Ethical Mining – A Case Study on MSR Mining Challenges
ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper AwardMSR - Technical Paper
Research in Mining Software Repositories (MSR) is research involving human subjects, as the repositories usually contain data about developers’ interactions with the repositories. Therefore, any research in the area needs to consider the ethics implications of the intended activity before starting. This paper presents a discussion of the ethics implications of MSR research, using the mining challenges from the years 2010 to 2019 as a case study. It highlights problems that one may encounter in creating such datasets, and discusses ethics challenges that may be encountered when using existing datasets. An analysis of 102 accepted papers to the Mining Challenge Track suggests that none had an explicit discussion of ethics considerations. Whilst this does not necessarily mean ethics were not considered, the sparsity of discussion leads us to suggest that the MSR community should at least increase awareness by openly discussing ethicas considerations.