Library Element Journal and Magazine

The ORBIT Journal - an online Journal for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 20 June 2017

The ORBIT Journal - an online Journal for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT

Mission Statement

The Orbit Journal publishes papers dealing with all aspects of responsible research and innovation in information and communication technology and beyond. The mission of ORBIT is to help researchers and innovators reflect on their work to ensure it promotes the public good. The ORBIT journal provides a platform to exchange insights, experiences, good practice and theoretical considerations. Submissions should therefore be academically rigorous, but also accessible to a broad audience.

Why publish in the Orbit journal?

The Orbit journal offers the opportunity to publish original research and insights on RRI. It is linked to a community of interested scholars and therefore has a strong audience. Journal submissions are fully peer reviewed. Published papers will form part of the resources that are made available to the Orbit community, thus leading to higher visibility than other journal papers.

What does it cost to publish in the Orbit journal?

Orbit is an open access online journal. For the duration of EPSRC funding we will not charge Author Processing Fees. This may need to be revisited after EPSRC funding ceases. Papers published in Orbit will remain available without charge on the Orbit website.

Who holds the copyright to Orbit journal papers?

The copyright for any papers published in the Orbit journal remains with the authors. The authors grant the Orbit journal a non-exclusive licence to publish their papers under a Creative Commons licence.


By Bernd Stahl and Marina Jirotka   Posted 05/06/2017   In Editorial, Issue 1, Volume One

The ORBIT journal is an open access online journal. It allows scholars, practitioners and others who are interested in RRI to exchange experience, good practice and other ideas about RRI. Our research has shown that a repository for this type of information is important to help individuals involved in research and innovation understand the problems that RRI is meant to address as well as ways of successfully addressing them. Papers published in the ORBIT journal are therefore categorised in ways that we hope will help the audience to access them and make them useful. The categories currently being used are:

  • Case Studies
  • Ethical Issues
  • Technologies
  • Concepts
  • Solutions

These categories are not mutually exclusive and are meant to help readers navigate their way through RRI. In the category of case studies we want to collect contributions that describe cases of successful but also of unsuccessful implementation of RRI. The main point is that there should be interesting lessons to be learned. The category of ethical issues aims to explicate particular problems that have arisen or can arise in research and innovation. The concept of ethics used here is open and pluralistic. It can include broader social issues where authors believe these to have ethical relevance. We believe that much of the work previously done in computer and information ethics could fall in this category. To some degree this also true for the category of technologies, which aims to focus on the way RRI may be reflected in particular technologies, ranging from high-profile technologies such as artificial intelligence to technologies that are less prominently discussed in terms of RRI such as quantum computing. The category of concepts will include theoretical, philosophical or conceptual work that does not fit easily into any of the above categories. The final category of solutions is meant to provide a space for those contributions that want to focus particularly on a specific way of addressing an issue, or for methods that allow dealing with RRI in general or particular aspects of RRI in a well-defined way.

Papers published in the ORBIT journal will be accessible through the ‘journal’ section of the ORBIT website but they will also be made available via the categories. We hope that this will lead to broader readership. We will therefore continue to monitor the usage of the site and review the use of the categories regularly. If additional categories are required or if the categories initially suggested do not prove to be beneficial, we will review them.

The intended audience of the ORBIT journal is the community of people who are interested in RRI, in particular its application to ICT. This will, in the first instance, be predominantly academics but it will also include researchers and innovators from companies as well as individuals involved in research funding and policy development. We hope that the ORBIT journal will be a key component in the development of a community of practice in RRI. We therefore encourage submissions that focus on transferable lessons and that demonstrate the relevance of the insights gained to the community. We hope to attract papers that are practice-oriented and provide advice and methods as well as traditional academic papers.

In the spirit of openness and accessibility, papers in the ORBIT journal will be published under a creative commons licence and be freely available. As long as ORBIT is funded by the EPSRC, no article processing fees will be charged. The ORBIT journal is a peer reviewed journal and therefore will employ the principle of double blind peer review in the selection of papers. However, in order to avoid imposing an orthodoxy on the novel field of RRI, the peer review criteria will focus on rigour in methodology and consistency of narrative. We hope that this will allow novel ideas to flourish which will benefit creative thinkers and in particular scholars in an early part of their career.

The editorial review processes that the ORBIT journal employs are still underdevelopment. They will orient themselves along the lines of other established online journals, such as the PLOS or Frontiers families of journals. They will ensure academic rigour while simultaneously ensuring openness and inclusion. We are still in the process of developing the processes and would welcome any input and proposals. Similarly, we are currently establishing the groups needed to run a journal and are looking for volunteers to contribute to the editorial review board and group of associate editors who will be crucial to making the journal a success.

Setting up a new journal is a difficult and time-consuming process. We are therefore delighted that we have managed to work with the ETHICOMP conference to offer the publication of papers to be presented at the ETHICOMP 2017 conference in the inaugural issue of the ORBIT journal. ETHICOMP is one of the oldest conference series that focuses on ethical and social issues of computing (Stahl & Ess, 2015). Its subject area is very closely aligned with RRI in ICT and the papers selected for inclusion into the inaugural issue of the ORBIT journal show the breadth of issues and approaches that the journal can cover.

The papers included in this inaugural issue show the breadth of work undertaken in computer ethics and RRI in ICT. They cover the range from empirical to conceptual, from traditional academic accounts to exploratory formats.

What these papers in the first issue show is that there is much thinking going on to help us better understand how we can ensure that ICT is conducive to human wellbeing and flourishing. With developing technological capabilities we need to engage our collective imagination to ensure that we can steer technology development and eventual use in desirable directions. The ORBIT journal offers a way to share related insights. The other services of ORBIT can the build on them and help researchers, innovators and other stakeholders to integrate them into practice.


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