GWI Australia

How GWI has successfully addressed the ethical use of data in Higher Education institutions

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Creating an ethical environment in the digital age is critically important in the Higher Education sector as the misuse of information can have detrimental impacts on the reputation of a university and create distrust amongst students, faculty, researchers and the community.

Over the past 12 months GWI has worked with a number of clients to develop and implement data ethics frameworks to enable seamless delivery of services to all key stakeholders in an ethical and efficient way.

A proactive approach towards data ethics

High-velocity data processing is just one example of where ethics must be considered, research data is another. However all projects which collect and use data need to consider the ethical implications of doing so.

Can I use this data and should I use the data? Who should I reach out to if I have identified an ethical dilemma? These are some questions which can remain unanswered and ignored when analysing data, especially when data is sensitive or data flows are high. A data ethics framework guides decision making and gives users confidence in their actions.

Bring theoretical concepts to life using an innovative solution

To ensure the successful implementation of a data ethics framework, GWI has worked with Higher Education institutions to stress test the applicability of the framework using a data ethics assessment engine. Using GWI’s expertise in the field of data ethics and multiple stakeholder engagements across the sector, the team formulated an interactive ethics assessment platform.

The platform enables users to self-assess their projects against agreed principles. It navigates the user through a defined set of questions which focus on different ethical considerations depending on the project and the stakeholders. The platform acts as a gateway for projects requiring ethical assessments and provides go/no-go recommendations based on user inputs.

Uplifting maturity and reducing risk to use of data

With the platform in place, we guided one of our clients to become one of Australia’s first Higher Education institutions to apply a broad approach to data ethics before the start of each project. The platform not only provides a way of assessing projects but also provides users with guidance for mitigating risks and resolving issues related to the ethical use of data. The platform has further enhanced the data management capabilities of the institution and creates an opportunity to embed data ethics across all future project.

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