How we organise Data Ethics Club#

Deciding on material to read#

The reading list is organised into lots of different sections - some are philosophical, some are technical. Our previously discussed pieces are available in our Previous Meetings overview. We like to check off things we have discussed in the reading list, and include a link to the meeting info page which summarises the content.

To decide on material to read the organisers pick three pieces from the list based on recent suggestions, and then the whole group votes on these for the following meeting.

We try to consider the following when picking what to put to the vote each week:

  • If someone recently said they’d like it to make the list

  • If there is a reason to prioritise looking a particular piece soon, for example if there is a deadline for feedback, or if something is a preprint or topical paper that would benefit from being looked at soon.

  • If there are certain topics that missed out on being discussed due to the group make-up, (whether these relate to particular protected characteristics, e.g. disability, race, gender) or types of scholarship (e.g. data science keeps winning in votes over social science), then consider having a themed meeting, where all three choices are all within that category, to ensure we get a chance to discuss it.

It’s useful to prepare a very short (1-2 sentence) summary about each piece of content to introduce it to the group, so that they know what they’re voting for.

Using GitHub issues#

We use GitHub issues to record actions for ourselves as organisers, which is why they’re a great way to also collect reading list suggestions. We have an issue template that lives in .github/ISSUE_TEMPLATE/ specifically for reading list suggestions, and find it helpful to link this to the item in the reading list so we know who suggested it, and any discussion questions they thought might be interesting.


We primarily use MailChimp for our mailing list and to communicate with the group. MailChimp is free, and manages people subscribing/unsubscribing which saves time and effort. It’s also easy to make nice looking templates ! We typically send out two emails about each session, one the week before and one on the day.

We have templates set up in MailChimp to make it quicker for us to write these emails, and for consistency.

Tips for communication#

  • Using a reusable zoom link simplifies things for us and attendees.

  • Providing multiple avenues for communication helps us get lots of different types of feedback (e.g. GitHub issues, email, even Twitter!)

  • Using Time And Date makes it easy to show which timezone the meeting will be in. There’s a link to this in our meeting info templateto remind us to do make it time!