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Showing papers in "Science and Engineering Ethics in 1998"


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Self-reported knowledge of options for facing research ethics problems was significantly increased in association with increased hours of discussion, class time, or case study discussion, and the need for increased attention to the definition and assessment of the goals of research ethics training is emphasized.
Abstract: In recent years, programs for training in research ethics have become widespread, but very little has been done to assess the effectiveness of this training. Because initial studies have failed to demonstrate a positive impact of research ethics training, this project defined two new outcome variables to be tested in a sample of graduate students at the University of California, San Diego. Trainees were surveyed to assess the role of ethics training in altering their perceptions about their own standards, or their knowledge of options available to them if faced with ethical problems that might arise in conducting and reporting research. In response to a mailing of 505 anonymous questionnaires, 283 replies were received. Similar to previous studies, perceptions of standards were not significantly affected by hours spent in informal discussions about research ethics, in attending courses on research ethics, or in discussions of case studies. However, self-reported knowledge of options for facing research ethics problems was significantly increased in association with increased hours of discussion, class time, or case study discussion. Taken together, this study emphasizes the need for increased attention to the definition and assessment of the goals of research ethics training.

71 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The literature on science and engineering tends to dwell on the negative, emphasizing disasters, scandals, and problems of wrongdoing in everyday practice as discussed by the authors, while focusing on the positive and the exemplary.
Abstract: The literature on ethics in science and engineering tends to dwell on the negative, emphasizing disasters, scandals, and problems of wrongdoing in everyday practice. This paper shifts to the positive, focusing on the exemplary. After outlining different possible conceptions of responsibility (ranging from a minimalist view of “staying out of trouble” to “going above and beyond the call of duty”), the paper discusses the importance of certain virtues for scientists and engineers. Finally, a broad range of examples of exemplary practice is offered.

56 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors present a set of step-by-step procedures for responsible whistleblowing that describe how to do so once the decision to report misconduct has been made.
Abstract: Filing charges of scientific misconduct can be a risky and dangerous endeavor. This article presents rules of conduct to follow when considering whether to report perceived misconduct, and a set of step-by-step procedures for responsible whistleblowing that describe how to do so once the decision to report misconduct has been made. This advice is framed within the university setting, and may not apply fully in industrial settings.

55 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The teaching of engineering ethics is on the increase at universities around the United States as discussed by the authors and the motivation for this increase has several driving forces, including: a new Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation criteria; new questions on Professional Engineering (PE) licensing examinations; new industrial marketplace needs; and a growing awareness in the engineering profession of a need for ethical sensitivity to the consequences of our actions as engineers.
Abstract: The teaching of engineering ethics is on the increase at universities around the United States. The motivation for this increase (WHY?) has several driving forces, including: a new Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation criteria; new questions on Professional Engineering (PE) licensing examinations; new industrial marketplace needs; and a growing awareness in the engineering profession of a need for ethical sensitivity to the consequences of our actions as engineers.

41 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Redundant publication in the area of clinical trials is potentially dangerous as it tends to overestimate the effects of interventions and the scientific community at large and governments should take urgent steps to safeguard the public from the possible effects of fraudulent multiple publications.
Abstract: Redundant publication in biomedical sciences is the presentation of the same information or data set more than once. Forms of redundant publication include “salami slicing”, in which similar text accompanies data presented in disaggregated fashion in different publications and “duplicate or multiple publication” in which identical information is presented with a virtually identical text. Estimates of prevalence of the phenomenon put it at 10 to 25% of published literature. Redundant publication can be considered unethical, or fraudulent, when the author(s) attempt to conceal the existence of duplicate publication from editors and readers. Redundant publication in the area of clinical trials is potentially dangerous as it tends to overestimate the effects of interventions. The scientific community at large and governments should take urgent steps to safeguard the public from the possible effects of fraudulent multiple publications.

40 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors focus on systemic elements necessary for cultivating an ethical environment, good practices in responding to complaints, and the role those practices can play in preventing a confrontation with a whistleblower.
Abstract: A thoughtful and well-designed institutional response to a whistleblower starts long before a problem ever arises. Important elements include efforts by the institution’s leaders to cultivate an ethical environment, provide clear and fair personnel policies, support internal systems for resolving complaints and grievances, and be willing to address problems when they are revealed. While many institutions have well-developed procedures for handling formal grievances, systems for handling complaints at their earliest stages usually receive less attention. This article focuses on systemic elements necessary for cultivating an ethical environment, good practices in responding to complaints, and the role those practices can play in preventing a confrontation with a whistleblower.

36 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors argue that much of this legislation is severely flawed because of the difficulty in distinguishing genetic from nongenetic tests, and they suggest that ultimately the problems arising from genetic discrimination cannot be solved by narrowly focused legislation but only by a modification of the entire health care system.
Abstract: Genetic discrimination is becoming an increasingly important problem in the United States. Information acquired from genetic tests has been used by insurance companies to reject applications for insurance policies and to refuse payment for the treatment of illnesses. Numerous states and the United States Congress have passed or are considering passage of laws that would forbid such use of genetic information by health insurance companies. Here we argue that much of this legislation is severely flawed because of the difficulty in distinguishing genetic from nongenetic tests. In addition, barring the use by insurance companies of a genetic test but not a nongenetic test (conceivably for the same multifactorial disease) raises issues of fairness in health insurance. These arguments suggest that ultimately the problems arising from genetic discrimination cannot be solved by narrowly focused legislation but only by a modification of the entire health care system.

25 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors argue that engineering students may have difficulty integrating in their own practice the technology-based and the socially-oriented perspectives on production, and they reinforce the importance of teaching students the meta skill, design.
Abstract: To design effective and socially sensitive systems, engineers must be able to integrate a technology-based approach to engineering problems with concerns for social impact and the context of use. The conventional approach to engineering education is largely technology-based, and even when additional courses with a social orientation are added, engineering graduates are often not well prepared to design user- and context-sensitive systems. Using data from interviews with three engineering students who had significant exposure to a socially-oriented perspective on production systems design, this paper argues that engineering students may have difficulty integrating in their own practice the technology-based and the socially-oriented perspectives on production. To enhance engineering students' ability to create systems that integrate both perspectives, and to relieve the intense cognitive and emotional pain that can be experienced by students exposed to both perspectives but unable to reconcile them, this paper reinforces the importance of teaching students the meta skill, design. A design perspective can help students integrate varied, sometimes conflicting, perspectives, and reach beyond customer-defined constraints to consider workplace and social impact.

22 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors argue that it would be unethical to report only certainties and would in the same way be ethical to hide the uncertainties, and that the available knowledge is communicated in a manner which allows for insight on how strong the evidence is.
Abstract: The precautionary principle is a widely accepted policy norm for decision making under uncertainty in environmental management, However, some of the traditional ways of ensuring trustworthy results used in environmental science and of communicating them work contrary to the general goal of providing the political system and the public with as good an input as possible in the decision making process. For example, it is widely accepted that scientists should only communicate results fulfilling the traditional scientific standard for hypothesis testing. The need for introducing complementary norms in environmental science is illustrated by a recent discussion among scientists on how the precautionary principle should be used in the context of marine biological studies. This discussion highlights the importance of the use of statistical power in communicating scientific results to decision makers and to the general public as well as to the scientific peers. We argue that it would be unethical to report only certainties—because of the need of early warnings—and it would in the same way be unethical to hide the uncertainties. Environmental science can make a better contribution to environmental decision making, if the available knowledge is communicated in a manner which allows for insight on how strong the evidence is.

21 citations


Journal Article
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors present an introduction to ethical reasoning in engineering and the evaluation of acts in the field of science and technology, including the following: 1. Professional practice in engineering 2. Engineering Responsibility: 3. Ethics as design - doing justice to moral problems 4. Central professional responsibilities of engineers 5. Computers, software, and digital information 6. Rights and responsibilities regarding intellectual property 7. Responsible Research Conduct: 8. Ethics in the changing domain of research 9. The Future of Engineering: 10. Responsibility for the environment 11.
Abstract: Part I. Values and the Evaluation of Acts in Engineering: Introduction to Ethical Reasoning and Engineering Ethics: 1. Professional practice in engineering 2. Two examples of professional behavior: Roger Boisjoly and William Lemessurier Part II. Engineering Responsibility: 3. Ethics as design - doing justice to moral problems 4. Central professional responsibilities of engineers 5. Computers, software, and digital information 6. Rights and responsibilities regarding intellectual property 7. Workplace rights and responsibilities Part III. Responsible Research Conduct: 8. Ethics in the changing domain of research 9. Responsible authorship and credit in engineering and scientific research Part IV. The Future of Engineering: 10. Responsibility for the environment 11. End use and 'macro' issues.

21 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors explore the concept of sustainable development and its ethical and public policy implications for engineering and multinational corporations, and the potential roles of engineers and multinational corpora as facilitators of a transition to a sustainable society.
Abstract: This paper explores the concept of sustainable development and its ethical and public policy implications for engineering and multinational corporations. Sustainable development involves achieving objectives in three realms: ecological (sustainable scale), economic (efficient allocation) and social (just distribution). While movement toward a sustainable society is dependent upon satisfying all three objectives, questions of just distribution and other questions of equity are often left off the table or downplayed when engineers and corporate leaders consider sustainable development issues. Indeed, almost all the effort of engineers and engineering organizations on the issue of sustainable development has been focused on striking a balance between economic development and environmental protection. Similarly, corporate approaches rely on technological fixes to the challenges posed by sustainable development. While there have been some efforts aimed at incorporating environmental and social equity concepts into engineering codes of ethics, social concerns have been secondary to environmental issues. The incongruity between the ideal of sustainable development and the way in which it is typically characterized by the engineering and business communities has significant implications for engineering and public policy, engineering ethics, and the potential roles of engineers and multinational corporations as facilitators of a transition to a sustainable society.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors clarify the concept of bribery and reveal its underlying normative features, including its negative connotation and the need for a moral justification for what people resort to.
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to clarify the concept of bribery, and to do this in a way that reveals its underlying normative features. Bribery, like lying is not a value neutral concept. It has a negative connotation and is regarded by most as generally, although not necessarily universally, wrong. At the very least, those who resort to bribery bear a burden of justification for what they do. This is no small point, as no such burden must be borne for the vast majority of human activities, such as engaging in conversation or taking a walk, which normally do not. As Sissela Bok says of lying, we might say that a negative moral weight attaches to every act of bribery; it may be possible to counter this negative weight in some instances, but not without an argument (the provision of good reasons).1 Why should a negative moral weight be attached to every act of bribery? It might be thought that, even if most instances of bribery are morally objectionable, the concept of bribery itself is morally neutral.2 However, enticing people to violate what they take to be their positional duties does seem to call for some sort of moral justification. This seems to be so even in extreme cases, for example, when bribing a Nazi guard to allow concentration camp prisoners to escape. The ready availability of a moral justification in such circumstances does not eliminate the need for one.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The lack of scientific representativeness of the HGP is a serious impediment to its broad applicability, but this can be remedied, and five alternative sampling strategies are presented.
Abstract: The Human Genome Project (HGP) represents a massive merging of science and technology in the name of all humanity. While the disease aspects of HGP-generated data have received the greatest publicity and are the strongest rationale for the project, it should be remembered that the HGP has, as its goal the sequencing of all 100,000 human genes and the accurate depiction of the ancestral and functional relationships among these genes. The HGP will thus be constructing the molecular taxonomic norm for humanity. Currently the HGP genomic baseline is almost exclusively skewed toward North Atlantic European lineages through the extensive use of the Centre d’Etudes du Polymorphisme Humaine (CEPH) data set. More recently, the HGP has shifted to the use of volunteer donors since adequate informed consent had not been secured from the CEPH families. No evidence exists that either the CEPH families or the current volunteers are the most appropriate demographic or evolutionary lineages for the functional genomic studies that will guide production of new DNA based drugs, targeted therapeutics and gene-based diagnostics. The lack of scientific representativeness of the HGP is a serious impediment to its broad applicability. Yet this can be remedied, and five alternative sampling strategies are presented. In response to the current exclusionary design of the HGP, there is noteworthy caution and skepticism in the African American community concerning genetic studies. The Manifesto on Genomic Studies Among African Americans reflects both a desire to be systematically included in federally funded genomic studies and a desire to maintain some control over the interpretation and application of research results. Representative sampling in the HGP is seen as an international human rights issue with domestic ethical implications.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper suggests that “informed consent”, used extensively in medical ethics, is an appropriate way to envision the buyer/developer relationship when software is sold.
Abstract: Should software be sold “as is”, totally guaranteed, or something else? This paper suggests that “informed consent”, used extensively in medical ethics, is an appropriate way to envision the buyer/developer relationship when software is sold. We review why the technical difficulties preclude delivering perfect software, but allow statistical predictions about reliability. Then we borrow principles refined by medical ethics and apply them to computer professionals.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors present information about a few selected cases of whistleblowing in an attempt to augment the experiential aspect of the activity, which is useful to obtain more information about the activity.
Abstract: Whistleblowing is recognized as an important function in promoting scientific integrity, and there is a recognized need to protect whistleblowers. There is not much information available in the literature about scientific whistleblowing. Because it appears that frequently scientific misconduct is uncovered by a whistleblower, it is useful to obtain more information about the activity. This paper is about whistleblowing from the perspective of the person blowing the whistle. Information about a few selected cases of whistleblowing is presented in an attempt to augment the experiential aspect of the activity.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the psychological processes that underlie some of the surprising behavior surrounding whistleblowing are examined, which will enable those who perceive wrongdoing, as well as the professional societies and work organizations which voice their concern, to better respond to apparent wrongdoing, while preserving the reputation and mental health of all parties to such cases.
Abstract: Whistleblowing, its antecedents, and its aftermath are complex and varied phenomena. Motivational factors in the perception of alleged misconduct and in the response to such allegations by the accused and the institution are examined. Understanding the psychological processes that underlie some of the surprising behavior surrounding whistleblowing will enable those who perceive wrongdoing, as well as the professional societies and work organizations which voice their concern, to better respond to apparent wrongdoing, while preserving the reputation and mental health of all parties to such cases.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors illuminate potential ethical problems by considering conflicts of interest at each point from the decision to offer a graduate program through the treatment of its alumni, which prompts reassessment of program content, relations with students, and the objectives of graduate programs.
Abstract: Concern about the employment prospects of Ph.D.’s in the sciences and engineering has prompted overdue interest in the ethical aspects of graduate education. It is not possible to isolate an ethical inquiry that focuses solely on job-related issues. The ethical problems in graduate education are each related to employment, but none is related to employment only. We can illuminate potential ethical problems by considering conflicts of interest at each point from the decision to offer a graduate program through the treatment of its alumni. Such consideration prompts reassessment of program content, relations with students, and the objectives of graduate programs.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors examine the impact of different mission statements or modi operandi of a university vis a vis industry on ethical issues and conclude that the interactions between industry and the university may be seen to be between partners with some degree of equivalence.
Abstract: As a result of a gradual shifting of the resourcing of universities from the public to the private sector, the academic institution has been required to acquire some of its additional funding from industry via partnerships based on research and development. This paper examines this new condition and asks whether the different mission statements or modi operandi of the university vis a vis industry throws up additional ethical issues. While there are conditions where the interactions between industry and the university may be seen to be between partners with some degree of equivalence, many such interactions, lacking this balance, are in danger of generating more concerns. It should also not be forgotten that independent publicly funded research establishments may also play an important role in the production of the innovation and development needed to maintain the strength of an industrial economy.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The author argues that the authors need to educate more people about ethical Web practices, and the author asks for “rules of the road” which amateurs and professionals can understand and follow.
Abstract: The design of Web browsers has resulted in a transfer of power to Web users and developers who often lack an ethical framework in which to act. For example, the technology makes it simple to copy and use other people’s Web page formatting without their permission. The author argues that we need to educate more people about ethical Web practices, and the author asks for “rules of the road” which amateurs and professionals can understand and follow. This article discusses four areas of concern about Web development: the browser wars, information storage and retrieval, access for the handicapped, and cookies. For teachers, there are suggestions on how to use browsers to help students learn about Web ethics.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, an examination of the ethical policies of scientific societies which are members of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) shows a breadth of purpose and scope in these policies.
Abstract: Formalizing shared ethical standards is an activity of scientific societies designed to achieve a collective goal of promoting ethical conduct. A scientist who is faced with the choice of becoming a “whistleblower” by exposing misconduct does so in the context of these ethical standards. Examination of ethics policies of scientific societies which are members of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) shows a breadth of purpose and scope in these policies. Among the CSSP member societies, some ethics policies chiefly present the ethical culture of the community in an educational context and do not have enforcement procedures. Other policies are more comprehensive and include standards for certification, procedures for addressing ethical issues, and established sanctions. Of the 36 member societies of CSSP that have developed a code or adopted a code of another professional society, 18 specifically identified a responsibility to expose ethical misconduct, demonstrating an acknowledgment of the possible critical role of the whistleblower in addressing ethical issues. Scientific societies may revise their ethics codes based upon experience gained in addressing cases of ethical misconduct.



Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors explore the implications of what they call the "welfare requirement" in engineering codes for professional engineering conduct in LDN's, where conditions are often substantially different from those in developed countries, where the codes were formulated.
Abstract: Increasing numbers of engineers from developed countries are employed during some part of their careers in lesser-developed nations (LDN’s), or they may design products for use in LDN’s. Yet determining the implications of professional engineering codes for engineers’ conduct in such settings can be difficult. Conditions are often substantially different from those in developed countries, where the codes were formulated. In this paper I explore the implications of what I call the “welfare requirement” in engineering codes for professional engineering conduct in LDN’s.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A summary of the career of a Russian engineer who practiced a century ago in western Europe, as well as in Russia, provides an example of how ethical standards can influence practice across national boundaries as discussed by the authors.
Abstract: A summary of the career of a Russian engineer who practiced a century ago in western Europe, as well as in Russia, provides an example of how ethical standards can influence practice across national boundaries. An examination of his career and his conception of engineering, of the evolution of engineering standards and codes, and of the process of formulating codes in particular instances explains how international standards can shape practice in an international context.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors examine the rationale behind the development of ethical codes by professional societies and examine the enforcement of these codes and their application in the context of professional standards and ethical values.
Abstract: In discussions of professional standards and ethical values it is reasonable to consider who will develop the codes of conduct and guidelines for behavior that will reflect the standards and values of the community. Also worthy of consideration is whether the standards or guidelines are enforceable, and how and to what extent they will be enforced. The development of guidelines or professional codes of conduct is a responsibility that has been adopted by many professional societies. Useful to this discussion is an examination of the rationale behind the development of ethical codes by professional societies. The Ethics in Science Committee of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) has examined the codes of some of its member societies and some observations regarding them are pertinent. The nature and uses of ethical statements, codes and guidelines developed by professional societies are multiple and diverse. Their enforcement raises both practical and ethical concerns.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Assessment of four traits commonly identified in the literature as defining what it means to be human: cognition, biological or physiological composition, social interaction with other “human” beings, and spirituality are assessed.
Abstract: Over the past several decades, geneticists have succeeded in identifying the genetic mutations associated with disease. New strategies for treatment, including gene transfer and gene therapy, are under development. Although genetic science has been welcomed for its potential to predict and treat disease, interventions may become ethically objectionable if they threaten to alter characteristics that are distinctively human.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors conducted a survey of a subset of the physics community in order to gain insight into attitudes towards integrating ethics into the physics curriculum and found significant support among some groups for such an integration yet also revealed significant barriers to this process.
Abstract: A survey was conducted of a subset of the physics community in order to gain insight into attitudes towards integrating ethics into the physics curriculum. The results indicated significant support among some groups for such an integration yet also revealed significant barriers to this process. Respondents were also asked to suggest topics which should be covered under the heading of ethical issues in physics. The great variety of results indicates both that there are many issues worth investigating and that many in the physics community have given a great deal of thought to these issues.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors examine the potential problems of the relationship between corporate sponsors of research and the universities (and faculty) that receive that funding and suggest that a better way of funding research would be to set up a dedicated publicly sponsored research establishment with the stated goal of achieving particular technical or engineering objectives.
Abstract: In his paper entitled “Ethics and the Funding of Research and Development at Universities”1 Spier examines some of the potential problems of the relationship between 1) corporate sponsors of research and 2) the universities (and faculty) that receive that funding. Citing “He who pays the piper, calls the tune,” Spier suggests that a better way of funding research would be to “set up a dedicated publicly sponsored research establishment” with the stated goal of achieving particular technical or engineering objectives. (Spier cited the successful Animal Virus Research of the UK as an example). Spier states that researchers at these establishments are “not subjected to the triple requirement to teach, research and administer as are university members, so they do not have to face the same ethical challenges of the academics.” This paper will examine the stated dangers of public/corporate research partnerships and whether the proposed alternative shares equally troubling ethical issues.


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The history of the fetal alcohol syndrome provides a microcosm in which to explore the larger ramifications of historical citations in biomedical publications and ancient citations and modern references to original discoveries pose difficult questions for the scientist.
Abstract: The history of the fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) provides a microcosm in which to explore the larger ramifications of historical citations in biomedical publications. Though some historical references such as Biblical writings may hint at a rudimentary understanding of the relationship between maternal drinking and fetal development, no definitive case can be made for an understanding of FAS dating back hundreds of years. Authors who claim an impressive history for FAS misrepresent that history. The modern history of FAS raises a question concerning citations of original discoveries. The first paper describing ethanol-induced damage to the fetus appeared in 1968 yet most researchers cite one of two papers from 1973. Both ancient citations and modern references to original discoveries pose difficult questions for the scientist. Both dilemmas may be solved by a better reading of the literature and a more judicious wording when writing about history.