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Author Archive: Chris MacDonald

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08/21/2014

Facebook and ‘Being Experimented Upon’

Following on my recent blog posting about the Facebook emotion-manipulation study, here’s a useful piece from The Atlantic: How Much Should You Know About How Facebook Works? The piece focuses on the ubiquity of constantly-tweaked algorithms in online services such as Google and Facebook. The algorithms such companies use today are quite different from the […]

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07/24/2014

The Facebook Emotions Study

Over at my Business Ethics Blog, I just posted my thoughts on the recent controversy over the Facebook / Cornell study. I look at the question not of the ethics of the Cornell researchers, but of Facebook as a corporation I basically argue that: a) the risks involved were trivial; b) the commercial context matters, […]

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11/22/2012

Ethical Design for Cluster Randomized Trials

A team led by our friend and colleague Charles Weijer at the University of Western Ontario has just issued guideliens for what are known as “cluster randomized trials” (CRTs). See the story here: Western-led team delivers world-first ethics guidelines. CRTs are clinical trials in which randomization occurs across groups of participants, or across institutions, rather […]

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11/12/2012

Clinical Trials in Russia

Generally, when westerners think of people in foreign lands participating as human subjects in clinical trials, we think of the developing world. That image is somewhat incomplete. This was from September, but well worth a look at this NYT piece if you missed it: Russians Eagerly Participate in Medical Experiments, Despite Risks As a test […]

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01/17/2012

Interpreting Canada’s TCPS2

Canada’s Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics has begun putting online its interpretations of the second iteration of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (a.k.a. “TCPS2″). “The Interagency Advisory Panel on Research Ethics (the Panel) is pleased to share a growing collection of its responses to written requests for interpretation….” The […]

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01/14/2012

Cracking Down on Research Misconduct at a Chinese University

Here’s an interesting bit on one Chinese university’s efforts to crack down on research misconduct: From Nature: Research ethics: Zero tolerance — A university cracks down on misconduct in China. Most readers of this blog will know that research misconduct doesn’t fall under the heading of Research Ethics, as that term is normally applied to […]

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