Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Journal of Responsible Innovation

For a Special Issue on

Integrating Ethics

Abstract deadline
01 November 2023

Manuscript deadline
01 March 2024

Cover image - Journal of Responsible Innovation

Special Issue Editor(s)

Wenzel Mehnert, Societal Futures, AIT Vienna, Austria
[email protected]

Nele Fischer, Berlin Ethics Lab, TU Berlin, Germany

Sabine Ammon, Berlin Ethics Lab, TU Berlin, Germany

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Integrating Ethics


This special issue of the Journal of Responsible Innovation focuses on the practices and methods of integrating ethics into the development process of emerging technologies to foster responsible innovation. Building on the activities of "mapping the integrative field" (Fisher et al. 2015), we invite practitioners to present methods, share experiences and reflect on case studies with the goal to structure the different approaches and methods currently circulating in various disciplines.

A major concern of the advances in emerging technologies, e.g. Artificial Intelligence and Human-Machine-Interaction, is the risk of causing undesired effects in sensitive areas of our lives. Negative effects can result in discrimination, violation of data protection and privacy, lack of transparency of decisions as well as scaling effects and many more. As technologies are strongly connected to the implicit ethics of the developers and the conceptual framing of the development process, it leads to a normalization of value systems hidden in the applications as well as in the developer’s design frameworks.

A prevailing approach to ensure the development of more responsible innovation is the creation of guidelines. However, translating the often abstract guidelines into the specifics of a very concrete development process remains a challenge and is perceived as an additional burden by development teams. In addition, by reducing ethical reflection to checklists or guidelines, ethics takes an external position and is not integrated into the actual development process (Kiran, Oudshoorn, and Verbeek 2015). Due to a lack of specific design tools or methods to cross the disciplinary gap between actual development and ethical reflection as well as related challenges (Lee et al. 2019), a systematic approach to integrate ethics is missing in development processes. To understand ethics as a necessary activity and an integral part of being a responsible developer, developers need to be able to integrate ethics into the development work and to integrate a specific epistemology into the workflows and frameworks they are working with.

This challenge is explored by different academic fields from the humanities, STS, sociology, technology assessment, foresight and philosophy. The resulting field of practices, however, is yet unstable and in constant flux, due largely to the interdisciplinary backgrounds, methodological assumptions, and the necessary adaptability to the diverse contexts in which the practices and approaches of ethical reflection are explored. This special issue offers a reflection space on the different challenges, questions and practices of integrating ethics that are currently circulating with the aim to portray current developments in this dynamic field. Moreover, building on the work of mapping the field of integration (Fisher et al., 2015) and the submissions, the guest editors will propose a possible structure of practices that contributes to the systematisation of the field.


We invite practitioners to reflect on their practices of integrating ethics into the development process of emerging technologies by building on their specific methodological experiences and cases. Examples can come from different fields (such as STS, philosophy of technology, and similar humanities and social sciences, as well as engineering and science) and can address different technologies and stages of the development process. We ask contributions to take a praxeological perspective, combining a presentation of the applied approach and, in focus, a reflection of the presented practice.

We specifically call for papers that reflect one or more of the following topics:

  • The role of normative and descriptive work, e.g. reflections considering the description of implications and values in relation to the setting of values and strategies or negotiating values in light of multiple perspectives.
  • The role of timing for integrating ethics, e.g. what are the respective upsides and downsides of working at different stages of the process, of on-time vs. constant cooperation?
  • The role of the participants/collaborators, e.g. who should be involved in what, what are the respective potentials and challenges, are there patterns visible when working with specific (interdisciplinary) perspectives such as the developers, business or stakeholder perspectives or from different project partners?
  • The role of the ethicist and ethics expertise within technology development, e.g. regarding insights on what this person (or team) should (not) do, know, be, feel, …, the relationship to other expertise, knowledges or epistemologies involved.
  • The role of tools used, e.g. regarding potential standardizations or the relationship between guidelines and tools.
  • The role of doing ethics and what ‘ethical reflection’ means, e.g. in terms of a lived practice, knowledge or training, and what that means for the goals and findings of integrated ethics endeavours.

Submission Instructions

To contribute to the special issue:

  • Please provide a 150 - 300 word abstract by 1st November 2023 (end of day; CET). If selected, an invitation to submit a full manuscript will follow.
  • Please also include a short biography and overview of your work, summarising your practice or the direction of your reflections.
  • We will review abstracts by 15th November 2023. Full manuscripts must be submitted at the latest by 1st March 2024.
  • Send your abstract to: [email protected] with the subject Line [Integrating Ethics].

We invite perspective papers (up to 3.000 words), method papers (up to 5.000 words) and research papers (up to 8.000 words). For a method paper, please include a procedural description of the method and address the following questions:

  • What is the goal of the method or tool you are using and what should be achieved?
  • Which group of people you are working with (stakeholders, developers, others)?
  • In which phase(s) of the development process are you active?
  • What are the strengths and limitations of the method you developed?

This special issue is a collaboration between the research field Societal Futures at the Austrian Institute of Technology and the Berlin Ethics Lab at the Technical University in Berlin. It builds up on a four-hour panel discussion at the STS Hub, hosted by the RWTH Aachen (Germany, 2023).

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