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Dear Colleagues:

Safe travels for those of you coming to Philadelphia (where it is currently raining but it should clear up).

The ESAD IG session on “Ethics in Data Science” will be 14:00-15:30 in Commonwealth D. We should have remote access if all goes well.  Thanks to our speakers, and to Stefan Reichmann from Graz University of Technology, who is the RDA Europe Early Career grant winner assigned to our group meeting. for support.   Stefan  will  be available to take notes and provide a summary of the meeting for our information afterwards.

Our programme:

I’ll introduce the IG and the purpose of the panel and moderate. Co-chair Oya Beniz will briefly introduce what data science is.

I’ve asked each of our speakers to talk briefly about what they think are the big ethical issues in data science APART from privacy (and will explain why).  I’ll ask a couple of questions of all of the panelists to get the conversation going, then open up to the audience.

Our speakers in alphabetical order.

Francine Berman is the Hamilton Distinguished Professor in Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  Her research and leadership efforts have focused on data stewardship and preservation, particularly with respect to policy, practice and cyberinfrastructure.  Berman’s current work focuses on the social, ethical  and environmental impact of the Internet of Things needed to develop an IoT that maximizes benefits, minimizes risk, and promotes individual protections, the public good, and planetary responsibility. Berman is one of the founders of the Research Data Alliance, former Director of the San Diego Supercomputer Center, former co-Chair of the National Academies Board on Research Data and Information, and former Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.  She was the inaugural recipient of the ACM/IEEE-CS Ken Kennedy Award for “influential leadership in the design, development, and deployment of national-scale cyberinfrastructure.” In 2015, Dr. Berman was appointed by President Obama to the National Council on the Humanities. 

Myrna E. Morales is Program and Communications Director for Community Change, Inc., an organization dedicated to combating structural racism, and a PhD candidate in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois iSchool. She has an MA in Teaching from Brown University, an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and a BA in Urban Studies from Bates College. She spent some years studying medicine at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, Cuba, and working as a public school educator in New Jersey and Boston before working in research data ethics and technology management for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, New England Region.

A longtime activist and organizer, Myrna fights for social change across a spectrum of different social causes. Realizing that the promotion and advocacy of privacy is a critical component to making us truly free, Myrna also works on providing anti-surveillance triage and trainings within community organizations. Her rich background in medical education, education, library and information science and community organizations has helped her understand that information is not only a tool that enables, permits and creates injustices, but a tool that can guide us towards collective liberation.


Alison Specht is an environmental scientist with broad expertise in research, teaching, and community engagement. In the past 10 years she has focussed on facilitating interdisciplinary groups to tackle complex environmental problems using existing data. Her major interests, apart from her domain activities, are to enhance collaboration between scientists, policy-makers and managers to improve environmental outcomes, and improve data management and preservation, data sharing and re-use. Collaboration across boundaries, conservation of data for appropriate re-use, among other factors, are essential for effective management of our biodiversity and the future of our environment.

She has been director of two synthesis centres. From 2009 to 2014 she was the director of the Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, a facility of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (, the first synthesis centre in the Southern Hemisphere, and from 2015 to 2018 she was Director of CESAB, the CEntre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity in France. She initiated the formation of the International Synthesis Consortium (, whose mission is to increase the effectiveness and recognition of the value of synthesis centres. She has been a member of the DataONE ( Usability and Assessment Working Group in the USA since its inception in 2010. She is a member of several RDA interest groups. She is currently an honorary associate professor at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Bonnie Tijerina is an affiliate at the Data & Society Research Institute in New York City, a think tank focused on the social, cultural, and ethical impact of data-centric technological development. There, she works on projects related to the library’s role in online privacy and ethics in data research. She had co-led grant-funded research projects, including one focused on studying how computer scientists and data scientists are navigating emerging ethical issues in their big data research projects. Bonnie has worked in academic libraries for over ten years, most recently at Harvard University, focused on the management and licensing and electronic resources in large research libraries. She is founder of ER&L (Electronic Resources & Libraries) conference and organization, created to facilitate communication and foster collaboration among information management and e-resources professionals in libraries.