ICTD conference adopts Minimum Ethical Standards

The Town Hall Meeting at the ICTDX conference in Ahmedabad, India (4th – 8th Jan, 2019) voted overwhelmingly to adopt Version 2.0 of the standards and to integrate these standards into the reviewing process for future conferences in this series.

The motion that was passed was as follows:

Recognising that

  • our interdisciplinary field of ICTD/ICT4D needs an agreed set of minimal ethical standards
  • an interdisciplinary participatory co-creation process (including workshops at ICTD2016 and ICTD2017) has taken place
  • ethics is about an ongoing process of self-reflection and dialogue not just a set of standards
  • these standards will need to be revisited and where appropriate revised in future iterations

Members of the ICTD2019 community present at this Town Hall meeting endorse in principle the minimal ethical standards (see ICTDEthics.org)  (starting with the current Version 2.0, to be a living document that will be built upon going forward) presented here.

We recommend that these standards become an integral part of the review processes for future conferences in this ICTD conference series.

Over the course of the conference, there were many formalised and informal discussions of the standards, but the primary focus was less on the content (which received widespread endorsement), and more on questions of how we, as a community, could best uphold and promote the standards in practice.

There was much interest in developing, collating and sharing learning resources and we at #ICTDEthics are keen to support this activity.

Discussion now moves on to consider how this decision can be implemented in the planning for the 2020 conference, and how we might implement review processes that encourage ethical reflection and ethical practice.


Minimum Ethical Standards version 2.0 Published online

A revised and updated version of the minimum ethical standards has been published online at http://shura.shu.ac.uk/18402 and http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/140066/.

The document is also available here: Minimum Ethical Standards for ICTD_ICT4D Version 2.0

Please cite as: DEARDEN, Andy and KLEINE, Dorothea (2018). Minimum ethical standards for ICTD/ICT4D research. Sheffield, UK: C3RI, Sheffield Hallam University / SIID University of Sheffield

The revised standards take into account the feedback collected through our online discussions and through review meetings at ICTD 2017 in Lahore, and at MERLTech 2018 in London.

The standards have been tabled for consideration at the ICTD 2019 Conference in Ahmedabad as a basis for future editions of the ICTD Conference series.

If you wish to make comments on this current version (2.0), then please use this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KzzeR8qDux7CG9LYzjbSmYMn0jyqaRz7bUkVMfehyqQ/edit?usp=sharing

Draft standards available for review


Our first draft of a set of minimum ethical standards for ICTD/ICT4D research is now available for comment.

The draft document is shared using google docs and can be reviewed here.

A pdf of the current draft (without the comments and discussion) is available here ICTDEthics_Draft Nov 2017

Please download a copy of the document for review, and send your comments and/or suggested changes to Andy Dearden (a.m.dearden@shu.ac.uk) and Dorothea Kleine (d.j.kleine@sheffield.ac.uk).


We (Andy & Dorothea) hope to collate responses in May 2018 and create an updated draft which we will make available on-line via this site.

Following this review and editing process, Andy & Dorothea hope to submit the document, together with a research note explaining the processes and ideas that have informed its development, for publication through a relevant open access journal.


Framing the Ethics Debates

We’ve been analysing, clustering and summarising the ethical debates in ICTD


Participants in the ICTD 2016 open session on ICTD Ethics reviewed a set of ethical guidelines from different relevant domains and disciplines. They identified statements that were appropriate for ICTD, that needed discussion in the ICTD community, and they suggested statements that were inappropriate for ICTD.

Earlier this month we (Andy & Dorothea) analysed and clustered these statement to identify some key issues for debate.

Please join the discussion in the Consensus & Questions section of this site.

If you don’t have much time, then go directly to the priority issues for debate.

What can we learn from other disciplines?

At the ICTD 2016 conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, a group of 30+ researchers and practictioners explored ethical guidelines from other disciplines that might inform an ethical guide for ICTD research.

Participants reviewed 7 codes of ethics from different disciplines related to ICTD and picked out texts that should inform ethical guidelines for ICTD research. These were sorted into:

  • statements that were widely endorsed
  • statements that raised important questions for ICTD ethics
  • statements that were opposed (as possibly unsuitable for ICTD ethics)

The conference also built a  ‘problem bank’ of post it notes (see image).

The results of these discussions are available here.

Please take a look at what was discussed and join in the debate.

Minimum Ethical Standards in ICTD


This is an invitation to co-formulate a set of minimal ethical standards in ICTD

A workshop at the ICTD 2016 conference will kick-start the effort.

In the workshop we will:

  • Share stories and concerns that highlight ethical issues in ICTD research
  • Review and collate material from existing ethical standards in related research areas to develop a starting point for debate
  • Generate an initial thematic guide that can form the basis for future drafting
  • Create a concrete action plan for drafting and review of these standards

After the workshop, the outputs will be shared with the conference attendees, and on-line at this site to invite feedback, commentary and reaction.

We plan to use this site as a space for discussion and development with a view to collaboratively agreeing a clear statement of minimal standards to share with the wider ICTD community in 2017.