"I'm a Professor, which isn't usually a dangerous job": Internet-Facilitated Harassment and its Impact on Researchers

04/22/2021
by   Periwinkle Doerfler, et al.
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While the Internet has dramatically increased the exposure that research can receive, it has also facilitated harassment against scholars. To understand the impact that these attacks can have on the work of researchers, we perform a series of systematic interviews with researchers including academics, journalists, and activists, who have experienced targeted, Internet-facilitated harassment. We provide a framework for understanding the types of harassers that target researchers, the harassment that ensues, and the personal and professional impact on individuals and academic freedom. We then study preventative and remedial strategies available, and the institutions that prevent some of these strategies from being more effective. Finally, we discuss the ethical structures that could facilitate more equitable access to participating in research without serious personal suffering.

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