ACI takes a non-speciesist approach to research and, regardless of their species, all individuals involved in research are regarded as participants and not as subjects, and are treated with the same respect. In particular, ACI researchers have a responsibility to:
- Acknowledge and respect the characteristics of all species participating in the research without discriminating against any of them.
- Treat both human and nonhuman participants as individuals equally deserving of consideration, respect and care according to their needs.
- Choose to work with a species only if the intent is to advance knowledge or develop technology that is beneficial or otherwise relevant to that particular species.
- Protect both human and nonhuman participants from physiological or psychological harm at all times, by employing research methods that are non-invasive, non-oppressive and non-depriving.
- Afford both human and nonhuman participants the possibility to withdraw from the interaction at any time, either temporarily or permanently.
- Obtain informed consent to the involvement of both human and animal participants, either from the participants themselves (e.g., for adult humans) or from those who are legally responsible for them (e.g., for animals).
To ensure that ACI research is carried out under strictest ethical standards, The Open University has developed an ACI Research Ethics protocol, which grants animal participants the same level of protection granted to children and vulnerable humans, who are not able to give informed consent to their involvement.
The protocol will be published shortly; in the meantime, for researchers and research institutions who wish to make use of it, it can be obtained by emailing C.Mancini@open.ac.uk