Moral Bureaucracies and Social Network Research

José Luis Molina*, Stephen P. Borgatti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

7 Citations (Scopus)


In the wake of Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), research ethics governance does not just affect the ethical dimensions of social research but also the range of scientific decisions available to researchers. Because of the sensitive status of personal data and the aversion to even minimal risk by what we call “moral bureaucracies”, we are concerned that social network researchers will increasingly limit their research decisions to “safe” options, like reusing anonymized datasets, choosing target populations based on convenience rather than theoretical relevance, and routinely subcontracting fieldwork to professional data collection companies, among others. We also suggest that scientific associations and social scientists in general need to adopt a proactive role in preserving both scientific freedom and genuine ethics advice within this new regulatory framework.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Networks
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Censorship
  • GDPR
  • Open science
  • Personal data protection
  • Research ethics
  • Social networks research


Dive into the research topics of 'Moral Bureaucracies and Social Network Research'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this