Dr Vivien Rooney, an applied psychologist at UCC, takes us through the intricate and complicated environment created by informed consent, which puts pressure on researchers, subjects and, therefore, everybody.

“Informed consent should move away from a static step that we take at the beginning of a research project, towards a participatory relationship throughout the process,” began Rooney as she took us through the trials and tribulations of consent.

Looking at the ease at which we can sign a release, towards requests to take back what we have just said, Rooney described a mounting stress on both researchers and subjects, where often we just want to cruise along nicely.

In the context of big data and a Magna Carta to define these paramaters, the inference could not have been clearer.

We need an open, ongoing dialogue. A simple signing off at the initial introduction to an agreement or research project isn’t enough.

“Informed consent isn’t a procedure you can encapsulate in a single act,” she said. “From recruitment through data gathering and analysis, it is a process.”

Siliconrepublic.com’s Data Science Week brings you special coverage of this rapidly growing field from 28 September to 2 October 2015. Don’t miss an entry worth your analysis by subscribing to our news alerts or following @siliconrepublic and the hashtag #DataScienceWeek on Twitter.

Words by Gordon Hunt