Two Years After: A Scoping Review of GDPR Effects on Serious Games Research Ethics Reporting
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On May 25th, 2018, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. Recognised as a comprehensive regulation for improving privacy and data protection, a substantial impact on data processing disciplines such as Serious Games (SG) research was expected. By conducting a scoping review, this paper explores the effects of GDPR on reporting of ethics approval, informed consent, ethics guidelines and data protection in SG studies. Five scientific databases were searched for research between 2016 and 2020 addressing Serious Games, Exergames and Applied Games. A total of 2146 full-text studies split into equal collections before and after GDPR were included. Lexicometric and keyword-in-context analysis were conducted and comparatively evaluated regarding ethics reporting and trends. Results unexpectedly show that GDPR so far hardly left a mark. While a slight increase of 12% in general ethics reporting can be observed, less than 6% of the studies after GDPR coming-into-force report on data protection. Ethics procedures remained consistent with most researchers reporting the approval from their home university committee and stating the Declaration of Helsinki as followed guidelines. Overall, the verifiable impact of GDPR was found negligibly small, with only 0.5% of studies referring to the regulation in the two years after introduction. Conclusively, further research is suggested to focus on integrating ethics and data protection guided on GDPR from an early conceptual stage to the reporting of the findings.