without causing ethical, legal, or social issues. Also, they make necessary and proper arrangements in security management related to information and protecting the dignity of the individual.
Dialogue with Relevant Parties
Researchers aim for the sound development of science and technology and actively participate in the mutual evaluation in the community. When there is criticism on their own research, researchers listen to it humbly and exchange opinions in a sincere manner. To give constructive criticism for the results of others, researchers properly evaluate the achievements of academic outcomes and respect their honor and intellectual property rights.
Researchers are thorough in preserving and strictly handling data records from research and surveys, without committing or assisting in any wrongdoings, such as fabrications, alterations, or fraudulent use. Also, by disclosing the results of scientific research as appropriate in essays and so on, individuals will be recognized for their achievements and bear responsibility for the roles they played.
Observance of Laws and Ordinances, and Agreements
When it comes to researchers carrying out research or using expenses for research, they observe related laws and ordinances, guidelines, company regulations, and agreements.
Ensure Accountability and Transparency
Researchers actively explain the significance and duties in the research they are engaged in and evaluate how that research may cause possible effects and changes to humans, society, and the environment. It is necessary to ensure neutrality, objectivity, and transparency for that result, along with building a constructive and continuous dialogue with society.
Manage Conflicts of Interest
Regarding the researcher’s own research, reviews, evaluations, judgments, and scientific advice, they take sufficient care of conflicts of interest between individuals and organizations or between different organizations. They also consider to what extent their actions may affect society and deal with such matters appropriately.
Appropriate Correspondence and Information
Any discussions or inquiries from research participants or those involved are taken appropriately and quickly. When researchers become aware that their research may harm ethical validity or scientific rationality or affect the continuation of research, the research activity shall be stopped or suspended without delay, along with a review of the research plan.
Implementation of Ethical Review
CyberAgent establishes the Ethics Review Committee, consisting of specialists from natural science, humanities, social science, and jurisprudence, as well as members who provide a general standpoint to ensure whether research content and test methods comply with the fundamental principles and action guidelines, multilateral impartiality, and neutrality. The Ethics Review Committee includes external members and consists of both sexes. In addition, it carries out ethical reviews under regulations established.