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Journal Articles Science and Engineering Ethics Year : 2023

Research Ethics in the Age of Digital Platforms

Abstract

Scientific research is growingly increasingly reliant on "microwork" or "crowdsourcing" provided by digital platforms to collect new data. Digital platforms connect clients and workers, charging a fee for an algorithmically managed workflow based on Terms of Service agreements. Although these platforms offer a way to make a living or complement other sources of income, microworkers lack fundamental labor rights and basic safe working conditions, especially in the Global South. We ask how researchers and research institutions address the ethical issues involved in considering microworkers as "human participants." We argue that current scientific research fails to treat microworkers in the same way as in-person human participants, producing de facto a double morality: one applied to people with rights acknowledged by states and international bodies (e.g., the Helsinki Declaration), the other to guest workers of digital autocracies who have almost no rights at all. We illustrate our argument by drawing on 57 interviews conducted with microworkers in Spanish-speaking countries.
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Origin : Publication funded by an institution
licence : CC BY - Attribution

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hal-04083115 , version 1 (27-04-2023)

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José Luis Molina, Paola Tubaro, Antonio Casilli, Antonio Santos-Ortega. Research Ethics in the Age of Digital Platforms. Science and Engineering Ethics, 2023, 29 (3), pp.17. ⟨10.1007/s11948-023-00437-1⟩. ⟨hal-04083115⟩
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