The Researcher Security, Safety and Resilience project (REASSURE)

Academic research into online extremism and terrorism carries unique risks. The first is repeated exposure to distressing content, such as the detailed analysis of thousands of videos or images produced by ISIS. The second is the potential to be targeted by illicit actors, online and offline, through doxing, trolling or material threats. To-date there has been little guidance for researchers on how to deal with either mental health issues caused by repeatedly viewing violent and offensive material or the challenges of staying virtually and physically safe. There has also been no comprehensive study on what those challenges or risks are.

The Researcher Security, Safety and Resilience project (REASSURE) addresses this. REASSURE is documenting and detailing researcher welfare issues, as experienced by researchers themselves.

Crucially, REASSURE will then develop strategies for mitigating these. REASSURE will draw on the knowledge base of related fields, including law enforcement, tech companies and journalism, to produce a Charter for Researcher Ethics and Safety (CARES). This will be tailored for researchers active in the online extremism and terrorism space, giving them guidance on best practice.

REASSURE is about enhancing the wellbeing and safety of online extremism and terrorism researchers through active collaboration with the community of scholars in this field.

The REASSURE Project Report Online Launch

A special live panel event, hosted by the VOX-Pol network, to launch the initial report from the REASSURE project, and discuss its findings. This online launch features Dr Lizz Pearson, Meili Criezis, Jacob Davey, and is chaired by Dr Joe Whittaker.

Catch 22: Researcher Welfare and Institutional Ethics

Dr Joe Whittaker gives a guest lecture with the VOX-Pol network. Joe discusses the ‘Catch 22’ that researchers of online extremism and terrorism face when navigating ethics committees, how their welfare is considered, and whether this supports researchers, or creates further barriers in their work.

The Next Gen Academic Survival Series

An online workshop hosted by the VOX-Pol network, as part of their ‘Next Gen Academic Survival Workshop Series’. The workshop looks at PhD student research welfare, featuring Dr Ashton Kingdon, Dr Ashley Mattheis, Dr Joe Whittaker, and chaired by Dr Miraji Mohamed.