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Internet of Things Devices, Citizen Science Research and the Right to Science: Ethical and Legal Issues

Author: Scheibner, J., Jobin, A., & Vayena, E.
Published in: M. Ienca, O. Pollicino, L. Liguori, E. Stefanini, & R. Andorno, The Cambridge Handbook of Information Technology, Life Sciences and Human Rights (pp. 231-243). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Year: 2022
Type: Book contributions and chapters
DOI: 10.1017/9781108775038

Although lay participation has long been a feature of scientific research, the past decades have seen an explosion in the number of citizen science projects. Simultaneously, the number of low-cost network connected devices collectively known as Internet of Things devices has proliferated. The increased use of Internet of Things devices in citizen science exists has coincided with a reconsideration of the right to science under international law. Specifically, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights both recognise a right to benefit and participate in the scientific process. Whilst it is unclear whether this right protects participation by citizen scientists, it provides a useful framework to help chart the ethical issues raised by citizen science. In this chapter, we first describe the origins and boundaries of the right to science, as well as its relevance to citizen science. We then use the findings of a scoping review to examine three main ethical and legal issues for using Internet of Things devices in citizen science.

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