Network Expansion Announcement

The Council for Big Data, Ethics, and Society would like you to help us build a community of researchers and thinkers with a scholarly interest in the social, technical, legal, and ethical issues raised by the “big data” phenomenon. The BDES Network will facilitate information sharing, discussion, and community building among academics, practitioners, researchers, and others who seek to raise important questions, share opportunities, and ask for help navigating complex data ethics issues. The network is being formed in connection with the NSF-supported Council for Big Data, Ethics, and Society, but will also have a life of its own. Participants can expect to be invited to participate in grants, collaborations, grants, and opportunities to connect with one another.


Nominate yourself or someone you know to be part of a growing network of practitioners, academics, researchers, and others talking about data ethics. We are interested in hearing about data ethics challenges you’ve faced or helped others navigate. What should you do when publicly available anonymous data can be re-identified? Should geotagged data be shared with third parties for purposes such as advertising or scoring credit worthiness? How do dating apps interpret data about user preferences to shape user experiences? How does the ‘sharing economy’ make use of data about customers and employee-contractors? Share your ideas, knowledge, and experiences via multiple channels, including a curated online forum and focus groups.


Please send us a letter with the following:

  1. Name, title, and email of the nominator.
  2. Name, title, affiliation, email, URL of the nominee.
  3. What is the nominee’s primary discipline and methodology?
  4. Briefly describe the nominee’s work related to data ethics. (200-word limit)
  5. Please describe how this nominee’s background or experience offers a unique perspective that will enhance the diversity of perspectives among the research network. (100-word limit)
  6. Please describe any unique experiences the nominee has had navigating data ethics or instructing others on this topic (optional). (200-word limit)

Commitments/ activities/ benefits:

  1. Commitments:
    1. Participate at least several times a month through a forum on Slack, including offering comments on others’ questions or experiences.
    2. Contribute to a focus group via webinar or in person, or individual Skype discussions explaining how you’ve dealt with data ethics issues.
    3. Provide feedback on the Council’s draft frameworks as they emerge.
  2. Benefits:
    1. Interact with a network of people including senior scholars.
    2. Make connections that could lead to future research.
    3. Invitations to opportunities targeted at data ethics researchers (including events, grant proposals, and collaboration possibilities).
    4. Potential opportunities for paid writing/research on these issues.

We strongly believe that research networks can be hugely valuable for researchers working in an emergent area, but the texture of those benefits depends heavily on the participants. As a result, we will also be looking to the network for ideas about what else can be done that will be collectively beneficial.


Your name will be listed on website associated with the Council and you may receive additional requests/opportunities from others who are eager to work with people who are a part of this network. We are already receiving numerous requests for researchers from academics and journalists around the world. Membership lasts one year, followed by potential renewal.


This is a platform for you to imagine what can be done by a network of your peers – we are open to suggestions and proposals of things that can leverage a network to have greater impact. Thank you.


Download Network Expansion Announcement


*Funding for this Council was provided by the National Science Foundation (#IIS-1413864).