Posts filed under ‘Ethics and Legality’

A Look At Science 2.0, including OpenWetWare Case Study

Last week, I published a post on Health 2.0, based on a couple research studies that were recently released.

Also last week, another report was published by the Scientific American Magazine that looked at the concept of Science 2.0, titled “Is Open-Access Science the future?

About

Before this article was published, the author put the draft version of the article in a wiki, and encouraged readers’ comments and edits…to help formulate the articles final version.

In this article, the author looks at the increasing use of social media within marketing, journalism, and politics – and how it can spread to the field of science, as more researchers increase their use of web 2.0 tools within their research. Some critics think that this new process to scientific discovery curbs the traditional institutional lines and poses danger. Advocates see Science 2.0 as a way to increase openness and collaboration across studies – furthering progress

Science 2.0

Science 2.0 refers to the growing movement of integrating social media into the scientific process and its promotion. Science 2.0 is a component of the broader Open Science movement according to the author of the article, M. Mitchell Waldrop. This Open Science Movement includes other topics such as open-access scientific publishing and open-data practices.

Case Study

The article points to a success project named OpenWetWare at MIT, which:

OpenWetWare is an effort to promote the sharing of information, know-how, and wisdom among researchers and groups who are working in biology & biological engineering. OWW provides a place for labs, individuals, and groups to organize their own information and collaborate with others easily and efficiently.”

OpenWetWare now hosts more than 15 labs, 6100 web pages and is edited by 3000 registered users. To learn more, gain access, or get involved, you can contact the project at admin@openwetware.org or join here.

Concerns

Due to the content of this budding use of technology, in that it is labeled ‘science’ brings many concerns to critics minds. These include:

  • Privacy Concerns
  • Authorship and Copyright
  • Looking ‘unprofessional’
  • Undermining the field of ‘science’
  • Trust-worthiness of information and hackers

Future

Despite concerns, advocates see Science 2.0 as still in its launching point. Future ideas for implementing Science 2.0 include:

  • Collaborate for scientific articles and ideas
  • online lab journals
  • Developing internet-friendly lab equipment
  • Virtual scientific conferences
  • Virtual Labs
  • Updated Lab ‘feeds’
  • Data-Sharing
  • Truth-Based Social Marketing
  • For more information regarding these ideas and more visit here.

More

  • Duncan Hull wrote up an insightful blog post about science 2.0 by interviewing scientist and researcher Dave DeRoure. DeRoure mapped out what he thinks is a widening gap between scientists and the web infrastruture. You can read the post here.
  • For those who like reading how trends relate, the Columbia Journalism Review wrote up a great article about web 2.0 and its evolution to Journalism 2.0 and Science 2.0, and how the two concepts relate. The author demonstrates how concerns towards the two fields are similar and the implications this has for science journalism 2.0.

What are your thoughts on Science 2.0?? A ‘yay’ or a ‘nay’ …share with us your thoughts

May 5, 2008 at 1:04 am 2 comments

Blogger Outreach Series: Law Issues Part B, Privacy

Continuing in my blogger outreach series, this post will focus on law that addresses privacy in regard to bloggers and blog content.

hotoblog

Privacy: Currently, privacy is not included in the bill of rights, but as technology increases, it’s developing into quite the controversy. To protect yourself as a blogger and the subjects included in your posts, it is important to understand the law surrounding online privacy issues and the increasing issues involving privacy

There are 2 ways to approach privacy:

  1. Your privacy as a Blogger AND
  2. the privacy of the people involved in your blog’s content

To protect your privacy as a blogger, there are some different approaches with strengths and benefits. These include:

Blog Completely Anonymously

  • Create a Psuedo-name
  • Do not give away identifiers in the blog’s content
  • For COMPLETE anonymous blogging, try Invisiblog, Tor and Anonymizer. These are applications that help you create an anonymous blog where the creators and hosts of the blog won’t even have access to your information, can hide your IP address, and allows for anonymous editing of your blog.
  • Limit Your Audience
  • To avoid being found in search engines or in Google, install a ‘Robots Text File Generator’ into your blog’s architecture.
  • Set-up an alternative email address.
  • Update from a public computer.

Pros/Cons: Privacy protected. But, if you desire more traffic, hits or views, this could limit you. And, you don’t get credit for your hard work and time into up-keeping your blog.

Blog Anonymously, but control who knows who you are

  • Create an alias…but with talking with friends, family, co-workers, or online contacts, feel free to share that it is your blog. But, you don’t have to put your name on the blog. This allows you to control who can identify the blog as yours, and allows you to control to some degree who knows you have a blog.
  • This is the option this blog SocialButterfly has chosen for a variety of reasons. Eventually, I will more than likely reveal my true identify, but in the meantime, I am collecting feedback on what employers, friends, colleagues think of someone wearing a ‘blogger’ hat.

Pros/Cons: Allows you to get feedback on what others think of your blog and protects your privacy to some degree meaning that random unique visitors can’t identify you without first contacting you and YOU deciding to disclose your identity to them based on your interactions with them.

Blog Openly, but control the type of information visible

  • Put a picture of yourself on the home page, along with a concise bio about your background and why you are blogging.
  • Consider the blog as a way to extend your ‘personal brand.’ So, your communications about yourself need to help build and add credibility to your blog.
  • Allows creator to develop long-term personal connections and relationships with readers.

Pros/Cons: This allows you take full advantage of social media at its best. As a small business owner, it allows to you communicate with possible consumers and to extend your business’ message and purpose and connects consumers to you on a more personal level. Cons include that you are personally identifiable on the web. Anyone can find your blog, know its yours, and may judge you on your blog before meeting you or making a personal connection with you. This could also affect potential employers or current employers.

Blog Completely Openly

  • This is an open, anything goes approach to blogging.

Pros/Cons: Your belief in free speech is rightly communicated and your views are open, honest and shared. However, you may have to provide evidence and reasons why you say what you say. Basically, be prepared to back yourself up. Cons could include potential employers shying away from you, or wanting to fire you because of your blog.

Some more points to remember as a blogger are found here including laws on political speech, unionizing, whistleblowing, blogging when you work for the government, and legal off-duty activities. Blogging about work activities when you work for the government is actually protected under the First Amendment according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Lessons from Privacy for people involved in the blog’s content:

  • If you plan on posting images, videos, or audio of subjects you interview or interact with, gain their consent before posting this material – especially if the material contains minors.
  • Get parental consent if the content relates to minors, and blur the minors face or voice if possible since laws pertaining to minors are much more strict.
  • If you shoot film or take photographs, to be safe, make sure it is done on public property unless you have the participants consent. This will avoid trespassing and invasion of privacy issues.

As blogging increases, it is important to note that many people have different feelings about anonymous-related blogging and the laws continue to change as the technology matures. And as a disclaimer, I reiterate, I am not a lawyer.

For more information on electronic privacy issues, see EPIC, the electronic privacy information center.

**If you are an expert in this area, please contact me as I’d be curious on your thoughts and feedback on this post. Thanks! **

March 15, 2008 at 3:05 am Leave a comment

Blogger Outreach Series 2: Law Issues Part A, Defamation and Negligence

hotoblog

Continuing in my blogger outreach series, this post will focus on law that addresses issues bloggers need to know, understand and be conscience about when deciding how to go about starting a blog, conduct blogger outreach or a blog marketing plan.

As the democratization of journalism increases, many bloggers can be considered journalists. One issue with the current Shield Law being debated in the Senate is that some would like there to be a definition on who/what is a journalist. Indeed, bloggers are recognized by the Supreme Court as having the same protections as media individuals and organizations since they engage in similar activities. (Since the Shield Law is currently developing, it is important to note that Shield Laws do not necessarily always protect bloggers). As of now, no such definition exists and the implications of such a definition, could be, well…interesting….and perhaps, dangerous.

But enough about that, as I admit, I’m no politician and I haven’t been following the case the whole three years it’s been going on. My point –> it is important for a blogger to understand some of the issues the law addresses .

As a disclaimer, I am not a lawyer, but these are concepts that must be considered in the broader media industry. There are many, but this post will focus on defamation and negligence, while part b will cover copyright and privacy.

1. Defamation

A person or organization can file suit for ‘defamation of character.’ For content to be considered defamation, a private plaintiff must prove:

  • falsity (this includes insinuation or implication)
  • about or concerning the plaintiff filing the suit
  • exposes the person to hatred, contempt, aversion or introduces an evil or bad opinion about the plaintiff

In addition, the law is written differently when the plaintiff is a public official or a public figure. A public official or figure must prove: actual malice. A public official is defined as someone who has been elected, appointed, presented to a position. A public figure is someone who is either known to the public already or someone who were drawn into the issue. Actual malice means that the false statement was published “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” To determine actual malice, courts will look at the process and extent of pursuing the truth.

Other way defamation occurs comes from misidentification.

Defamation Lessons:

  • Be conscience of legal terminology. (i.e. accused vs. alleged)
  • Take extra measures when any content involves a minor or a private citizen.
  • Double-check names or contact the person to fact check names mentioned in posts.
  • Before publishing an address, phone number or email, be sure it is the correct contact information for the individual/organization.
  • Be wary of depended on internet sources and search engines. This includes wikipedia. =)
  • If you do realize a mistake, correct it, and write a retraction. A retraction acknowledges the mistake and re-iterates its correction.
  • If you are faced with this issue, truth can act as a defense.
  • Satire, parody and hyperbole are not considered defamation.
  • Opinion is not considered defamation. But, whether you and the plaintiff agree that the statement in question can be classified as ‘opinion’ is another story.
  • Corporations are not public figures. They are judged like private figures.
  • There is such a concept as defamation insurance, even for bloggers.
  • Each state has a different statute of limitations for how long someone can sue after a posting has been made.
  • See here for more extensive details about issues of defamation and libel as it applies to bloggers.

2. Negligence

Negligence means that the author acted recklessly beyond that of a reasonably, responsible person would have. Private figures – friends, coworkers, people at the bus station – only have to prove negligence to win their case; whereas, public officials and public figures must prove actual malice.

****************

If you are filed a law suit for what you blogged, the Electronic Frontier Foundation advises you to seek an attorney who is knowledgeable about Anti-SLAPP laws. SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, and the Anti-SLAPP laws are enforced to help people who get sued for making legitimate, protected speech about public issues.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation offers a link to the The First Amendment Project, which has a helpful FAQ on Anti-SLAPP laws. Please note, that Anti-SLAPP laws currently don’t exist in every state and tend to vary.

Stay tuned for my continuing series on Blogger Outreach, issues to address when developing blogging outreach plans.

Next week: Law Issues Part B, Copyright and Privacy

Helpful Source: 12 Laws Every Blogger Should Know provided by Aviva Directory

March 8, 2008 at 2:20 am Leave a comment


Meet Alexandra Rampy, aka SocialButterfly

I am a social marketing believer, blogger, practitioner, researcher and enthusiast. This site highlights the growing movement of social marketing. Learn more about social marketing and how to be your own socialbutterfly--> here.

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