Towards smarter research ethics in data science

Learn more Add to Calendar 05/24/2018 09:30 AM 05/24/2018 03:00 PM Europe/London Towards smarter research ethics in data science Location of the event
Thursday 24 May 2018
Time: 09:30 - 15:00

Event type


Audience type


About the event

Organisers: Jon Crowcroft (The Alan Turing Institute and University of Cambridge, UK), Marina Jirotka (University of Oxford, UK)

This event is invite only,  register using the code in your invitation.

A number of sessions will be recorded and publicly available on our YouTube channel following the event.

Motivation for the event

Researchers working in the field of data science are increasingly facing new challenges and dilemmas over what constitutes ethical practice. The types of data available now to researchers and the ways in which these data can be analysed are often so new that best practice criteria for them do not yet exist; dilemmas may also occur where the law is unclear or where what is legal might also be considered unethical. Not all research dilemmas undergo formal Research Ethics Committee (REC) or Legal Services review, and there is little sharing of experience between organisations: institutions and researchers are unable to get a clear overview of their exposure to risk in this area.

Over the past year we have been talking to researchers and research governance professionals at Oxford and beyond. We have established that researchers and institutions are increasingly running into ethical questions for which there are no ready answers. As a result we are developing a pathway for people to share and learn from each other’s experience. This workshop forms an important step in the development of this pathway

Workshop outline 

The workshop will bring together key stakeholders in this area – researchers working with data, ethics experts, administration and oversight professionals, and other interested professionals. A series of interactive sessions will facilitate the sharing of experience and discussion to identify potential solutions to the issues at hand. Key questions to be addressed include:

- How can potentially risky research be supported?
- What can we learn from existing models, and what needs to be explored or developed?
- What steps can we take next, and who should be involved?

We hope the discussions at this workshop will help create a network of engaged practitioners, ideally leading to a joint study to engage with researchers, ethics and legal experts, to develop guidance, training materials, or other activities which the community deems necessary to proactively meet the challenge of ensuring best practice at the frontier of research.


Further info


Towards smarter research ethics in data science

09:30 – 10:00 Registration and coffee

10:00 – 10:20 Welcome, background and objectives – Helena Webb (University of Oxford)

10:20 – 11:30 Scenario discussions (small groups)

11:30 – 12:30 Report back – Katherine Fletcher (Coordinator, Cyber Security Oxford, University of Oxford)

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch

13:30 – 14:30 Panel discussion: Perspectives on Research Ethics – Chair Jon Crowcroft (University of Cambridge)

John Grant (Director of Privacy and Civil Liberties Engineering, Palantir)
Tom Sorell (leader of the Interdisciplinary Ethics Research Group, University of Warwick)
Kirstie Whitaker (Research Fellow at The Alan Turing Institute)
Karsten Donnay (University of Konstanz)

14:30 – 15:00 Next steps – Chair Marina Jirotka (University of Oxford)

15:00 Close

16:00 Data and inequality: Perceptions of inequality and their links to political instability: The role of data science – Karsten Donnay (University of Konstanz)


The Alan Turing Institute

1st floor of the British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB

51.5297753, -0.12665390000006

Research areas