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EACLM advice on external software and recruitment platforms

For software or recruitment platforms that are used to collect or process research data, it is important to check whether the software or recruitment platform has been approved by Radboud University. To do so, check whether the software or recruitment platform is included in this list  from Radboud University for contracted systems. In cases where uncontracted services are used, the EACLM created a checklist (available in Dutch (docx, 25 kB) and English (docx, 26 kB)) to be submitted along with the other documents for application of ethical evaluation. With this checklist the EACLM asks researchers to evaluate the software/recruitment platform that has not been approved by Radboud University on the following general criteria: 1) Voluntariness & transparency, 2) Necessity & proportionality, 3) Privacy & justice, 4) Prevention of misuse as well as 5) Safety. Note that you must have a user agreement with the software developer. For questions regarding user agreements contact privacy@ru.nl.

Mechanical Turk

Based on the general ethical discussion about Amazon Mechanical Turk and the fact that Mechanical Turk is broadly used, the EACLM has considered and discussed the use of Mechanical Turk. The EACLM has decided to advice against the use of Amazon Mechanical Turk due to following potential risks:

  • Exploitation of workers (low pay) and no say on work regulation (digital sweatshop)
  • Dependency of academic research (digital giant)
  • Explanation and care for workers unclear after deception and manipulation

As of the first of January 2022, the EACLM will issue a negative advice on the use of Mechanical Turk. As an alternative, the EACLM recommends using Prolific.