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Call for Chapters: Ethics of Biomedical Big Data (edited volume)

Published on
15 Jan 2015
Submissions are called for a peer-reviewed edited volume on ethical challenges faced in biomedical Big Data, in collaboration with Springer as part of their Law, Governance and Technology book series.

Peer-reviewed edited volume in Springer’s Law, Governance and Technology series; Editors: Prof. Luciano Floridi and Dr Brent Mittelstadt

Deadlines: Extended Abstracts: April 15, 2015; Chapters: June 30, 2015.


In biomedical research, the analysis of large datasets (Big Data) has become a major driver of innovation and success. Epidemiology, public health and infectious diseases research, biobanks, genomic and microbiome sequencing are already deeply affected by Biomedical Big Data, alongside emerging forms of commercial collection and self-curation of medical data (e.g. health ‘apps’, online health records, wearable computing). However, the collection, storage and analysis of this data potentially raises serious ethical problems, which may threaten the huge opportunities it offers. Recent movement from the NHS to further share patient data ( and related data sharing throughout Europe make addressing these problems in the near term very pressing.

To address these and similar questions we are putting together a peer-reviewed edited volume on ethical challenges faced in biomedical Big Data, in collaboration with Springer as part of their Law, Governance and Technology book series. The volume will build upon the outputs of a workshop of the same name hosted in April 2015 by the Oxford Internet Institute as part of the ‘Ethics of Biomedical Big Data‘ project. The volume will bring together expertise from academia, medicine and industry to address emerging challenges in the field, and the requirements for a European framework for ethical usage of biomedical Big Data. We invite you to submit a chapter to the volume which will provide the groundwork for a future European regulatory framework for biomedical Big Data.

We hope chapters will address questions such as:

  • What are the unique ethical challenges of biomedical Big Data?
  • What does the ethical landscape look like beyond issues of informed consent and privacy?
  • How should collection, sharing and re-uses of biomedical Big Data be regulated?
  • Which existing and prospective Big Data practices are particularly problematic or require further analysis/regulation?
  • How can we develop an ethically sound framework for using Big Data in biomedical researchas well as commercial applications at a European level?
  • What lessons can be learnt from previous or different experiences in applied ethics that could help in dealing with the new challenges posed by Big Data in biomedical research?

Chapters addressing existing cases or examples of ethically problematic Big Data practices are very welcome. Requirements, proposals and desiderata for the development of the aforementioned European framework are also of particular interest, given the ’emerging’ state of ‘Big Data sciences’.


Please submit a working title and a 500-word abstract of your proposed chapter as a Word document to Dr. Brent Mittelstadt ( All submitted abstracts will be reviewed by the editors. Authors will be notified of the outcome by April 17 and invited to submit a full chapter by June 30, 2015 for peer-review and publication in the volume.

If you have questions regarding the suitability of your submission please contact Dr. Mittelstadt with your proposed title and a 2-3 sentence description.

You are very welcome to distribute this call to colleagues and across relevant networks.

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