Our meeting with Dr Tristram Riley-Smith pointed us in the direction of FRRIICT; the Framework for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT. He said that this would be a good tool for us to use to focus our research and make sure we were doing it responsibly. Though we did not join the network or advisory board, we used their online resources to reflect on our project. Find our reflections below.
Is the planned research methodology acceptable?
Will the products be socially desirable? How sustainable are the outcomes?
Why should this research be undertaken?
Have we included the right stakeholders?
We believe that our research methodology is reasonable because not only are we testing out our methods in multi-step proof of concept, but we are also testing our design in a real world situation (store rooms at the Main Library and storing a real text for the National Library of Scotland. In this way we are also demonstrating the sustainability of our project; less energy and monetary output required for longer term storage. This research should be undertaken because at current, it is necessary to store data for years, even indefinitely, but our ability to store these pieces is reaching its end. Throughout the development of our project we have engaged our end users to ensure our project stays on track and is as practical as possible.
Which mechanisms are used to reflect on process? How could you do it differently?
What might be the potential use? How can we ensure societal desirability?
Is the research controversial? How could you do it differently?
Who is affected?
We have used this framework as a way to reflect as well as discussions at weekly meetings with supervisors about our progress. We have refined the potential uses of our project to general data storage to archival data storage. Controversy might arise given the incorporation of encryption into our system. However, advice from Special Agent You at the FBI highlights why we included it; should this technology evolve and become more common place, encryption will be necessary as most data transfer is encrypted at current. Though we have consulted experts and devised an encryption system, as a new concept, it would be a good idea to continue to develop and test our method.
How to engage a wide group of stakeholders?
What are viewpoints of a wide group of stakeholders?
Is the research agenda acceptable?
Who prioritizes research?
Through the course of the summer we have shared our project with a group of data librarians at the University Main Library, Lee Hibberd from the National Library of Scotland and held a workshop with a small group of employees at the National Library. Through these encounters we were able to engage and receive feedback from our potential stakeholders. All were enthusiastic and approving with the exception of a few hesitations. Most of these have to do with the slow read/write speeds of DNA. However, we believe that given the development of new sequencing technologies such as MinION, the read speeds of DNA will improve. We believe the research agenda is acceptable given the current cost of long term storage. In light of recent papers of DNA data storage, we strongly believe that our modular method makes the technology more accessible.
How can your research structure become more flexible?
What needs to be done to ensure social desirability?
How do we ensure that the implied future is desirable?
In terms of future action, more time and more money would allow further development and more flexible research. Keeping our ‘stakeholders’ or ‘consumers’ engaged will ensure our project is still practical.