New and complex data sets raise challenging ethical questions about risk to individuals that are not sufficiently covered by computer science training, ethics codes, or Institutional Review Boards. The use of publicly available, corporate, and government datasets may reveal human practices, behaviors, and interactions in unintended ways, creating the need for new kinds of ethical support. This project examined the role of research librarians in assisting computer science researchers as they navigate emerging issues of privacy, ethics, and equitable access to data at different phases of the research process.
This exploratory project built upon the emerging support systems, including assistance from the research library, for computer science researchers that has resulted from Data Management Plans required by federal funders. Drawing on their data management skills and knowledge of information ethics, academic librarians may be well poised to act as partners to computer science and engineering researchers throughout the research process, including the use of third-party data.
This project was supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Dr. Rachelle Hollander, Director for the Center for Engineering, Ethics, and Society at the National Academy of Engineering, served as a project advisor.
Data & SocietyBackground: University campuses provide an ecosystem of support to technical researchers, including computer scientists, as they navigate emerging issues of privacy, ethics, security, and consent in big data research. These su... Read on Data & SocietySeptember 2016
Data & SocietySupporting Ethical Data Research: An Exploratory Study of Emerging Issues in Big Data and Technical ResearchThis primer explores current and potential interactivity between librarians and computer science researchers at different phases of the research process as they come across questions of privacy, potential harms, and security in data storage. Read moreAugust 2016