Data Ethics and Governance

The Data Ethics and Governance Section was established in 2020 following a successful three-year run as Data Ethics special interest group. The section will be a focus for data ethics and governance across the RSS, to offer something distinctive in a crowded landscape, looking beyond individual persons in data, to groups, practices, impacts, and trustworthy collective structures.

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The section will achieve its aims and objectives in part through an annual programme of meetings. Other means include participation in the conferences of the Society and communication in RSS publications. The remit and activities of the Section are likely to be of interest to a wide range of audiences. To achieve its remit, the section will:
  • promote good practice by addressing what good data stewardship and ethical practices look like i.e. a virtue ethics to balance the predominant reporting of impacts
  • promote the statistical and inferential aspects of data rather than individuals e.g. coverage, bias, models and stochastic rather than deterministic thinking
  • develop a trusted voice on data ethics, including inputting to consultation exercises, locating a suitable public profile to promote the interests and concerns of professionals
  • coordinate data governance interests across the RSS, throughout the UK landscape, and offer international leadership, by convening and synthesising strategically
  • promote the skills development of data ethics across all career stages and disciplines, contributing to case studies and curriculum development
  • lift the quality of the conversation, bringing a critical eye to the precise use of concepts and language and raising standards of transparent public engagement
  • foster multi-disciplinary connections and the exchanging of ideas by convening those who may not see themselves within the RSS community and speaking externally
  • engage members, and non-members, to think more broadly about the impact of new uses of data on our society, and how that affects professional responsibilities.

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Annual Report 2021