ResourceOctober 18 2016

Best Practices for Conducting Risky Research and Protecting Yourself from Online Harassment

Alice E. Marwick,
Lindsay Blackwell,
Katherine Lo

Researchers who investigate sensitive topics may face online harassment, social shaming, or other networked forms of abuse. In addition to potential impacts on the researcher’s reputation and mental health, fear of harassment may have a chilling effect on the type of research that is conducted and the capabilities of individual researchers.

This document is a set of best practices for researchers – especially junior researchers – who wish to engage in research that may make them susceptible to online harassment. We provide recommendations for academic institutions, supervisors, and individuals, including cyber-security guidelines and links to other resources.

We’ve also created a 2-page information sheet that researchers can give to university personnel to educate them about the realities of online harassment and what administrators can do about it.

The authors welcome feedback about this document. Please send suggestions and edits to riskyresearch at datasociety dot net.