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Data Ethics

Mission and objectives 

The mission of the Working Group is to work with global scholars to collaboratively establish a basic consensus for further activities and research on data ethics principles and a data ethics framework which will help CODATA advance its mission in championing global open data exchange and applications in alignment with the UNESCO Recommendations on Open Science. The specific objective  is to explore the landscape and make recommendations on how CODATA activities can contribute to tackling issues of data ethics.  


The growing application of big data in scientific research, can raise some ethical challenges, particularly in relation to privacy, transparency, accountability and openness. The Data Ethics WG will support  and promote  CODATA’s mission  to advance science and improve our world, and promote the implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation for ethical considerations in data stewardship and consensus on global open scientific data access and utilization. The WG will also liaise with international partners and initiatives, such as ISC, EOSC, GOSC and so on and promote application of the recommendations. 


Over the next two years, the Data Ethics WG will: 

  • Conduct a survey and create a forum to define the role of CODATA in data ethics.  
  • Develop an initial consensus on the most important ethical issues in relation to the implementation of the UNESCO Recommendations. 
  • Propose initial recommendations for future CODATA Task Group on data ethics and guidelines for implementation of the UNESCO recommendation.  
  • Draft initial data ethics definitions and terms for proposal of the future Task Group to be submitted in 2023

Planned (and later on actual) activities and outputs for 2021-2023 

  • Set up the Working Group, by May 30, 2022
  • Conduct a questionnaire survey of Data Ethics: June, 2022
  • Draft a paper on research on concept and content of Data Ethics: December, 2022
  • Develop a White paper on global Data Ethics: June, 2023
  • Host a Data Ethics session in IDW 2023 and report: October, 2023, Salzburg
  • Submit an application to establish a Data Ethics Task Group


Co-chairs:  Prof. Lianglin Hu, Computer Network Information Center , CAS, China; Email:

Prof. Johannes John-Langba, School of Applied Human Sciences, University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN), South Africa ; Email:

The TG Secretary:  TBD