The digitization of everyday life has led to an interesting phenomenon for research administrators; the ethical concerns that arise from secondary uses of large and open data now pose a greater challenge for the ethical management of research data than do the conventional challenges of primary data acquisition. As debates over consent forms give way to discussions of differential privacy, it is hard to ignore the new reality that the highest levels of risk and benefit to human participants in research may now arise from secondary data uses. What should research administrators and IRB members do to understand and manage the risks and benefits? Read more


At PRIM&R's 2019 Advancing Ethical Research Conference, Ivor Pritchard, PhD, discussed the relation between public, private, and social information in his session, The Secrets of Big Data: Public, Private or What? (B15). Dr. Pritchard asked, what are the risks and confidentiality provisions for social information?

First, the concept of social information can be described as neither publicly nor privately available, but information provided in controlled settings. As an example, data gathered from a classroom or an online chatroom are neither public nor private in that the subject is a) not alone and b) not everyone has access to that environment. Then, what are the risks to subjects in social experiments (experiments conducted in public settings like [...] Read more