Data Ethics

Data Ethics in the Participatory Sciences Toolkit

Welcome to the Data Ethics in the Participatory Sciences Toolkit, a resource developed for considering ethical issues surrounding data, the bedrock of science. It was built collaboratively by and for practitioners of citizen and community science. The toolkit aims to help project leaders understand their role as data handlers in identifying, satisfying, and/or balancing ethical obligations of a project to participants, partners, science, and society.

The toolkit begins with the Data Governance Tool as a foundation for many decisions in the project. It also includes tools on Data Integrity, Report-Outs, Recompense, and Report-Backs. Each tool includes both a “key concepts”document and aworksheet to help you think through the specifics of your own project.

The tools are not designed to prescribe specific or singular answers, but instead to support reflection and iteration on project decisions. Even if your project is already underway, you can use these tools to consider (or reconsider) your decisions.

There are multiple ways to engage with the Toolkit:

Download the Toolkit

Download a printable PDF of the toolkit and accompanying worksheets and work through the worksheets by hand. 

Earn an Ethics Badge

Work through the interactive tutorial version of the Toolkit and earn an ethics badge for completion. The tutorial, available through SciStarter, is divided into short lessons, which you can navigate sequentially or in the order of your choice. 

Build an Ethical Community of Practice

You can find an asynchronous discussion of the Toolkit on CSA’s engagement site, CSA Connect. By taking part in discussions, whether to get feedback and/or offer suggestions, you will become a valuable part of building an ethical community of practice together. 

Join as a member to active your profile in CSA Connect.

Funding Information

The work was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. # 1835352, “Establishing Norms of Data Ethics in Citizen Science” (PIs Caren Cooper and Lisa Rasmussen). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this research are those of the Research Team and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.