I have an interesting (in my mind) experiment in mind: it entails e-mailing hundreds or thousands of corresponding authors, asking them to voluntarily fill out a short survey about their work.
For Research Projects you may use the API:
(a) to view, use, download and print such data fields for individual academic use;
(b) to perform specific research or numerical or statistical analyses on such data to produce reports in support of scientific endeavors (provided for abstracts you must have the relevant rights by law or from the copyright owner for such use); [...]
I'm not quite sure if this would be ethical though. This kind of bulk e-mail resembles SPAM and, even though the academic value of the survey would likely be tangible to the recipients, it feels like it is crossing a line.
How would this kind of research likely be perceived?
- I will be approaching my organisation's research ethics contact as well, but I expect them to err on the side of caution.
- I am not concerned about the technicalities of sending such mails (e.g., I would not use the university's email servers).
- I am aware that this paradigm may introduce a selection bias; such is not what I am asking about here.
- I am not pondering just mass e-mailing thousands of people. I would carefully select my audience and send them individualized mails with individualized, specific questions.