Researchers and other data experts have tremendous power to use data to shape conversations about policies, programs, and resource allocations. Everyone who works with data should consider how their actions and resulting products affect people and communities. Currently, research organizations use the Belmont Report—which emphasizes three principles: beneficence, respect for persons, and justice—to guide formal oversight to protect people who are studied. However, people in government, nonprofits, and other sectors also create and use data in ways that may have serious consequences for others’ lives. This brief introduces the Belmont Report’s principles and provides selected principle-aligned practices and resources to help data experts at all levels integrate the principles into their work and move toward more equitable data practice.
This brief is part of the Elevate Data for Equity project that provides knowledge and tools for using data to advance equity and community health. The project draws on insights from the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership and was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.