Are you an engineer or data scientist working on software infrastructures and processes for independent, public-interest research on technology and society? Are you interested to meet peers, share best practices, and offer mutual support?

Journalists, academics, and community scientists are increasingly stepping up to create trustworthy knowledge for a better internet. A growing ecosystem of industry independent researchers are exposing discrimination, developing AI systems, monitoring corporate promises, and testing ways to organize people for change. Along the way, so many of us are re-imagining how research gets done with new kinds of public-interest software.

If your experience is anything like the CAT Lab story, you too have noticed that public-interest work requires you to re-invent basic assumptions about power, privacy, and ethics built into common engineering practices. At CAT Lab, our quest for a safer, fairer, more understanding internet has led us to re-think our software practices from data storage and our development cycle to HR and fundraising. With so many organizations having small tech teams, it can sometimes feel like we all have to re-invent the details alone. 

The good news is that none of us needs to do this alone. That’s why CAT Lab and the Coalition for Independent Tech Research are organizing a Community of Practice for engineers and data scientists developing software and processes for industry-independent research. We hope this community of practice will come to:

  • Strengthen relationships among people working on the nuts and bolts of systems for public interest research on technology and society
  • Share questions, challenges, and best practices
  • Provide a clearinghouse for peer support on thorny questions
  • Coordinate technical perspectives on key conversations about ethics and privacy
  • Envision opportunities for shared, open source infrastructure development

If you’re interested to join an initial call and gaining access to the Community of Practice chat room, please Complete this sign-up form by Monday August 15.

Sign up for the Public-Interest Research Engineering Community of Practice