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Tom Powers Delaware Biotechnology Institute & Department of Philosophy University of Delaware Research Ethics.

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1 Tom Powers Delaware Biotechnology Institute & Department of Philosophy University of Delaware Research Ethics

2 Outline  1. Introduction: research ethics and moral principles  2. Case 1: group discussion & reconvene  minute break  4. Case 2: group discussion & reconvene  5. Case 3: group discussion & reconvene  6. Professional ethical codes  1. Introduction: research ethics and moral principles  2. Case 1: group discussion & reconvene  minute break  4. Case 2: group discussion & reconvene  5. Case 3: group discussion & reconvene  6. Professional ethical codes

3 What is the focus of research ethics? Plagiarism Fabrication & falsification of data Conflicts of Interest Authorship Experimental subjects

4 What contributes to ethical problems in research? Garden-variety vices: dishonesty, envy, exploitation, lack of collegiality, self- promotion, sloth, arrogance, etc., etc.

5 Let’s start by considering: Case 1: Grad student Jones begins an analysis on a large data set in pumpkin genetics--data that she has generated in a lab run by Prof. Turnip. The analysis will be the basis of her dissertation. The work looks promising, and she hopes to conduct other analyses after the initial one, but Turnip wants to hand over the data to a lab run by a company from which Turnip has received support in the past. The company wants to go to market with some GM pumpkin seeds, as opposed to publishing further genetic studies. Turnip doesn’t admit this to Jones, however, pleading merely that the data set is too large for Jones to exploit anyway. Jones starts to mischaracterize her results to Turnip. Is anyone in the wrong here?

6 “Philosophical Foundations of Scientific Ethics” By David Resnik 1. Scientific Honesty: Do not commit scientific fraud, i.e. do not fabricate, fudge, trim, cook, destroy, or misrepresent data. 2. Carefulness: Strive to avoid careless errors or sloppiness in all aspects of scientific work. 3. Intellectual Freedom: Scientists should be allowed to pursue new ideas and criticize old ones. They should be free to conduct research they find interesting. 4. Openness: i.e. share data, results, methods, theories, equipment, and so on. Allow people to see your work, be open to criticism. 5. The principle of credit: Do not plagiarize the work of other scientists, give credit where credit is due (but not where it is not due). 6. The principle of public responsibility: Report research in the public media when a) the research has an important and direct bearing on human happiness and b) the research has been sufficiently validated by scientific peers. Some specialized principles of research ethics may help.

7 Case 2: Dr. Charles, a mid-career faculty member, was revising and updating a book chapter. During the course of her reading, she came upon a chapter in a major text by Dr. Long, a department chair in a leading psychology department, that contained long passages from her previous chapter without attribution. Dr. Charles called Dr. Long and confronted him with her finding. At first, he vehemently denied having used any of Dr. Charles' text inappropriately. Dr. Charles then faxed Dr. Long copies of the offending passages. After some delay, Dr. Long finally responded, acknowledging that the language was indeed remarkably similar; he noted that he had engaged younger members of his research team to write portions of the chapter because he was very busy at the time that the deadline was approaching. Furthermore, to defend himself, he pointed out that much of the original research on which her chapter was based was derived from the work of his team. He admitted only to negligence in not adequately monitoring the activities of his students and subordinates. Dr. Charles replied that the students/other team members were not acknowledged in Dr. Long's chapter either, and that admission of plagiarism required more than an apology. She indicated her intention to report the matter to Dr. Long's dean and the editor of the text [his and hers?]. From Case adapted by Shaké Ketefian from Association of American Medical Colleges (1994)."Teaching the Responsible Conduct of Research Through a Case Study Approach."www.responsibility.research.umich.edu/ Washington, D.C., AAMC. Case B6, pages Dr. Charles, a mid-career faculty member, was revising and updating a book chapter. During the course of her reading, she came upon a chapter in a major text by Dr. Long, a department chair in a leading psychology department, that contained long passages from her previous chapter without attribution. Dr. Charles called Dr. Long and confronted him with her finding. At first, he vehemently denied having used any of Dr. Charles' text inappropriately. Dr. Charles then faxed Dr. Long copies of the offending passages. After some delay, Dr. Long finally responded, acknowledging that the language was indeed remarkably similar; he noted that he had engaged younger members of his research team to write portions of the chapter because he was very busy at the time that the deadline was approaching. Furthermore, to defend himself, he pointed out that much of the original research on which her chapter was based was derived from the work of his team. He admitted only to negligence in not adequately monitoring the activities of his students and subordinates. Dr. Charles replied that the students/other team members were not acknowledged in Dr. Long's chapter either, and that admission of plagiarism required more than an apology. She indicated her intention to report the matter to Dr. Long's dean and the editor of the text [his and hers?]. From Case adapted by Shaké Ketefian from Association of American Medical Colleges (1994)."Teaching the Responsible Conduct of Research Through a Case Study Approach."www.responsibility.research.umich.edu/ Washington, D.C., AAMC. Case B6, pages

8 Some general ethical theories might help:  Utilitarianism: Act so as to maximize total social (stakeholder?) happiness  Kantianism: 1. Act only in ways that are universalizable; 2. Treat people as ends and never merely as means  Virtue Ethics: Practice those virtues (courage, honesty, etc.) that will help you attain the good life.  Utilitarianism: Act so as to maximize total social (stakeholder?) happiness  Kantianism: 1. Act only in ways that are universalizable; 2. Treat people as ends and never merely as means  Virtue Ethics: Practice those virtues (courage, honesty, etc.) that will help you attain the good life.

9 Case 3: Jerry Vaughn contracted with a federal agency to conduct a social impact assessment of proposed topographic changes in an aboriginal habitat in a far north region of North America. The contract contained no stipulations regarding ownership of data. In order to determine the potential impacts on the culture of peoples living in that region, Vaughn engaged in participant observation (keeping a detailed field notebook of same); conducted in-depth personal interviews; and took over 1,000 photographs of people working, socializing, and enjoying other everyday and special activities. This work was carried out over a one year period. Vaughn was paid 75% of his contracted salary and other expenses before the fieldwork. Vaughn then wrote a 150-page report detailing the areas of social life that would be adversely affected if the plans were implemented. He further noted that, if the plans were implemented as proposed, there could be no mitigations that could prevent the people's culture from being totally altered. Because of these severe conclusions, the agency director instructed Vaughn to turn over his entire research record in order that the agency could solicit another opinion on the matter. Furthermore, the director told Vaughn that unless he would turn over the record, no further payment would be made to him. From Handbook on Ethical Issues in Anthropology at Jerry Vaughn contracted with a federal agency to conduct a social impact assessment of proposed topographic changes in an aboriginal habitat in a far north region of North America. The contract contained no stipulations regarding ownership of data. In order to determine the potential impacts on the culture of peoples living in that region, Vaughn engaged in participant observation (keeping a detailed field notebook of same); conducted in-depth personal interviews; and took over 1,000 photographs of people working, socializing, and enjoying other everyday and special activities. This work was carried out over a one year period. Vaughn was paid 75% of his contracted salary and other expenses before the fieldwork. Vaughn then wrote a 150-page report detailing the areas of social life that would be adversely affected if the plans were implemented. He further noted that, if the plans were implemented as proposed, there could be no mitigations that could prevent the people's culture from being totally altered. Because of these severe conclusions, the agency director instructed Vaughn to turn over his entire research record in order that the agency could solicit another opinion on the matter. Furthermore, the director told Vaughn that unless he would turn over the record, no further payment would be made to him. From Handbook on Ethical Issues in Anthropology at

10 Finally, consider some professional ethics codes: IEEE code of ethics American Institute of Chemical Engineers code of ethics American Anthropological Association “Statements on Ethics” IEEE code of ethics American Institute of Chemical Engineers code of ethics American Anthropological Association “Statements on Ethics”

11 Other internet resources: SEPP Research Integrity Page Ethics Updates ORI at the US Dept. of HHS SEPP Research Integrity Page Ethics Updates ORI at the US Dept. of HHS

12 Contact me! 


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