as a strategic concern would facilitate
practices of anticipation, reflection,
and engagement to occur in the formation of new research programs by funding councils and in the final stages of
commercialization at the academic/
commercial interfaces where academic and commercial interests most
visibly overlap and sometimes collide. In between these poles a responsible research and innovation process
would incorporate the roles of funding
councils, professional bodies, and others in sustaining RRI practices within
research teams by providing appropriate support, services, and guidance.
Responsible behavior thus becomes a
collective, unpredictable activity, less
about accountability and liability, and
more about care and responsiveness to
the public. 18
There is evidence that these developments are under way. Academia and
industry are starting to be aware of
RRI for many reasons. Maybe the best
of them, and a good conclusion for
this article, is that RRI, while largely
conceived as a risk-management approach to socio-technical change, has
a much more positive trajectory than
simply constraining innovation to
mitigate risk. By incorporating active
considerations of alternate socio-technical futures into design, engaging
with stakeholders, reflecting on process, product, and purpose, and putting
people at the center of research and innovation, RRI may well provide inspiration and become a unique source of
innovation and creativity.
We would like to thank the reviewers
for their thoughtful comments. The
research underlying this article was
funded by the EPSRC.
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Marina Jirotka ( MarinaJirotka@cs.ox.ac.uk) is Professor
of Human-Centered Computing in the Department of
Computer Science and Associate Director of the Oxford
e-Research Center at the University of Oxford, Oxford, U.K.
Barbara Grimpe ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is a postdoc
assistant in the Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt,
Klagenfurt am Wörthersee, Austria.
Bernd Stahl ( email@example.com) is Professor of Critical
Research in Technology and Director of the Centre for
Computing and Social Responsibility at De Montfort
University, Leicester, U.K.
Grace Eden ( Grace.Eden@hevs.ch) is a senior academic
associate in the University of Applied Sciences Western
Switzerland, HES-SO Valais-Wallis, Switzerland.
Mark Hartswood ( Mark.Hartswood@cs.ox.ac.uk) is
a research assistant in the Department of Computer
Science, University of Oxford, Oxford, U.K.
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a starting point for the reinvigoration and possible extension of a much
more nuanced discourse with and
within ICT research.
Future AREA Plus Framework
The framework we started to develop
in 2011, as explained earlier in this
article, is not a panacea and cannot
perform miracles. Many questions of
relevance concerning ICT projects are
related to fundamentally opposing
concerns and socially and politically
contested interests. Such conflicts will
not disappear overnight. However, the
framework may allow researchers and
innovators to better understand their
own and others’ positions and contribute to better-informed debate and
higher-quality policies and decisions.
Much remains to be done to achieve
this vision of responsible technology
development and support its progress.
The framework needs to be supported
by effective tools and specific guidance on particular topics, issues, and
technologies. The web-based resource
we developed to provide them (http://
www.orbit-rri.org/) is only a starting
point. We next identify concerns that
are crucial to the further development
and adoption of the framework.
First, embedding RRI activities
needs to be perceived by researchers as something achievable. As we
explained earlier, “anticipation” becomes significantly less mysterious
when realistically scoped and grounded in concrete practices, including
specific envisioning techniques and
questions. Implementing RRI is about
finding ways to instantiate concrete
achievable practices and not about
unattainable ideals of “perfect” foresight or “risk-free” innovation. Also,
RRI for ICT may require developing
new initiatives that are likely to depend on more fine-grain case studies
beyond the scope of this article.
In addition, an integrated approach
to RRI is needed for the successful
adoption of the framework. RRI has to
be sensitive to the relationships among
researchers, practitioners, and the
hierarchies and organizational structures in which they are situated. Responsibilities need to be apportioned
across the entire ecology of organizations that together deliver research
and innovation. 8 Taking RRI seriously