17. Using online platforms

What is a “cloud” platform?

  • An online computer service offered via the internet by a service provider outside UNIGE to carry out certain operations necessary for research. These operations can consist of data collection, storage or analysis, participant recruitment, or online experiments.


What are the security criteria to watch out for when choosing a “cloud” platform for my research?


What are the ethical criteria related to the use of “cloud” platforms?

These criteria can be assessed by asking the following questions about:

  • Necessity: is the research unable to be conducted using one of the IT solutions tested and/or offered free of charge by the institution?
  • Fair compensation: is the compensation adapted to the standard of living and does not constitute a remuneration? Is a geographical targeting possible in order to adapt the compensation to the local standard of living? Is it customary practice in the given field of research?
  • Research transparency: are the purposes and methods of data processing clear? Is consent obtained in the same way as it is for “offline” research?
  • Participant supervision: are the necessary guidance and support procedures put in place for sensitive issues?
  • Participation at free will: does the researcher guarantee anonymity and confidentiality with respect to local authorities? The possibility to withdraw from the activity at any time and the absence of coercion to participate?


The platforms recommended by the institution for research purposes are the following:


If I plan to use a platform that is not yet “recommended”, what prior steps should I take?

  • We advise you to contact the UNIGE’s data protection officer (DPO) who will be able to evaluate the use of a cloud solution for your research purposes.
  • The following form can be sent to the DPO to evaluate the cloud solution you would like to use for research purposes.
  • Depending on the sensitivity of the data you plan to process, the provider and host sites, and the technical and contractual terms and conditions, you will need to obtain explicit approval from the Rectorate before using the platform. Based on your request, the DPO will be able to specify the prerequisites required by UNIGE.