Finishing up

As promised, the August 15th blog post…

My internship was officially over as of 2 p.m. yesterday, when my mentor and I submitted our scholarly publication to the 2014 iConference. Abstract is as follows:

Citizen science and participatory sensing are two models of public participation in data collection initiatives where participant privacy is a key concern. While technological solutions can help provide safeguards, they are insufficient to ensure privacy, and policies explaining privacy practices must enable volunteers to make informed decisions about participation. Our study surveyed the policies of 30 public participation projects to establish how privacy-related policies are currently presented, and where possible, how they align with actual practices. This paper contributes a description of the elements of privacy-related policies currently evident in public participation projects, analysis of differences between policies and practices, and showed that while the vast majority of projects demonstrated some understanding of the need for policies, many had incomplete policies or inaccurately described practices.

I’m very happy with this work. It’s an early, exploratory foray into an important area that’s received limited attention to date. I’m also extremely happy with my internship in general. I came out with 2 publications that I’m very proud of to add to my c.v., and I made a great connection with my mentor, Andrea Wiggins (who has generously agreed to serve as an “unofficial” mentor as we both move forward as an academic career).

I also leveraged this experience to find another internship doing data policy in citizen science at the Woodrow Wilson Center Common’s Lab in Washington, DC. This is especially exciting because part of my work at the Commons Lab will be designing a Data Policy Planning tool– a direct extension of my work as a PPSR data policy intern with DataONE.

I can honestly say that this experience exceed my expectations. I’m extremely grateful to everyone involved, Andrea most of all.

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