Ethics Portal at Grainger Library

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library will play an integral role in a newly announced National Science Foundation (NSF) five-year, $5 million grant awarded to Illinois for the development of the National Center for Professional and Research Ethics, an online portal for research and professional ethics in science, mathematics, and engineering.

The new center will develop, gather, preserve, and provide comprehensive access to resources related to ethics for teachers, students, researchers, administrators, and other audiences. A multidisciplinary research team will gather existing information, generate new innovative curricula materials, and create interactive collaboration tools that will help scientists and engineers incorporate ethical issues and reasoning into their pedagogy, research, and practice. The grant also funds several other partner institutions and organizations around the country who will contribute content and expertise to the project. A detailed news release on the center is available at .

The principal investigators on the grant are C. K. Gunsalus (Director and lead PI, University of Illinois, Business), Taft Broome (Howard University, Civil Engineering), Michael Loui (University of Illinois, Electrical and Computer Engineering), Nicholas Burbules (University of Illinois, Education), and William Mischo (University of Illinois, University Library).  In addition to Mischo, other University of Illinois Library personnel participating on the project are Mary Schlembach, Tom Habing, Sarah Shreeves, and Tim Cole. The grant will also support several research programmers and a metadata/content librarian.

The National Ethics Center will be headquartered in the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center at Illinois and will be built around the HUBZero e-learning and collaboration platform. The grant work will feature the development of HUBZero extensions that will allow the integration of custom-federated search applications, extended content harvesting and database technologies, and true preservation and archiving repository technologies. Under earlier grant support, the Library has developed and deployed a suite of federated search tools and user interface, archiving and database technologies. The technology development will be advised by a Technical Committee comprised of individuals from the University of Illinois and other institutions.

“We are very excited by the opportunities this grant provides. It will allow us to work collaboratively with other colleges and departments here on campus and with individuals and groups from around the country,” said William Mischo, head, Grainger Engineering Library Information Center.  “A key focus of the grant is to explore the merging of several important digital library technologies. It is our hope that this work will serve as a model for all other online resource centers.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…”  With an annual budget of about $6.9 billion (FY 2010), it is the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.  In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing.  For more information, visit .

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