Internet of Things Devices, Citizen Science Research and the Right to Science: Ethical and Legal Issues

James Scheibner, Anna Jobin, Effy Vayena

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Although lay participation has long been a feature of scientific research, the past decades have seen an explosion in the number of citizen science projects. Simultaneously, the number of low-cost network connected devices collectively known as Internet of Things devices has proliferated. The increased use of Internet of Things devices in citizen science exists has coincided with a reconsideration of the right to science under international law. Specifically, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights both recognise a right to benefit and participate in the scientific process. Whilst it is unclear whether this right protects participation by citizen scientists, it provides a useful framework to help chart the ethical issues raised by citizen science. In this chapter, we first describe the origins and boundaries of the right to science, as well as its relevance to citizen science. We then use the findings of a scoping review to examine three main ethical and legal issues for using Internet of Things devices in citizen science.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Handbook of Information Technology, Life Sciences and Human Rights
EditorsMarcello Ienca, Oreste Pollicino, Laura Liguori, Elisa Stefanini, Roberto Andorno
Place of PublicationCambridge, United Kingdom
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781108775038
ISBN (Print)9781108477833
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameCambridge Law Handbooks
PublisherCambridge University Press


  • Ethics
  • Internet of Things
  • IoT
  • smartphones
  • right to science
  • Human rights
  • research commons
  • Intellectual property


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