An ethical canvas for online experiments


Ownership & Rights:

  • Transparency about data is necessary. 
  • The owner of the data must have approval to use the data. 

Privacy & Security

  • The privacy and anonymity of users must be guaranteed.
  • No more data may be collected than necessary.


  • People must be able to easily identify the purposes for which their data is being collected.
  • People must have the opportunity to be excluded from online experiments.


  • It must be clear what the characteristics and shortcomings of the data are.
  • The characteristics and shortcomings of the data must be known to everyone who works with it and must be included in reliability calculations.


Tools & Statistics

  • The experimentation tools and statistics must guarantee reliable results. 
  • A quality program must be in place that clarifies, analyzes and improves possible limitations. 

Experimentation skilIs

  • To guarantee reliable analysis and conclusions. The people who perform the experiments must have the right skills and knowledge of experimental design, data analysis and statistics.


  • A go/no go decision must be made prior to each experiment by weighing the potential benefits against the potential disadvantages.

Welfare measurements

  • An ‘evaluation criteria’ for human well-being must be defined.
  • The experiments must be able to be analyzed on the basis of their impact on these evaluation criteria.


Behavioral knowledge

  • The people conducting the experiments must have enough experience and knowledge of behavioral sciences to analyze and draw conclusions about the possible pros and cons for human well-being.

Extensive analysis

  • The possible effects on human well-being must always be thoroughly analyzed and evaluated.

Minimizing disadvantages

  • The evaluation criteria for the well-being of people must outweigh the criteria aimed at the well-being of the company.


  • People must be able to rely on or submit a request to make changes to the company’s service.