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A bibliometric analysis of privacy and ethics in IEEE Security and Privacy


The increasingly ubiquitous use of technology has led to the concomitant rise of intensified data collection and the ethical issues associated with the privacy and security of that data. In order to address the question of how these ethical concerns are discussed in the literature surrounding the subject, we examined articles published in IEEE Security and Privacy, a magazine targeted towards a general, technically-oriented readership spanning both academia and industry. Our investigation of the intersection between the ethical and technological dimensions of privacy and security is structured as a bibliometric analysis. Our dataset covers all articles published in IEEE Security and Privacy since its inception in 2003 to February 06, 2014 . This venue was chosen not only because of its target readership, but also because a preliminary search of keywords related to ethics, privacy, and security topics in the ISI Web of Knowledge and IEEE Xplore indicated that IEEE Security and Privacy has published a preponderance of articles matching those topics. In fact, our search returned two-fold more articles for IEEE Security and Privacy than the next most prolific venue. These reasons, coupled with the fact that both academia and industry are well-represented in the authorship of articles makes IEEE Security and Privacy an excellent candidate for bibliometric analysis. Our analysis examines the ways articles in IEEE Security and Privacy relate ethics to information technology. Such articles can influence the development of law, policy and the future of information technology ethics. We employed thematic and JK-biplot analyses of content relating privacy and ethics and found eight dominant themes as well as the inter-theme relationships. Authors and institutional affiliations were examined to discern whether centers of research activity and/or authors dominated the overall field or thematic areas. Results suggest avenues for future work in critical areas, especially for closing present gaps in the coverage of ethics and information technology privacy and security themes particularly in the areas of ethics and privacy awareness.

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The authors would like to acknowledge Person 1, Person 2, and Person 3 of Institution for their invaluable contributions. This research was funded by a grant and there are no conflicts of interest by any author or consultant to this project.

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Correspondence to Jonathan Tse.

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Tse, J., Schrader, D.E., Ghosh, D. et al. A bibliometric analysis of privacy and ethics in IEEE Security and Privacy . Ethics Inf Technol 17, 153–163 (2015).

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  • Ethics
  • Privacy
  • Education