A paper coauthored by PhD student Yuerong Hu, HTRC Associate Director for Research Support Services Glen Layne-Worthey, Alaine Martaus (PhD '19), Professor J. Stephen Downie, and Associate Professor Jana Diesner, "Research with User-Generated Book Review Data: Legal and Ethical Pitfalls and Contextualized Mitigations," has received the Lee Dirks Award for Best Paper at iConference 2023. The award recognizes the most exceptional completed research paper presented at the iConference each year. Papers are judged by the respective track chairs, in consultation with the conference and program chairs.
According to the researchers, while the number of user-generated book reviews has increased, there is a lack of literature that addresses the legal and ethical use of these reviews. Legal issues presented by user-generated book reviews include copyright infringement and violations of terms of service/end-user license agreements and privacy rights, while ethical concerns center on users' expectations, informed consent, and institutional reviews. In their paper, the researchers discuss the potential legal and ethical pitfalls in leveraging user-generated book reviews and provide scholarly references that might serve as useful guidelines to avoid or manage these pitfalls.
"This work is inspired by the legal and ethical problems we encountered from user-generated book reviews, such as our JCDL paper with Zoe LeBlanc and Ted Underwood and CHR panel with Ted Underwood and Wenyi Shang," said Hu, who is also pursuing this topic for her dissertation.