NEWS14 September 2021

Esomar and GRBN release data guidance

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NETHERLANDS – Global market research network Esomar and the research association group Global Research Business Network (GRBN) have published global guidance on fair usage of data.


The guidance, published as two documents, sets out ethical standards for data use by members, and aims to provide support to organisations and individuals who work with data on a regular basis.

The first publication, primary data collection guidance, will set out how to collect directly from or about a data subject for the purpose of their data, research and insights projects.

It includes quantitative and qualitative methods that involve direct questioning of data subjects, but also methods of passive data collection in which the researcher observes, measures or records an individual’s actions or behaviour.

A second duty of care guide will set out the responsibilities to the privacy and wellbeing of data subjects and the principal ethical and legal requirements.

Finn Raben, director general of Esomar, said: “It is high time to refresh our commitments and ensure our standards keep up with an ecosystem where data science is mainstreaming and leading to a dramatic increase in the volume of personal data, much of it behavioural, being collected.

“The recognition of the potential value to societies and economies is only possible when responsible and ethical use of personal data occurs.”

Andrew Cannon, executive director at GRBN, said: “Trust is fundamental to the future of our industry; trust by the general public, by clients and by regulators.

“Researchers’ ethical behaviour, especially with regard to privacy and the use of personal data, is central to maintaining and building this trust, and these two guidelines provide researchers with the essential guidance they need.”