Vacancy “Role and impact of FACT and FAIR principles in data sciences & society”.

The VWData program is part of the Nationale Wetenschaps Agenda (NWA) route “Big Data”. The NWA has gathered questions from society towards science. One large group of questions reflected current concerns from Dutch citizens related to data.

Since (big) data is increasingly becomes the primary driving force in many areas in government, business, education and everyday life, it has become necessary to answer the question: ‘how to use big data in a way that is legally and ethically responsible, and societally acceptable?’.

The goal of VWData (www.vw-data.nl) is to combine insights from various scientific disciplines, in order to define, underpin and engineer ‘responsible data science’. VWData is a ‘startimpuls’, meaning that it should explore the topic and identify the potential for sustained and more in-depth scientific research. Central to VWData is the term ‘responsibility’ in the access to and use of big data when creating value. IN the program, the term ‘responsibility’ is understood as the FACT and FAIR principles. Here FACT is the acronym for Fair, Accurate, Confidential and Transparent. FAIR data refers to data that is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. These topics are approached from technological, ethical, normative and legal viewpoints. Currently the VWData program consists of 9 projects that address various aspects of FACT and FAIR data science; more projects may be added during the project duration (2 years: 2018 and 2019). The program consortium consists of a considerable number of Dutch universities, universities of applied sciences (hogescholen), ministries, and various Dutch research institutes and funding organizations (including TNO, the Netherlands eScience Center, and NWO). The VWData program is part of the Nationale Wetenschaps Agenda (NWA) route “Big Data”. The NWA has gathered questions from society towards science. One large group of questions reflected current concerns from Dutch citizens related to data. Since (big) data is increasingly becomes the primary driving force in many areas in government, business, education and everyday life, it has become necessary to answer the question: ‘how to use big data in a way that is legally and ethically responsible, and societally acceptable?’. The goal of VWData (www.vw-data.nl) is to combine insights from various scientific disciplines, in order to define, underpin and engineer ‘responsible data science’. VWData is a ‘startimpuls’, meaning that it should explore the topic and identify the potential for sustained and more in-depth scientific research. Central to VWData is the term ‘responsibility’ in the access to and use of big data when creating value. IN the program, the term ‘responsibility’ is understood as the FACT and FAIR principles. Here FACT is the acronym for Fair, Accurate, Confidential and Transparent. FAIR data refers to data that is Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. These topics are approached from technological, ethical, normative and legal viewpoints. Currently the VWData program consists of 9 projects that address various aspects of FACT and FAIR data science; more projects may be added during the project duration (2 years: 2018 and 2019). The program consortium consists of a considerable number of Dutch universities, universities of applied sciences (hogescholen), ministries, and various Dutch research institutes and funding organizations (including TNO, the Netherlands eScience Center, and NWO).

Assignment

There is a need for cross-cutting research in order to more precisely define and explain the meaning of FACT and FAIR, and to identify how well these principles address societal concerns related to big data. The leader of the cross-cutting research gathers results and insights of the VWData projects as well as results from scientific literature, other relevant national and international initiatives and research programs on responsible data science and innovation (RRI). The Leader will summarize, correlate, and enrich these results to scientifically underpin the FACT and FAIR principles.

The objectives of the cross-cutting research are to answer the following three research questions.

  1. How will FACT and FAIR be interpreted in society, economy and scientific and scholarly research? In other words, to what extent will these principles address concerns adequately, creating meaningful and actionable concepts for organizations and individuals? While this topic is prone to fierce debates, it is important that VWData remains in a neutral, facilitating and science role; proposing possible positions and interpretations in the debate but not choosing sides. Therefore, senior leadership is important for this topic. Relevant research domain for this topic is social sciences. Main goal is to create the discussion and position VWData as a neutral science and knowledge base initiative in this area. This topic is closely connected to outreach activities and is expected to be active during the whole project lifetime.
  2. Do the FACT and FAIR principles cover all relevant aspects? In other words, do they define a scope that is recognized by the international research communit?? This academic question needs to be answered before we can further build upon these concepts. This question may be supported by a literature study and study of similar (RRI) projects abroad, not only in computer science domains, but also explicitly taking into account social sciences and legal sciences (fundamental rights). Another approach can be to benchmark against comparable initiatives abroad.
  3. What meaning do FACT and FAIR principles have in the VWData application domains? (currently health & wellbeing, safety & security, information & news services; possibly also smart industry). This topic is to be explored in collaboration with the other VWData projects. It is important to establish what role and impacts FACT and FAIR have: limiting, stimulating, challenging? For example, how do the principles of FAIR and FACT translate to requirements for systems design in the application domain from which data originates? The nature of this research topic will not only be computer science, but also include other relevant domains

The expected output of the assignment will be one or more peer-reviewed papers on FACT and FAIR principles based on the results in the VWData program. The papers should be submitted to relevant peer-reviewed journals and should provide the scientific background and underpinnings on these principles.

The creation of the results should be done in close collaboration with the principle investigators (PIs) of the VWData projects, and the program management (steering board and daily coordination group).

Profile

We expect the researcher to have the following competences:

  • Relevant background – preferably a PhD – in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, technology-oriented Human Behavioral Sciences, as well as law, ethics, or closely related.
  • Proven awareness of – or familiarity with – recent scientific literature on responsible data science, legal and ethical aspects of data analytics, AI.
  • Excellent writing and communication skills.
  • The ability to organize and summarize results with a variety of different stakeholders involved.
  • A part-time position (approx. 0.5 FTE for 2 years) at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) within the collective agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • The researcher’s current employing organization is contracted by TU Delft, provided the employment is with a Dutch University or Research Institute affiliated with NWO or KNAW.

Employment

We offer two different options for employment in this positions.

Alternative forms of employment can be discussed with TU Delft. In all cases, TU Delft will serve as overall coordinator of the research.

It is anticipated that parts of the research could be outsourced to research assistants (especially the literature/benchmarking study), so offers that consider such a construction are also solicited.

Information

For more information on the offered position you can contact Dr. Frank J. Seinstra, Project Leader VWData Project P0 (F.Seinstra@esciencecenter.nl; +31 (0)20-4604770), or Prof.dr.ir. Inald Lagendijk, chair of the steering board NWA Route Big Data/VWData (R.L.Lagendijk@tudelft.nl; +31 (0)15-2783731).

Please send your resume and application letter before May 14 to R.L.Lagendijk@tudelft.nl. More information on the VWData Startimpuls Program is available at www.vw-data.nl.

30 april 2018

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