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Data Science Code of Professional Conduct and “Golden Rule”


We look at the proposed Data Science Code of Professional Conduct and nominate a "Golden Rule" which summarizes the data scientist ethic.



ScrollWith the increased prominence of Data Scientists, should there be a code of conduct?

Michael Walker from Rose Business Technologies has proposed Data Science Code of Professional Conduct.

His proposed code is quite long - see details and comment on the website above, but here are some of the key ideas:

  • Rule 2: A data scientist shall provide competent data science professional services to a client.
  • Rule 3(b): A data scientist shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the data scientist knows is criminal or fraudulent
  • Rule 4(b) A data scientist shall explain data science results to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the data science.
  • Rule 5(c) A data scientist shall protect all confidential information, regardless of its form or format, from the time of its creation or receipt until its authorized disposal.
  • Rule 8 - Data Science Evidence, Quality of Data and Quality of Evidence
    (a) A data scientist shall inform the client of all data science results and material facts known to the data scientist that will enable the client to make informed decisions, whether or not the data science evidence are adverse.

It is doubtful that data scientists can self-regulate without a single regulating body (there are analytics/data science/data mining groups within ACM SIGKDD, IEEE ICDM, INFORMS, SIAM, etc) but I think a discussion of data science code of conduct is useful.

The professions which require formal exams and certifications (e.g. doctors and lawyers) have codes of conducts. Codes of conducts or ethics guidelines exists for other digital/analytics-related professions, for example

Typically, the codes of conduct are long and bureaucratic, but perhaps one can formulate a short "Golden Rule of Data Science" which would encapsulate the essence of ethical data science.

If so, here is my nomination:

Data Scientist should seek the "truth" in data, and present it to enable the client to make the best decision.

What do you think and what is your Data Science "Golden Rule"?


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