ACM, the professional association of computer scientists and computing professionals, announced today that I was named a Distinguished Scientist. Here is the list of other ACM members who got this award. This is a great honor and I am grateful. But my thanks go especially to my many amazing collaborators (colleagues, postdocs, visiting scholars, and especially students) without whom my contributions and impact would not exist — this award is also yours!
Kinsey Reporter, currently in public beta release, is a global mobile platform for the reporting, visualization, and analysis of anonymous data about sexual and other intimate behaviors. It works on Android™ and iOS (iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®) devices and communicates securely with a central database server. The anonymous data collected with Kinsey Reporter is aggregated and shared openly with the community via an API at KinseyReporter.org.
With this citizen science project, we are exploring new ways to record and describe people’s sexual experiences worldwide. We hope to reach people with all kinds of different ideas, beliefs, and experiences, and who might be willing to report on sexual behaviors, regardless of who is involved and where it is observed. By using Kinsey Reporter, people contribute to research on human sexual behavior.
From a data science prospective, the project presents interesting challenges regarding how to collect, aggregate, visualize, and openly share crowdsourced data about sensitive topics, in a way that guarantees the anonymity of the data and the privacy of the volunteer citizen scientists. Our current protocol has been approved by the IU IRB for “non-human subjects research” thanks to the way we (1) aggregate geographic locations, (2) disallow uncontrolled input, and (3) completely disassociate the reported data from the identity of reporters, rather than attempting to anonymize personal identifiers.