“Reflections on Responsible Research and Innovation for Trustworthy Autonomous Systems”


An essential concept for the development of socially beneficial trustworthy autonomous systems (TAS) is responsibility in the context of research and innovation. The framing of responsibility itself can be confusing – often mistaken as liability or research ethics – and challenging when actioned into practice. Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) provides governance frameworks and tools for engaging in a process of care and responsiveness. However, what does it mean to be responsible and responsive within TAS? This special issue will focus on RRI in practice; for example, how have RRI action plans been deployed successfully in TAS studies? What are the main challenges and issues around engagement? What can we learn from challenge cases and best RRI practices? This is an opportunity to reflect and discuss RRI limitations, potential and opportunities within TAS studies.

We are seeking two types of articles:

1.     Short reflective articles (2000-3000 words) that discuss experiences of applying RRI in practice, within a particular project or programme of research. We are looking for papers that critically reflect on the barriers and facilitators of ‘doing’ RRI, how action plans were successfully (or unsuccessfully) deployed, and the lessons learnt for future work and for defining RRI best practices. We are not looking for a hypothetical discussion of how RRI should be framed or considered without a real-world example.

2.     Longer original research articles (absolute maximum 10,000 words) that report the results of more formal research carried out into the application of RRI. Papers should include full Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion sections. We are looking for papers that add to our understanding of the important considerations for RRI and tackle the above questions in a more empirical manner. We are not looking for review papers (e.g. literature reviews) that simply scope out current thinking, but welcome those that then proceed to present new insights and theories.

For queries relating to scope, please contact Liz.Dowthwaite@nottingham.ac.uk

You are invited to submit your manuscript at any time before the submission deadline of 20 December 2021. The journal’s submission platform (Editorial Manager®) is now available for receiving submissions to this Special Issue. Please refer to the Guide for Authors to prepare your manuscript and select the article type of “VSI: RRI reflections for TAS” when submitting your manuscript online. Both the Guide for Authors and the submission portal can be found on the Call for papers web page.

The Guest Editors – Dr Elvira Perez Vallejos, Dr Liz Dowthwaite, Dr Pepita Barnard and Dr Ben Coomber

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