As adopted by the IASSA General Assembly convened in Copenhagen May 23, 1998, during the Third International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (ICASS III).



This statement of principles has been formulated in accordance with the Bylaws of the International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA) adopted by the IASSA General Assembly on 29 October 1992. These Principles have been formulated to provide guidelines for all researchers working in the North in the social, natural and health sciences, and in the humanities. These principles are intended to promote mutual respect, communication and partnerships between researchers and northern residents. This statement is not intended to replace other national, professional or local guidelines. It is understood that there must be continuing assessment of the principles.



All scientific investigations in the North should be assessed in terms of their potential human impact and interest. Social science research, particularly studies of human subjects, requires special consideration, as do studies of land and resources that have economic, cultural, social and spiritual value to Native people. In all instances, it is the responsibility of the principal investigator on each project to implement the following:

1. The researcher should consult with the appropriate regional and/or local authorities regarding planned research within their territories. Informed consent should be obtained from appropriate authorities and from any individuals involved in the research. In seeking informed consent, the researchers should identify all sponsors and sources of support; the person in charge and all investigators involved in the research; the purposes, goals, and time frame of the research; data gathering techniques (including audio and video recording, photographs, etc.) and uses to which they will be put and foreseeable potential benefits and risks. The responsibility of researchers to inform continues after approval has been obtained.

2. The researcher should consult with and, where applicable, include local people in project planning and implemen-tation. Realistic opportunities should be provided for them to express their interests and to participate in the research.

3. Research results should be presented to local communities in non-technical terms and where possible translated into local languages. Copies of research reports and other relevant materials should be made available to local communities.

4. Subject to the requirements for anonymity, publications should always refer to the informed consent of participants and give credit to those contributing to the research project.

5. The researcher must respect local cultural traditions, languages, and values. Efforts should be made to incorporate local and traditional knowledge and experience and to acknowledge the principle of cultural property.

6. Efforts should be made to provide meaningful experience, training and economic opportunities for local people.

7. In cases where individuals or groups provide information of a confidential nature, their anonymity must be guaranteed in both the original use of data and in its deposition for future use.

8. Research on humans should only be undertaken in a manner that respects their privacy and dignity. Subjects must remain anonymous unless they have agreed to be identified. If anonymity cannot be guaranteed, the subjects must be informed of the possible consequences of becoming involved in the research.

9. All research involving children must be fully justified and never undertaken without the consent of the children and their parents or legal guardians.

10. Sacred sites, cultural materials and human remains cannot be disturbed or removed without appropriate local consent and in accordance with international, national and local laws and regulations. 

Contact Information

IASSA Secretariat


348 ITTC 
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Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0406 USA

Phone: 1-319-273-3778
Fax: 1-319-273-7103



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