Morning Keynote — Fake Science! Sad! A case study of the perils of Open Data

Accepted Session
Scheduled: Thursday, June 22, 2017 from 9:00 – 9:45am in Sanctuary


Open source allows anyone to use their skills to change the world--for better or for worse. In an era where the phrase "Fake News!" echoes from the highest office of the land, we have to cast a critical eye on the works that we promote and participate in. Open Data is no exception, and the use of Open Data to generate Fake Analyses is a real issue that can undermine social progress.


In the Spring of 2016, an enterprising Danish student posted a dataset and corresponding analysis of OkCupid user data to the Open Science Framework. Posing as peer-reviewed behavioral psychological research, the submission was anything but. The research was racially and politically motivated, it was “published” without peer review in a fake journal, and most unsettlingly, the data were completely un-anonymized.

“Fake News” is a growing concern, and the ability for individuals to use Open Science and Open Data platforms to provide an air of legitimacy to otherwise illegitimate work is a deep concern. In this talk, we explore this case study and look at the successes and failures of Open Data and Open Science and explore what actions were taken to ensure well-intended platforms cannot be used to legitimize unethical and immoral agendas.


open-data, open-science, ethics

Speaking experience

I am an experienced public speaker. My recent experience includes:

- Alterconf, New York City, Dec. 2016, "The Cult(ure) of Strength"
- Abstractions, Pittsburgh, Aug. 2016, "Quality and Security of the Internet of Things"
- Open Source & Feelings, Seattle, Jul. 2016, "The Ethics and Responsibilities of Open Source in the Internet of Things"
- IoT Fuse, Minneapolis, Apr. 2016, "Quality in the Internet of Things"
- Alterconf, DC, Jan. 2016, "Social and Design Factors in Video Games for Rehab and Therapy"