Register for When Social Media Companies, Research Ethics and Human Rights CollideCLEMSON — A Microsoft senior researcher and Harvard University fellow will visit Clemson University Sept. 14 to discuss ways social research and technology innovation must work collaboratively to protect privacy as human interaction moves increasingly online.

Mary Gray,  a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society and chair of the Microsoft Research Lab Ethics Advisory Board, will present “When Social Media Companies, Research Ethics, and Human Rights Collide.” She will speak at 9:30 a.m. at the Watt Family Innovation Center Auditorium on the Clemson campus and will sign copies of her book following the presentation from 10:30 to 11 a.m.

The event is open to the public and sponsored by the Clemson University Office of Research Compliance, the Robert J. Rutland Institute for Ethics and the Office of Inclusion and Equity. Online registration is requested here.

Gray’s presentation charts the high-speed evolution of digital innovation and online human interaction, along with the increased burden for scientists to reach viewers in new digital platforms and the corresponding implications for scientific integrity and individual rights.

Mary Gray

Mary Gray

“The shift to building and selling social worlds moved tech and computer science into uncharted territory. These systems convene people, as much as they mine their data, in real time,” said Gray, who also maintains a faculty position in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering with affiliations in anthropology, gender studies and the Media School at Indiana University.

Gray analyzes past research blunders that have compromised the public’s trust in science and offers a new “human data research” paradigm for training the next generation of engineers and social researchers studying and building technology’s next wave of social worlds. She argues that most “ethical dilemmas” arise not because maniacal actors intentionally do the wrong thing but because methods of investigation and innovation are pushed to capacity and failing.

“This essay makes the case that it is our collective job to earn and maintain the public’s trust through mapping out a new set of actions so that future social research and technology-builders have a fighting chance to learn and create more down the line,” Gray said.

Attendance at Gray’s presentation will offer one credit hour toward Responsible Conduct of Research training required of some funding agencies.


Office of Research Compliance
The Office of Research Compliance (ORC) promotes a culture of compliance, research integrity, and high quality research within the university community. This is accomplished through consultation and educational programs for all researchers. The ORC facilitates university research, teaching, and public service programs by providing oversight and coordination of research compliance areas involving human subjects, vertebrate animals, recombinant DNA, hazardous agents and research misconduct.

Rutland Institute for Ethics
Named for Robert J. Rutland, the Rutland Institute for Ethics at Clemson University was created to encourage discussion on campus, in businesses and in the community about how ethical decision-making can be the basis of both personal and professional success.

Office of Inclusion and Equity
The Office of Inclusion and Equity guides Clemson University toward a more inclusive, diverse campus and community environment.