As data stewards, we are responsible for ensuring the privacy and security of information we use and share. The AIR Statement of Ethical Principles outlines the integrity of our profession. An important area of our work signifies ethical data practices should include appropriate research designs, proper data collection, and scrupulous interpretation of the results. Applied research relies on rigor to reinforce that what the data tells us is trustworthy to act upon. Maybe we need to expand our application on data ethics with more intentional scrutiny on our unconscious biases, which impede our ability to shine a light on stories that too often are discounted, marginalized, and unnoticed.
Storytelling is an art, and when we pay closer attention to how we use the data to impart an inclusive story, we unveil both the suppressed and hidden voices that need to be heard. While one of the basic points related to data ethics reminds me there has to be an exactness, a framework of how we capture and use data, it is worth pointing out that how the data is curated can obscure the story. As data stewards, we are responsible for the validity and reliability of information we examine and share. We are also accountable to ensure our storytelling is accurate, fair, and transparent; importantly, it is reported free of conflicts. While we always want to mask who we study to protect their rights, we never want to diminish their stories.
As I noted, storytelling is an art and I have always appreciated poems because the stories can be precise as well as ambiguous, depending on what the writer wants to convey to the reader. We uphold the fidelity of our profession’s ethical data practices. I challenge each of you to reflect on how you evoke justice and beneficence in your data ethical practices that standardize these principles. Adopt a justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) mindset so the stories you create are transformative and spotlight inequities, showcase diversity, and promote inclusion.
data ethics haiku
you tell the story
do it with integrity