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The ethics of computer science: this researcher has a controversial proposal – Nature (Elizabeth Gibney | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on September 3, 2018

Nature talks to Brent Hecht, who says peer reviewers must ensure that researchers consider negative societal consequences of their work.

In the midst of growing public concern over artificial intelligence (AI), privacy and the use of data, Brent Hecht has a controversial proposal: the computer-science community should change its peer-review process to ensure that researchers disclose any possible negative societal consequences of their work in papers, or risk rejection.

Hecht, a computer scientist, chairs the Future of Computing Academy (FCA), a group of young leaders in the field that pitched the policy in March. Without such measures, he says, computer scientists will blindly develop products without considering their impacts, and the field risks joining oil and tobacco as industries whose researchers history judges unfavourably.

The FCA is part of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) in New York City, the world’s largest computing society. It, too, is making changes to encourage researchers to consider societal impacts: on 17 July, it published an updated version of its ethics code, last redrafted in 1992. The guidelines call on researchers to be alert to how their work can influence society, take steps to protect privacy and continually reassess technologies whose impact will change over time, such as those based in machine learning.

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(EU) Dutch publishing giant cuts off researchers in Germany and Sweden – Nature (Holly Else | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on September 3, 2018

Negotiations with Elsevier have stalled over open-access deals.

Elsevier last week stopped thousands of scientists in Germany from reading its recent journal articles, as a row escalates over the cost of a nationwide open-access agreement.

The move comes just two weeks after researchers in Sweden lost access to the most recent Elsevier research papers, when negotiations on its contract broke down over the same issue.

Negotiators on both sides in Germany now seem to be waiting for the other to blink, says Joseph Esposito, a publishing consultant in New York City. The highly public nature of the stand-off means that “any deal Elsevier does with them becomes the de facto deal for the entire world,” he adds.

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(Australia) Face off: technology leaves regulators scrambling – Crickey (Elise Thomas | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on July 29, 2018

From airline lounges to cricket matches, our faces are already being read everywhere. But what’s protecting us from misuse of that data?

If you feel like facial recognition technology is suddenly everywhere you look — or rather, facial recognition is everywhere looking at you — you’re not alone. Not only do many of us carry the technology with us everywhere on our smartphones, it’s also increasingly present in the spaces we move through and the interactions we have in our daily lives, whether we know it or not.

(Crickey is a subscription web site, but there is a free trial you can use to access this item.) The reported circumstances raise significant consent and privacy questions, with the glum certainty the trials are unlikely to have gone anywhere near a research ethics committee.

Most people walking into the public library in Toowoomba last year, for example, were probably not aware that they were taking part in a controversial trial of facial recognition technology by the local council. Likewise the 45,000 visitors to the SCG for the final Ashes test this year were probably mostly unaware that their faces were being run through newly installed facial recognition cameras.

Certain people walking around the streets of the Northern Territory in 2015, on the other hand, suddenly found themselves very aware of facial recognition when police used the technology to identify 300 wanted individuals via CCTV footage.

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A frustrated former editor asked a publishing group for help. He didn’t like what they said – Retraction Watch (Alison McCook | May 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on July 18, 2018

When the former editor of a public health journal didn’t get a straight answer about why the journal retracted his paper that was critical of corporate-sponsored research, he brought his concerns to an organization dedicated to promoting integrity in academic publishing. He wanted the group to help resolve the impasse he’d reached with the publisher, but was sorely disappointed.

David Egilman, the former editor of the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, had been seeking answers about the paper for a year. In November, the journal’s editorial board resigned, in protest of the “apparent new direction that the journal appears to be moving towards.” They objected to the “unilateral withdraw[al]” of Egilman’s paper, with little explanation, the delay in publishing other papers that had been accepted under Egilman’s leadership, and the decision to appoint a new editor with industry ties.

Amidst all that upheaval at the journal, Egilman still wasn’t getting the answers he wanted about why his paper was withdrawn. So he brought his concerns to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

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