Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science (SIPS) 2021 Meeting  /

Unconf—Digital trace data for psychological research – How can we access data that enable innovative research while avoiding another Cambridge Analytica case?

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Category: Communication

Description: The vast amounts of data generated by the use of digital technology are valuable resources for psychological research. Projects like mypersonality.org and numerous publications from different fields of psychology have demonstrated the great potential of these so-called digital trace data. At the same time, the Cambridge Analytica scandal has highlighted some of the risks related to such data, especially with regard to privacy and data protection. What the Cambridge Analytica incident and its consequences have also shown is that depending on commercial companies and their decisions for data access is risky for researchers. For example, data access via the Application Programming Interfaces (API) offered by many platforms can be drastically reduced or even shut off completely. Hence, there is a need for new ways of access to digital trace data for psychological research. Recently, different models have been proposed, including partnerships with companies or data donation by platform users. Naturally, all of those options have specific pros and cons, and none of them are trivial to implement. The purpose of this session is to discuss what kind of data access we as researchers need and how this can be implemented in a way that enables innovative research while also adhering to legal regulations and ethical principles. In addition to data access, these discussions also relate to questions of data sharing as privacy concerns and platform terms of service can conflict with ideals of open science (especially also regarding the reproducibility of research).

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

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