The Ethical, Societal, and Global Implications of Crowdsourcing Research

Shuili Du, Mayowa Babalola, Premilla D’Cruz, Edina Doci, Lucia Garcia-Lorenzo, Louise Hassan, Gazi Islam, Alex Newman, Ernesto Noronha, Suzanne van Gils

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Online crowdsourcing platforms have rapidly become a popular source of data collection. Despite the various advantages these platforms offer, there are substantial concerns regarding not only data validity issues, but also the ethical, societal, and global ramifications arising from the prevalent use of online crowdsourcing platforms. This paper seeks to expand the dialogue by examining both the “internal” aspects of crowdsourcing research practices, such as data quality issues, reporting transparency, and fair compensation, and the “external” aspects, in terms of how the widespread use of crowdsourcing data collection shapes the nature of scientific communities and our society in general. Online participants in research studies are informal workers who provide labor in exchange for remuneration. The paper thus highlights the need for researchers to consider the markedly different political, economic, and socio-cultural characteristics of the Global North and the Global South when undertaking crowdsourcing research involving an international sample; such consideration is crucial for both increasing research validity and mitigating societal inequities. We encourage researchers to scrutinize the value systems underlying this popular data collection research method and its associated ethical, societal, and global ramifications, as well as provide a set of recommendations regarding the use of crowdsourcing platforms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Crowdsourcing research
  • Data validity
  • Ethics of methods
  • Global South
  • Online labor
  • Transparency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law


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