In a broad sense, the legal literacies surrounding research establish something of an outline for how a historian should conduct themselves, understanding how to best protect themselves if legally challenged, but more broadly how they should consider more effective approaches to research topics.
Ethics and privacy are very interrelated questions. Ethics being more of the rules surrounding how work should be fairly handled while privacy is the torts question of damages when it comes to how work can be mishandled. This does not just need to be an evaluation of how a historian may potentially be exposed from their work. Rather, these questions are opportunities to ask about how to more ethically approach a topic, get a closer relationship to research subjects or their families/groups and ultimately learn more through a closer, more reciprocal relationship.
In regard to copyright and licensing, it is important to be aware of fair use protections when using work to understand rights as a scholar to use work. When it comes to licensing, it is important to note that there may be restrictions for data mining using different resources. As such, it’s always good to check what licenses are available to the library for GMU use.
All of this really gives credit to the importance of knowing what your project is going to be and how to best approach it before executing it. All of these different questions highlight what kind of requisite planning there is before conducting an in-depth research project with particular goals. That means having the subject identified, what general research needs to be done, then identifying what specific questions we may be trying to answer and how they could be answered. As these specific questions and their proposed resolutions arise, it is important to really take a closer look at the potential impact of the work. But again, that really opens the door to considering an alternative approach that, simply by virtue of being more conscious, creates better scholarship that aims to be fair to all of the parties involved. This is the kind of thinking that makes it easier and more obvious to question racial bias in academic circles.
I think that what surprised me the most are the licensing questions surrounding data mining using different resources. While being generally aware of fair use for copyrighted work, I did not realize that the same consideration was not extended that much more.