Mission and objectives
The purpose of the Data Ethics Task Group (DETG) is to provide advice to CODATA, including the International Data Policy Committee, on current data ethics issues, in areas such as scientific integrity, protection of personal data, indigenous data sovereignty, computational uses of data, including AI and machine learning, and equality, diversity and inclusion.
Specific objectives include to:
- Bring together a diverse, international group of scholars from across disciplines with an interest in data ethics;
- Raise awareness of issues across stakeholders including funders, researchers, publishers, research subjects and the public, through workshops and high-level briefings;
- Investigate current awareness and practices through a survey and case studies; and
- Develop the first edition of a CODATA framework of data ethics principles which lays out principles for ethical data use in science.
Trust in the integrity of science is dependent on ethical creation, use and sharing of data. Subjects’ data rights such as for privacy and rights of representation must be respected throughout the research process. Data distribution must ensure equal access for researchers in every context, including low resourced contexts and recognising the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion among researchers. The increasing use of computational techniques including Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, by academic researchers demands consideration of the data ethics issues that this raises, especially around bias and privacy.
Considering the CODATA Strategic Plan on Cross-Domain data-driven innovation and the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, the DETG will contribute to CODATA’s priority on Data Policy through promoting principles, policies and practices for FAIR Data and trustworthy, equitable and transparent science. The DETG will develop a data ethics framework, co-produced with the CODATA community that will consider domain specific ethical issues (such as research purpose, data source object, computational methods in use and application scenario). The DETG will promote the successful implementation of the CODATA Strategic Plan 2023-2027 and lead in the development of standards in and application of global data Ethics.
Planned (and later on actual) activities and outputs for 2023-2025:
- Analyse current issues and guidelines (FAIR, CARE, JUST) and publish high level briefings on current topics: such as scientific integrity, protection of personal data, indigenous data sovereignty, computational uses of data and equality, diversity and inclusion;
- Develop and maintain a glossary of key terms and rolling bibliography;
- Undertake a survey of CODATA stakeholders to ascertain opinions, awareness and practices around data ethics;
- Develop the first edition of a CODATA framework of data ethics principles which lays out principles for ethical data use in science;
- Verification reports that apply the framework to the WorldFAIR+ projects
- Convene a global data ethics symposium aimed at promoting the UNESCO recommendations for open science in
- Convene a data ethics session at the 2025 International Data Week SciDataCon
Working with global scholars in the last two years ( as Data Ethics Working group of CODATA) to collaboratively establish a basic consensus for further activities and research on data ethics principles and a data ethics framework, the following were achieved:
- Convened a session at the 2023 International Data Week SciDataCon that explored research and scholarly practice related to data ethics and ethical data practices at the global level related to the following four themes: Ethics and Scientific Integrity; Ethics and Protection of Personal; Ethics and Indigenous Data Governance; Ethics, Global Power and Economic Relations
- Four draft policy briefs prepared and available for review/inputs here: https://bit.ly/WG-Data-Ethics-DRAFT-Policy-Briefs
- Prof. Johannes John-Langba, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
- Prof. Lianglin Hu, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, China
- Dr Andrew M. Cox, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
- Ms Ritasha Sookdew, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa