Call for Papers for a special issue on 20 Years of ETHICOMP: A Celebration

October 30, 2013

Philosophy and Technology (Springer), Editor in Chief Luciano Floridi (Oxford)

Call for Papers for a special issue on 20 Years of ETHICOMP: A Celebration


Charles Ess, Bernd Carsten Stahl


The ETHICOMP conference series began in 1995. In 1995 the World Wide Web was a new phenomenon unheard of by most people. It was a time of initial experimentation with electronic government and electronic commerce. The dominant computing paradigm was still focused on mainframes, with networked machines starting to gain prominence. Personal computers existed but were expensive. Mobile telephones were the preserve of well-paid executives. Increasingly, however, the emerging characteristics and growing social consequences of computing technologies evoked and required ethical reflection. It was in this context that Simon Rogerson and Terry Bynum had the vision of organizing the first ETHICOMP conference in 1995 (Leicester, UK).

Technologies, their organisational, individual and social use and the resulting social and ethical consequences have developed rapidly. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are now converging and diffusing into an ever-increasing number of social domains. ETHICOMP remains one of the main venues for the exchange of ideas about ethics and ICTs. Among the defining features of ETHICOMP are the explicit attempts to bring together people from different backgrounds from within and outside of academia with a strong interest in practice and policy. The ETHICOMP conference series furthermore prides itself in being inclusive, supportive and providing a friendly environment for new entrants in the discussion to voice their ideas. These distinctive characteristics of the conference series are due first of all to the vision and labour of its two leading figures, Terry and Simon.

During the nearly two decades of its existence, the conference has branched out from being a local event in Leicester to spanning several continents with the events occurring in places as diverse as China, Japan and South America.

Recently, Terry and Simon have stepped down as chairs and leaders of the ETHICOMP conference series and have handed over the responsibility to the next generation of scholars. This special issue celebrates the achievements of the ETHICOMP conference series, of the two individuals who have steered it, and the community of researchers, scholars and practitioners who have discovered and helped shape it as a place to develop their understanding and thinking.


In this special issue we want to look back on the discourse that has developed within and around ETHICOMP. This special issue will be linked to a dedicated track of the 2014 ETHICOMP / CEPE conference. Potential authors are encouraged to submit an extended abstract to the 2014 ETHICOMP track. The track will allow potential authors to develop their ideas further.

Possible topics include:

  • ·         Technological changes and resulting ethical challenges
  • ·         Themes of ethical discussion in ICT since 1995, both within and beyond ETHICOMP
  • ·         Relationships of different scholarly and disciplinary communities (e.g. computer science, software engineering, philosophy, science and technology studies, information systems) and conferences (e.g., CAP, ECAP, IACAP, CEPE, and of course, ETHICOMP) in ethics and ICT
  • ·         Personal insights, accounts or viewpoints that demonstrate the relevance of ETHICOMP and its two founders – e.g., Terry Bynum’s focus on “flourishing ethics” as rooted in the work of Norbert Wiener, Simon Rogerston’s attention to ways in which professional practice can become relevant in the ICT industry.
  • ·         Historical, bibliometric or other analyses of ETHICOMP content
  • ·         Likely topics of ETHICOMP conferences in 2035, i.e., what might current patterns of research topics and anticipated technological developments suggest as future directions for research and critical reflection?


30.11.2013                  Submission of extended abstracts to ETHICOMP 2014 (recommended)

25-27.06.2014             2014 ETHICOMP, in conjunction with CEPE

01.08.2014                  Submission online of full paper to the journal (see instructions below)

31.10.2014                  Deadline for peer-reviewed, double-blind evaluations

15.11.2014                  Editorial feedback to authors

01.02.2015                  Submission of revised papers

31.03.2015                  Final editorial decision

June 2015                    Publication of the special issue


To submit a paper for this special issue, authors should go to the journal’s Editorial Manager (EM)

The author (or a corresponding author for each submission in case of co- authored papers) must register into EM.

The author must then select the special article type: “20 Years of ETHICOMP: A Celebration” from the selection provided in the submission process. This is needed in order to assign the submissions to the Guest Editors.

For any further information please contact:

Stahl, Bernd Carsten

Ess, Charles


If you build it…

September 26, 2010

As a researcher employing social media tools as research instrument, a report from the Research Information Network in July 2010 was an interesting comparison with my own experiences presented at Ethicomp 2010 in Tarragona, Spain.

The RIN report entitled ‘If you build it will they come‘ recognises the current limited use being made by what is also a small group of researchers. Having personally endured some personal heartache (since both aren’t fully accepted in academia) from the employment of both an action research methodology and social media in his research, I was pleased to see the conclusion on page 53 state:

“Researchers themselves are the most important enablers and communicators of emerging best practice. It is important that they should consider the full range of available tools and services as an intrinsic part of the research and scholarly communication process, and seek to learn from each other about new developments and practices that prove beneficial. Where web 2.0 tools and services have proved useful, the researchers involved can play a valuable role in exchanging information, thereby increasing awareness of the range of available tools and services (generic and discipline specific) and their utility for particular activities and settings. Better sharing of experience about how new offerings might be usefully and effectively deployed may be key to encouraging uptake and learning about effective use.”

Having written conference papers about both methodology and tools, I think I’ve done my initial share, but I do hope to continue in developing their use and promoting them in the future.


The organisers of ETHICOMP 2011 in Sheffield, England have issued a call-for-papers.


So, what’s the vision?

September 20, 2008

Socitm were presenting last week on Web 2.0, I’m arguing for a Citizen-oriented Service Architecture to be planned across the board (including a metric model), the Invisible Hand gang argue for access to data and central government and its contractors continue to lose public trust by losing their data!

Having completed the splendid book by Jeffrey Roy about E-Government in Canada, a great deal of which covered the above issues, particularly public trust, I’m now onto a book that Mantex promoted.(I’ve subscribed to Roy’s newsletter since it started and its always worth a read, even if only for the ‘pub quiz’ questions that flow through it! 

The book by Merholz et al, Subject to Change, encourages us to use customer experience to shape the product development process. In my simple way I thought this might project an opinion around service delivery to the citizen, and it does.

My developing model has the citizen in their community of needs at the front. They approach the resolution of those needs or services approach them, potentially, via the full range of service channels depending upon the service or the citizen’s needs. This will include appropriate security, it may also include Web 2.0.

Overlapping the service channels but feeding back to the citizen and the service is the performance layer that will capture information from those served and those serving about satisfaction and numbers.

Feeding into the range of service channels are the serices themselves, presented in a citizen-oriented service architecture that may allow ‘invisible hands’ access or third sector users, subject to secuity and legalities but taking and delivering transactions and information as required by the media of the service delivery channels.

The performance layer will tune the service layer or refine citizen expectations at the front end, according to feedback.

Where does Merholz et al fit in? Right at the beginning they state that a persons experience of a service emerges from certain qualities which are:







This all means that we need to deliver to expectations and abilities (social inclusion), engaging well with citizens to ensure that the experience is of value! If none of these are fulfilled we want to know why, so we can try and sort it out!

On Friday morning on the 26th September my supervisors Ben and Richard will be presenting the initial research into this realm at Ethicomp 2008 at the University of Mantua. My thanks to them, I hope it is found interesting and no hard questions are asked in my absence. I’m hoping to refine the measure(s) and model at the EiP Conference in November and also at the ESD-Toolkit Customer Insight Working Group in Preston in October.

So, I’m not a lone voice crying in the wilderness, I’ve found a few wildernesses to cry out in!

Conference call!

September 5, 2008

If you don’t want to go to ETHICOMP 2008 in Italy to hear about my research I am doing a session at the EiP Conference in London on November 11, 2008.

After a key session by Wendy Schratz of Egg there will be a “whole group” discussion led by Angus Doulton and I concluding with a debate on ‘measures’. The aim will be to get as close as we can in conference to agreeing a small set of measures that are worthwhile. We will then test and develop these measures in group work through the year.  What do you think? Can we do it? It’ll all help towards phase two of my research!

Early bookings have started!

Another session I’ve been invited to attend but don’t think I’ll make it is:

Scot Web 2

Friday, October 31, 2008 from 10:00 AM – 04:00 PM (GMT)

Edinburgh University Holyrood Campus
Paterson’s Land
Holyrood Road
Edinburgh, Edinburgh City EH8 8AQ
United Kingdom




Computer Weekly blog awards

August 27, 2008

Despite being shortlisted, the blog didn’t make the top two in the Computer Weekly Blog Awards for 2008, but never mind! Interestingly the winners were both from education with the Microsoft Schools News taking the ‘gold’.

In the meantime I’ll keep up my campaign around metrics in local government service delivery, particularly electronic service delivery and with three dates for presentations already provisionally on the books:

Ethicomp 2008 – University of Mantua, Italy (not me though!)

ESD-Toolkit – Customer Satisfaction work group

EiP Conference – a little session on service delivery sophistry

This should all help develop phase 2 of the research! so please keep comments dropping in!