[Air-L] Internet Research Ethics 3.0: invitation to interviews

Charles M. Ess c.m.ess at media.uio.no
Sun Oct 15 11:02:00 PDT 2017

Dear AoIR-ists, copy to aline franzke,

The AoIR guidelines for ethical decision-making (2002, 2012) are living 
documents that continue to prove useful to researchers and ethical 
review boards alike who confront the multiple ethical challenges that 
arise in internet-facilitated research.
But novel developments, such as the increased complexity of datasets, 
questions of “grey data” and data from mixed sources (governmental, 
corporate, university-based), embedded metadata, along with many others, 
have occasioned the AoIR project of developing additional ethical 
guidelines and resources for internet research.  So an Ethics Working 
Group was inaugurated following last year’s conference in Berlin; a 
first stage in our work will be two ethics roundtables this coming week 
in Tartu that highlight such contemporary ethical challenges and their 
possible resolutions, and dialogues with researchers facing similar 

At the same time, the Working Group wants to collect examples and 
develop case-studies of such contemporary ethics challenges.  We hope 
that an effective way of doing so is to invite interested researchers to 
short, informal interviews (e.g., instead of asking for more formal and 
time-consuming written accounts).
Specifically, we would be very grateful indeed to collect your personal 
views and opinions about challenges you see in data-driven research. 
With your permission, these opinions and views may be used to build 
paradigmatic case-studies that will help improve the guidelines, add 
some flesh, so to speak, and create a broader and more complete picture 
about what needs to be addressed in the new guidelines and resources.

aline franzke is an ethics WG member who has developed considerable 
expertise in the area of data ethics.  We are very fortunate indeed that 
aline serves this fall as a research assistant in the Department of 
Media and Communication, University of Oslo, with specific focus on 
furthering the research and work of the WG. aline will be available in 
Tartu to interview researchers who wish to contribute their experiences 
and comments.
The interview may take only a few minutes, but will be limited to 30 
minutes. Interviews will be audio-recorded and then transcribed: the 
original interview recordings will be deleted. Interviewees may remain 
completely anonymous: it is not necessary to give your name, institution 
or position. Interview transcriptions will be used only for the purpose 
of building the body of case-studies. Interviewees may also request to 
review any potentially public use of the case-study prior to its 
distribution or publication; they may further ask for either additional 
steps to protect confidentiality and anonymity, or simply withdraw their 
permission for the case-study to be published in any way.

While challenging and sometimes difficult to document in these ways, we 
know that it is only by making personal struggles with data research 
transparent to a certain degree will we be able to respond adequately in 
the new version of the AoIR guidelines.
Please feel free to contact aline at <aline.franzke at gmail.com> if you 
would like to share a story or describe an issue that urgently needs to 
be addressed.

Many thanks in advance,
- charles ess
Co-chair (with Anja Bechmann and Michael Zimmer), AoIR Ethics WG

Professor in Media Studies
Department of Media and Communication
University of Oslo

Postboks 1093
Blindern 0317
Oslo, Norway
c.m.ess at media.uio.no

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