COVID-19 calls upon researchers to navigate a fast-paced scientific inquiry process under enormous public scrutiny. New challenges associated with the rapid research envrionment carry ethical questions and human rights-related dilemmas. The American Association of Geographers (AAG) as a member of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition, is coordinating an experimental "Participatory Forum" to ask, “At what cost are we advancing science when the stakes are high and the pressure on normal timelines is intense?”
What is a Participatory Forum?
To allow for true discussion (rather than the limits of a Q&A chatbox to engage with a panel of experts) the AAG identified three areas of inquiry deserving of focused discussion. With help from moderators for each question, forum participants will contribute their critical thoughts and connect with them on these topics. In this way, we are exploring novel avenues to meaningfully connect and collaborate given the new "virtual" normal.
Forum participants may choose to join a discussion of questions such as:
1. Who is considered a human subject in research in a time of automated location tracking and facial recognition, and how do they consent to participate in research? How should scholars safeguard confidentiality of human subjects in research when re-identification of anonymized data becomes possible and when geographic representation (or interpretation) is flawed?
2. Collective Rights of “places” during fast-paced and global research: How do we foster genuine research and other partnerships so that people impacted by decisions in certain places are part of the conversation and search for solutions?
3. Who is carrying the burden of rapid COVID-19 science (who are the human subjects or places in research), and who is benefitting from rapid COVID-19 findings?