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Showing papers in "Science and Engineering Ethics in 2016"


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article systematically and comprehensively analyses academic literature concerning the ethical implications of Big Data, providing a watershed for future ethical investigations and regulations and identifies eleven themes that provide a thorough critical framework to guide ethical assessment and governance of emerging Big Data practices.
Abstract: The capacity to collect and analyse data is growing exponentially. Referred to as ‘Big Data’, this scientific, social and technological trend has helped create destabilising amounts of information, which can challenge accepted social and ethical norms. Big Data remains a fuzzy idea, emerging across social, scientific, and business contexts sometimes seemingly related only by the gigantic size of the datasets being considered. As is often the case with the cutting edge of scientific and technological progress, understanding of the ethical implications of Big Data lags behind. In order to bridge such a gap, this article systematically and comprehensively analyses academic literature concerning the ethical implications of Big Data, providing a watershed for future ethical investigations and regulations. Particular attention is paid to biomedical Big Data due to the inherent sensitivity of medical information. By means of a meta-analysis of the literature, a thematic narrative is provided to guide ethicists, data scientists, regulators and other stakeholders through what is already known or hypothesised about the ethical risks of this emerging and innovative phenomenon. Five key areas of concern are identified: (1) informed consent, (2) privacy (including anonymisation and data protection), (3) ownership, (4) epistemology and objectivity, and (5) ‘Big Data Divides’ created between those who have or lack the necessary resources to analyse increasingly large datasets. Critical gaps in the treatment of these themes are identified with suggestions for future research. Six additional areas of concern are then suggested which, although related have not yet attracted extensive debate in the existing literature. It is argued that they will require much closer scrutiny in the immediate future: (6) the dangers of ignoring group-level ethical harms; (7) the importance of epistemology in assessing the ethics of Big Data; (8) the changing nature of fiduciary relationships that become increasingly data saturated; (9) the need to distinguish between ‘academic’ and ‘commercial’ Big Data practices in terms of potential harm to data subjects; (10) future problems with ownership of intellectual property generated from analysis of aggregated datasets; and (11) the difficulty of providing meaningful access rights to individual data subjects that lack necessary resources. Considered together, these eleven themes provide a thorough critical framework to guide ethical assessment and governance of emerging Big Data practices.

449 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is wise to avoid replacing therapists by robots and to develop and use robots that have what the authors call supervised autonomy, which is likely to create more trust among stakeholders and improve the quality of the therapy.
Abstract: The use of robots in therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) raises issues concerning the ethical and social acceptability of this technology and, more generally, about human-robot interaction. However, usually philosophical papers on the ethics of human-robot-interaction do not take into account stakeholders' views; yet it is important to involve stakeholders in order to render the research responsive to concerns within the autism and autism therapy community. To support responsible research and innovation in this field, this paper identifies a range of ethical, social and therapeutic concerns, and presents and discusses the results of an exploratory survey that investigated these issues and explored stakeholders' expectations about this kind of therapy. We conclude that although in general stakeholders approve of using robots in therapy for children with ASD, it is wise to avoid replacing therapists by robots and to develop and use robots that have what we call supervised autonomy. This is likely to create more trust among stakeholders and improve the quality of the therapy. Moreover, our research suggests that issues concerning the appearance of the robot need to be adequately dealt with by the researchers and therapists. For instance, our survey suggests that zoomorphic robots may be less problematic than robots that look too much like humans.

154 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors focus on ethical issues associated with the likely convergence of virtual reality (VR) and social networks (SNs), hereafter VRSNs, and examine a scenario in which a significant segment of the world's population has a presence in a VRSN.
Abstract: The rapid evolution of information, communication and entertainment technologies will transform the lives of citizens and ultimately transform society. This paper focuses on ethical issues associated with the likely convergence of virtual realities (VR) and social networks (SNs), hereafter VRSNs. We examine a scenario in which a significant segment of the world’s population has a presence in a VRSN. Given the pace of technological development and the popularity of these new forms of social interaction, this scenario is plausible. However, it brings with it ethical problems. Two central ethical issues are addressed: those of privacy and those of autonomy. VRSNs pose threats to both privacy and autonomy. The threats to privacy can be broadly categorized as threats to informational privacy, threats to physical privacy, and threats to associational privacy. Each of these threats is further subdivided. The threats to autonomy can be broadly categorized as threats to freedom, to knowledge and to authenticity. Again, these three threats are divided into subcategories. Having categorized the main threats posed by VRSNs, a number of recommendations are provided so that policy-makers, developers, and users can make the best possible use of VRSNs.

96 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Some of the steps editors should take to promote quality, fairness and integrity in different stages of the peer review process are considered and some recommendations for editorial conduct and decision-making are made.
Abstract: A growing body of literature has identified potential problems that can compromise the quality, fairness, and integrity of journal peer review, including inadequate review, inconsistent reviewer reports, reviewer biases, and ethical transgressions by reviewers. We examine the evidence concerning these problems and discuss proposed reforms, including double-blind and open review. Regardless of the outcome of additional research or attempts at reforming the system, it is clear that editors are the linchpin of peer review, since they make decisions that have a significant impact on the process and its outcome. We consider some of the steps editors should take to promote quality, fairness and integrity in different stages of the peer review process and make some recommendations for editorial conduct and decision-making.

96 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: An ethical framework for the acceptability of such experiments is developed based on the bioethical principles for experiments with human subjects: non-maleficence, beneficence, respect for autonomy, and justice, which provides a handle for the moral and regulatory assessment of new technologies and their impact on society.
Abstract: How are we to appraise new technological developments that may bring revolutionary social changes? Currently this is often done by trying to predict or anticipate social consequences and to use these as a basis for moral and regulatory appraisal. Such an approach can, however, not deal with the uncertainties and unknowns that are inherent in social changes induced by technological development. An alternative approach is proposed that conceives of the introduction of new technologies into society as a social experiment. An ethical framework for the acceptability of such experiments is developed based on the bioethical principles for experiments with human subjects: non-maleficence, beneficence, respect for autonomy, and justice. This provides a handle for the moral and regulatory assessment of new technologies and their impact on society.

92 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper aims to present the diversity in the definition of nanomedicine and its impact on the translation of basic science research in nanotechnology into clinical applications, and presents the insights obtained from exploratory qualitative interviews with 46 stakeholders involved in translational nanomedICine from Europe and North America.
Abstract: Nanotechnology, which involves manipulation of matter on a 'nano' scale, is considered to be a key enabling technology. Medical applications of nanotechnology (commonly known as nanomedicine) are expected to significantly improve disease diagnostic and therapeutic modalities and subsequently reduce health care costs. However, there is no consensus on the definition of nanotechnology or nanomedicine, and this stems from the underlying debate on defining 'nano'. This paper aims to present the diversity in the definition of nanomedicine and its impact on the translation of basic science research in nanotechnology into clinical applications. We present the insights obtained from exploratory qualitative interviews with 46 stakeholders involved in translational nanomedicine from Europe and North America. The definition of nanomedicine has implications for many aspects of translational research including: fund allocation, patents, drug regulatory review processes and approvals, ethical review processes, clinical trials and public acceptance. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the field and common interest in developing effective clinical applications, it is important to have honest and transparent communication about nanomedicine, its benefits and potential harm. A clear and consistent definition of nanomedicine would significantly facilitate trust among various stakeholders including the general public while minimizing the risk of miscommunication and undue fear of nanotechnology and nanomedicine.

83 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Ghost and guest authorship are examined in this paper to assess the extent of discrepancies among the same set of STM publishers and what possible influence they might have on publishing ethics.
Abstract: Multiple authorship is the universal solution to multi-tasking in the sciences. Without a team, each with their own set of expertise, and each involved mostly in complementary ways, a research project will likely not advance quickly, or effectively. Consequently, there is a risk that research goals will not be met within a desired timeframe. Research teams that strictly scrutinize their modus operandi select and include a set of authors that have participated substantially in the physical undertaking of the research, in its planning, or who have contributed intellectually to the ideas or the development of the manuscript. Authorship is not an issue that is taken lightly, and save for dishonest authors, it is an issue that is decided collectively by the authors, usually in sync with codes of conduct established by their research institutes or national ministries of education. Science, technology and medicine (STM) publishers have, through independent, or sometimes coordinated efforts, also established their own sets of guidelines regarding what constitutes valid authorship. However, these are, for the greater part, merely guidelines. A previous and recent analysis of authorship definitions indicates that the definitions in place regarding authorship and its validity by many leading STM publishers is neither uniform, nor standard, despite several of them claiming to follow the guidelines as set forward by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors or ICMJE. This disparity extends itself to ghost and guest authorship, two key authorship-related issues that are examined in this paper to assess the extent of discrepancies among the same set of STM publishers and what possible influence they might have on publishing ethics.

80 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The extent to which publish or perish, a long standing evaluation criterion, led to scientific misconduct is examined briefly and the strive for high impact publications will be examined.
Abstract: Criteria for the evaluation of most scholars’ work have recently received wider attention due to high-profile cases of scientific misconduct which are perceived to be linked to these criteria. However, in the competition for career advancement and funding opportunities almost all scholars are subjected to the same criteria. Therefore these evaluation criteria act as ‘switchmen’, determining the tracks along which scholarly work is pushed by the dynamic interplay of interests of both scholars and their institutions. Currently one of the most important criteria is the impact of publications. In this research, the extent to which publish or perish, a long standing evaluation criterion, led to scientific misconduct is examined briefly. After this the strive for high impact publications will be examined, firstly by identifying the period in which this became an important evaluation criterion, secondly by looking at variables contributing to the impact of scholarly papers by means of a non-structured literature study, and lastly by combining these data into a quantitative analysis.

76 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is argued that the public debate can form a rich source from which to retrieve the values at stake and that contestation in the Dutch shale gas debate does not arise from inter-value conflict but rather from intra-value conflicts.
Abstract: The introduction of new energy technologies may lead to public resistance and contestation. It is often argued that this phenomenon is caused by an inadequate inclusion of relevant public values in the design of technology. In this paper we examine the applicability of the value sensitive design (VSD) approach. While VSD was primarily introduced for incorporating values in technological design, our focus in this paper is expanded towards the design of the institutions surrounding these technologies, as well as the design of stakeholder participation. One important methodological challenge of VSD is to identify the relevant values related to new technological developments. In this paper, we argue that the public debate can form a rich source from which to retrieve the values at stake. To demonstrate this, we have examined the arguments used in the public debate regarding the exploration and exploitation of shale gas in the Netherlands. We identified two important sets of the underlying values, namely substantive and procedural values. This paper concludes with two key findings. Firstly, contrary to what is often suggested in the literature, both proponents and opponents seem to endorse the same values. Secondly, contestation seems to arise in the precise operationalization of these values among the different stakeholders. In other words, contestation in the Dutch shale gas debate does not arise from inter-value conflict but rather from intra-value conflicts. This multi-interpretability should be incorporated in VSD processes.

72 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: An ethical framework is contributed by endorsing a LoA enabling the definition of the responsibilities of OSPs with respect to the well-being of the infosphere and of the entities inhabiting it (LoAFor).
Abstract: Online service providers (OSPs)-such as AOL, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter-significantly shape the informational environment (infosphere) and influence users' experiences and interactions within it. There is a general agreement on the centrality of OSPs in information societies, but little consensus about what principles should shape their moral responsibilities and practices. In this article, we analyse the main contributions to the debate on the moral responsibilities of OSPs. By endorsing the method of the levels of abstract (LoAs), we first analyse the moral responsibilities of OSPs in the web (LoAIN). These concern the management of online information, which includes information filtering, Internet censorship, the circulation of harmful content, and the implementation and fostering of human rights (including privacy). We then consider the moral responsibilities ascribed to OSPs on the web (LoAON) and focus on the existing legal regulation of access to users' data. The overall analysis provides an overview of the current state of the debate and highlights two main results. First, topics related to OSPs' public role-especially their gatekeeping function, their corporate social responsibilities, and their role in implementing and fostering human rights-have acquired increasing relevance in the specialised literature. Second, there is a lack of an ethical framework that can (a) define OSPs' responsibilities, and (b) provide the fundamental sharable principles necessary to guide OSPs' conduct within the multicultural and international context in which they operate. This article contributes to the ethical framework necessary to deal with (a) and (b) by endorsing a LoA enabling the definition of the responsibilities of OSPs with respect to the well-being of the infosphere and of the entities inhabiting it (LoAFor).

70 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The data show that even 5 years after their retraction, nearly half of Reuben’s articles are still being quoted and the retraction status is correctly mentioned in only one quarter of the citations.
Abstract: In 2009, Scott S. Reuben was convicted of fabricating data, which lead to 25 of his publications being retracted. Although it is clear that the perpetuation of retracted articles negatively effects the appraisal of evidence, the extent to which retracted literature is cited had not previously been investigated. In this study, to better understand the perpetuation of discredited research, we examine the number of citations of Reuben’s articles within 5 years of their retraction. Citations of Reuben’s retracted articles were assessed using the Web of Science Core Collection (Thomson Reuters, NY). All citing articles were screened to discriminate between articles in which Reuben’s work was quoted as retracted, and articles in which his data was wrongly cited without any note of the retraction status. Twenty of Reuben’s publications had been cited 274 times between 2009 and 1024. In 2014, 45 % of the retracted articles had been cited at least once. In only 25.8 % of citing articles was it clearly stated that Reuben’s work had been retracted. Annual citations decreased from 108 in 2009 to 18 in 2014; however, the percentage of publications correctly indicating the retraction status also declined. The percentage of citations in top-25 %-journals, as well as the percentage of citations in journals from Reuben’s research area, declined sharply after 2009. Our data show that even 5 years after their retraction, nearly half of Reuben’s articles are still being quoted and the retraction status is correctly mentioned in only one quarter of the citations.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper focuses on compost use in overpasses and underpasses for wild animals over roads and other similar linear structures, where good quality of compost may result in faster and more resistant vegetation cover during the year.
Abstract: This paper focuses on compost use in overpasses and underpasses for wild animals over roads and other similar linear structures. In this context, good quality of compost may result in faster and more resistant vegetation cover during the year. Inter alia, this can be interpreted also as reduction of damage and saving lives. There are millions of tones of plant residue produced every day worldwide. These represent prospective business for manufacturers of compost additives called "accelerators". The opinions of the sale representatives' with regards to other alternatives of biowaste utilization and their own products were reviewed. The robust analyzes of several "accelerated" composts revealed that the quality was generally low. Only two accelerated composts were somewhat similar in quality to the blank sample that was produced according to the traditional procedure. Overlaps between the interests of decision makers on future soil fertility were weighed against the preferences on short-term profit. Possible causes that allowed the boom of these underperforming products and the possible consequences are also discussed. Conclusions regarding the ethical concerns on how to run businesses with products whose profitability depends on weaknesses in the legal system and customer unawareness are to follow.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is suggested that the Rs are hierarchical, such that Replacement, which can totally eliminate harm, should be considered prior to Reduction, which decreases the number of animals harmed, with Refinement being considered last.
Abstract: The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) is entrusted with assessing the ethics of proposed projects prior to approval of animal research. The role of the IACUC is detailed in legislation and binding rules, which are in turn inspired by the Three Rs: the principles of Replacement, Reduction, and Refinement. However, these principles are poorly defined. Although this provides the IACUC leeway in assessing a proposed project, it also affords little guidance. Our goal is to provide procedural and philosophical clarity to the IACUC without mandating a particular outcome. To do this, we analyze the underlying logic of the Three Rs and conclude that the Three Rs accord animals moral standing, though not necessarily “rights” in the philosophical sense. We suggest that the Rs are hierarchical, such that Replacement, which can totally eliminate harm, should be considered prior to Reduction, which decreases the number of animals harmed, with Refinement being considered last. We also identify the need for a hitherto implicit fourth R: Reject, which allows the IACUC to refuse permission for a project which does not promise sufficient benefit to offset the pain and distress likely to be caused by the proposed research.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A case is made for the importance of addressing questions of social justice in this transformation of traffic control technology, and a preliminary framework for doing so is sketched, with a central focus on efficiency and equal access as desiderata for traffic control design.
Abstract: The convergence of computing, sensing, and communication technology will soon permit large-scale deployment of self-driving vehicles. This will in turn permit a radical transformation of traffic control technology. This paper makes a case for the importance of addressing questions of social justice in this transformation, and sketches a preliminary framework for doing so. We explain how new forms of traffic control technology have potential implications for several dimensions of social justice, including safety, sustainability, privacy, efficiency, and equal access. Our central focus is on efficiency and equal access as desiderata for traffic control design. We explain the limitations of conventional traffic control in meeting these desiderata, and sketch a preliminary vision for a next-generation traffic control tailored to address better the demands of social justice. One component of this vision is cooperative, hierarchically distributed self-organization among vehicles. Another component of this vision is a priority system enabling selection of priority levels by the user for each vehicle trip in the network, based on the supporting structure of non-monetary credits.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Rejecting the notion of blanket support for or opposition to civil drones, it is found that citizens make nuanced decisions about the acceptability of civil drones depending upon the purpose of the flight and the actors involved.
Abstract: Some industry and policy actors are concerned about public opposition to civil drones, in particular because of their association with military drones. However, very little is understood about public reactions to the technology. Strategies to 'manage public acceptance' have so far relied upon several untested assumptions. We conducted public engagement activities to explore citizens' visions of civil drones. Several insights counteracted the prevailing assumptions. Rejecting the notion of blanket support for or opposition to civil drones, we found that citizens make nuanced decisions about the acceptability of civil drones depending upon the purpose of the flight and the actors involved. The results are positioned in support for calls to strengthen the role of citizens in civil drone development and, in particular, to shift away from the current focus on citizens' acceptance of civil drone development towards the development of civil drones that are acceptable to citizens.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A variety of factors related to perceived unwarranted exclusion from co- author credit and unwarranted inclusion are examined, providing an empirically-informed conceptual model to explain co-author crediting outcomes.
Abstract: Scholars and policy-makers have expressed concerns about the crediting of coauthors in research publications. Most such problems fall into one of two categories, excluding deserving contributors or including undeserving ones. But our research shows that there is no consensus on "deserving" or on what type of contribution suffices for co-authorship award. Our study uses qualitative data, including interviews with 60 US academic science or engineering researchers in 14 disciplines in a set of geographically distributed research-intensive universities. We also employ data from 161 website posts provided by 93 study participants, again US academic scientists. We examine a variety of factors related to perceived unwarranted exclusion from co-author credit and unwarranted inclusion, providing an empirically-informed conceptual model to explain co-author crediting outcomes. Determinants of outcomes include characteristics of disciplines and fields, institutional work culture, power dynamics and team-specific norms and decision processes.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This view is used to explain how the type of research described as proof of concept also provides an attendant proof of principle that is the result of decision-making that extends across practitioners, their tools, techniques and the problem solving activities of other research groups.
Abstract: "Proof of concept" is a phrase frequently used in descriptions of research sought in program announcements, in experimental studies, and in the marketing of new technologies. It is often coupled with either a short definition or none at all, its meaning assumed to be fully understood. This is problematic. As a phrase with potential implications for research and technology, its assumed meaning requires some analysis to avoid it becoming a descriptive category that refers to all things scientifically exciting. I provide a short analysis of proof of concept research and offer an example of it within synthetic biology. I suggest that not only are there activities that circumscribe new epistemological categories but there are also associated normative ethical categories or principles linked to the research. I examine these and provide an outline for an alternative ethical account to describe these activities that I refer to as "extended agency ethics". This view is used to explain how the type of research described as proof of concept also provides an attendant proof of principle that is the result of decision-making that extends across practitioners, their tools, techniques, and the problem solving activities of other research groups.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is argued that a principlist-based approach to ethical reasoning is uniquely suited to engineering ethics education and integrates well with the prevalent and familiar methodologies of reasoning within the engineering disciplines as well as with the goals of engineering Ethics education.
Abstract: An important goal of teaching ethics to engineering students is to enhance their ability to make well-reasoned ethical decisions in their engineering practice: a goal in line with the stated ethical codes of professional engineering organizations. While engineering educators have explored a wide range of methodologies for teaching ethics, a satisfying model for developing ethical reasoning skills has not been adopted broadly. In this paper we argue that a principlist-based approach to ethical reasoning is uniquely suited to engineering ethics education. Reflexive Principlism is an approach to ethical decision-making that focuses on internalizing a reflective and iterative process of specification, balancing, and justification of four core ethical principles in the context of specific cases. In engineering, that approach provides structure to ethical reasoning while allowing the flexibility for adaptation to varying contexts through specification. Reflexive Principlism integrates well with the prevalent and familiar methodologies of reasoning within the engineering disciplines as well as with the goals of engineering ethics education.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Although the large percentage of engineering students who decreased their social responsibility during college was disappointing, it is encouraging that courses and participation in volunteer activities may combat this trend.
Abstract: This research explored how engineering student views of their responsibility toward helping individuals and society through their profession, so-called social responsibility, change over time. A survey instrument was administered to students initially primarily in their first year, senior year, or graduate studies majoring in mechanical, civil, or environmental engineering at five institutions in September 2012, April 2013, and March 2014. The majority of the students (57 %) did not change significantly in their social responsibility attitudes, but 23 % decreased and 20 % increased. The students who increased, decreased, or remained the same in their social responsibility attitudes over time did not differ significantly in terms of gender, academic rank, or major. Some differences were found between institutions. Students who decreased in social responsibility initially possessed more positive social responsibility attitudes, were less likely to indicate that college courses impacted their views of social responsibility, and were more likely to have decreased in the frequency that they participated in volunteer activities, compared to students who did not change or increased their social responsibility. Although the large percentage of engineering students who decreased their social responsibility during college was disappointing, it is encouraging that courses and participation in volunteer activities may combat this trend.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The ethical and decision-making framework ultimately developed is based on the idea that there are numerous ethically relevant dimensions upon which any given case of GOFR can fare better or worse and is designed to indicate where any given study would fall on an ethical spectrum.
Abstract: Gain-of-function (GOF) research involves experimentation that aims or is expected to (and/or, perhaps, actually does) increase the transmissibility and/or virulence of pathogens. Such research, when conducted by responsible scientists, usually aims to improve understanding of disease causing agents, their interaction with human hosts, and/or their potential to cause pandemics. The ultimate objective of such research is to better inform public health and preparedness efforts and/or development of medical countermeasures. Despite these important potential benefits, GOF research (GOFR) can pose risks regarding biosecurity and biosafety. In 2014 the administration of US President Barack Obama called for a "pause" on funding (and relevant research with existing US Government funding) of GOF experiments involving influenza, SARS, and MERS viruses in particular. With announcement of this pause, the US Government launched a "deliberative process" regarding risks and benefits of GOFR to inform future funding decisions-and the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB) was tasked with making recommendations to the US Government on this matter. As part of this deliberative process the National Institutes of Health commissioned this Ethical Analysis White Paper, requesting that it provide (1) review and summary of ethical literature on GOFR, (2) identification and analysis of existing ethical and decision-making frameworks relevant to (i) the evaluation of risks and benefits of GOFR, (ii) decision-making about the conduct of GOF studies, and (iii) the development of US policy regarding GOFR (especially with respect to funding of GOFR), and (3) development of an ethical and decision-making framework that may be considered by NSABB when analyzing information provided by GOFR risk-benefit assessment, and when crafting its final recommendations (especially regarding policy decisions about funding of GOFR in particular). The ethical and decision-making framework ultimately developed is based on the idea that there are numerous ethically relevant dimensions upon which any given case of GOFR can fare better or worse (as opposed to there being necessary conditions that are either satisfied or not satisfied, where all must be satisfied in order for a given case of GOFR to be considered ethically acceptable): research imperative, proportionality, minimization of risks, manageability of risks, justice, good governance (i.e., democracy), evidence, and international outlook and engagement. Rather than drawing a sharp bright line between GOFR studies that are ethically acceptable and those that are ethically unacceptable, this framework is designed to indicate where any given study would fall on an ethical spectrum-where imaginable cases of GOFR might range from those that are most ethically acceptable (perhaps even ethically praiseworthy or ethically obligatory), at one end of the spectrum, to those that are most ethically problematic or unacceptable (and thus should not be funded, or conducted), at the other. The aim should be that any GOFR pursued (and/or funded) should be as far as possible towards the former end of the spectrum.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper uses Rawlsian principles of justice to illustrate how robots might nurture “socially just” tendencies in their human counterparts.
Abstract: Robots are becoming an increasingly pervasive feature of our personal lives. As a result, there is growing importance placed on examining what constitutes appropriate behavior when they interact with human beings. In this paper, we discuss whether companion robots should be permitted to “nudge” their human users in the direction of being “more ethical”. More specifically, we use Rawlsian principles of justice to illustrate how robots might nurture “socially just” tendencies in their human counterparts. Designing technological artifacts in such a way to influence human behavior is already well-established but merely because the practice is commonplace does not necessarily resolve the ethical issues associated with its implementation.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is argued that, in renegotiating such systems of geoengineering, the authors can approach a new mode of governance—collective experimentation, which has important ramifications not just for how to imagine future geoengineering technologies, but also for how they govern geoengineering experiments currently under discussion.
Abstract: Geoengineering is defined as the ‘deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climatic system with the aim of reducing global warming’. The technological proposals for doing this are highly speculative. Research is at an early stage, but there is a strong consensus that technologies would, if realisable, have profound and surprising ramifications. Geoengineering would seem to be an archetype of technology as social experiment, blurring lines that separate research from deployment and scientific knowledge from technological artefacts. Looking into the experimental systems of geoengineering, we can see the negotiation of what is known and unknown. The paper argues that, in renegotiating such systems, we can approach a new mode of governance—collective experimentation. This has important ramifications not just for how we imagine future geoengineering technologies, but also for how we govern geoengineering experiments currently under discussion.

Journal ArticleDOI
Yue Liang Zheng1
TL;DR: Human induced pluripotent stem cells can be obtained from somatic cells, and their derivation does not require destruction of embryos, thus avoiding ethical problems arising from the destruction of human embryos.
Abstract: Human induced pluripotent stem cells can be obtained from somatic cells, and their derivation does not require destruction of embryos, thus avoiding ethical problems arising from the destruction of human embryos. This type of stem cell may provide an important tool for stem cell therapy, but it also results in some ethical concerns. It is likely that abnormal reprogramming occurs in the induction of human induced pluripotent stem cells, and that the stem cells generate tumors in the process of stem cell therapy. Human induced pluripotent stem cells should not be used to clone human beings, to produce human germ cells, nor to make human embryos. Informed consent should be obtained from patients in stem cell therapy.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: 6 core risk domains relevant to implantable BCI research are identified—short and long term safety, cognitive and communicative impairment, inappropriate expectations, involuntariness, affective impairment, and privacy and security.
Abstract: Implantable brain-computer interface (BCI) technology is an expanding area of engineering research now moving into clinical application. Ensuring meaningful informed consent in implantable BCI research is an ethical imperative. The emerging and rapidly evolving nature of implantable BCI research makes identification of risks, a critical component of informed consent, a challenge. In this paper, 6 core risk domains relevant to implantable BCI research are identified-short and long term safety, cognitive and communicative impairment, inappropriate expectations, involuntariness, affective impairment, and privacy and security. Work in deep brain stimulation provides a useful starting point for understanding this core set of risks in implantable BCI. Three further risk domains-risks pertaining to identity, agency, and stigma-are identified. These risks are not typically part of formalized consent processes. It is important as informed consent practices are further developed for implantable BCI research that attention be paid not just to disclosing core research risks but exploring the meaning of BCI research with potential participants.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is argued that one form of paternalism, based on pro-ethical design, can be compatible with toleration and hence with the respect for B’s choices, by operating only at the informational and not at the structural level of a choice architecture.
Abstract: Toleration is one of the fundamental principles that inform the design of a democratic and liberal society. Unfortunately, its adoption seems inconsistent with the adoption of paternalistically benevolent policies, which represent a valuable mechanism to improve individuals’ well-being. In this paper, I refer to this tension as the dilemma of toleration. The dilemma is not new. It arises when an agent A would like to be tolerant and respectful towards another agent B’s choices but, at the same time, A is altruistically concerned that a particular course of action would harm, or at least not improve, B’s well-being, so A would also like to be helpful and seeks to ensure that B does not pursue such course of action, for B’s sake and even against B’s consent. In the article, I clarify the specific nature of the dilemma and show that several forms of paternalism, including those based on ethics by design and structural nudging, may not be suitable to resolve it. I then argue that one form of paternalism, based on pro-ethical design, can be compatible with toleration and hence with the respect for B’s choices, by operating only at the informational and not at the structural level of a choice architecture. This provides a successful resolution of the dilemma, showing that tolerant paternalism is not an oxymoron but a viable approach to the design of a democratic and liberal society.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This paper starts filling a gap in the literature by showing how the philosophical analysis of the nature of healthcare activities can contribute to (care) robot ethics, and relies on the nature-of-activities approach recently proposed in the debate on human enhancement and applies it to the ethics of care robots.
Abstract: When should we use care robots? In this paper we endorse the shift from a simple normative approach to care robots ethics to a complex one: we think that one main task of a care robot ethics is that of analysing the different ways in which different care robots may affect the different values at stake in different care practices. We start filling a gap in the literature by showing how the philosophical analysis of the nature of healthcare activities can contribute to (care) robot ethics. We rely on the nature-of-activities approach recently proposed in the debate on human enhancement, and we apply it to the ethics of care robots. The nature-of-activities approach will help us to understand why certain practice-oriented activities in healthcare should arguably be left to humans, but certain (predominantly) goal-directed activities in healthcare can be fulfilled (sometimes even more ethically) with the assistance of a robot. In relation to the latter, we aim to show that even though all healthcare activities can be considered as practice-oriented, when we understand the activity in terms of different legitimate ‘fine-grained’ descriptions, the same activities or at least certain components of them can be seen as clearly goal-directed. Insofar as it allows us to ethically assess specific functionalities of specific robots to be deployed in well-defined circumstances, we hold the nature-of-activities approach to be particularly helpful also from a design perspective, i.e. to realize the Value Sensitive Design approach.

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TL;DR: The reasons alleged in retraction notices may be used as signposts to inform discussions in Latin America on plagiarism and research integrity and suggest that the correction of the literature is becoming global and is not limited to mainstream international publications.
Abstract: This study focuses on retraction notices from two major Latin American/Caribbean indexing databases: SciELO and LILACS. SciELO includes open scientific journals published mostly in Latin America/the Caribbean, from which 10 % are also indexed by Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge Journal of Citation Reports (JCR). LILACS has a similar geographical coverage and includes dissertations and conference/symposia proceedings, but it is limited to publications in the health sciences. A search for retraction notices was performed in these two databases using the keywords "retracted", "retraction" "withdrawal", "withdrawn", "removed" and "redress". Documents were manually checked to identify those that actually referred to retractions, which were then analyzed and categorized according to the reasons alleged in the notices. Dates of publication/retraction and time to retraction were also recorded. Searching procedures were performed between June and December 2014. Thirty-one retraction notices were identified, fifteen of which were in JCR-indexed journals. "Plagiarism" was alleged in six retractions of this group. Among the non-JCR journals, retraction reasons were alleged in fourteen cases, twelve of which were attributed to "plagiarism". The proportion of retracted articles for the SciELO database was approximately 0.005 %. The reasons alleged in retraction notices may be used as signposts to inform discussions in Latin America on plagiarism and research integrity. At the international level, these results suggest that the correction of the literature is becoming global and is not limited to mainstream international publications.

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TL;DR: This article deals with a modern disease of academic science that consists of an enormous increase in the number of scientific publications without a corresponding advance of knowledge, an article-inflation phenomenon, a scientometric bubble that is most harmful for science and promotes an unethical and antiscientific culture among researchers.
Abstract: This article deals with a modern disease of academic science that consists of an enormous increase in the number of scientific publications without a corresponding advance of knowledge. Findings are sliced as thin as salami and submitted to different journals to produce more papers. If we consider academic papers as a kind of scientific ‘currency’ that is backed by gold bullion in the central bank of ‘true’ science, then we are witnessing an article-inflation phenomenon, a scientometric bubble that is most harmful for science and promotes an unethical and antiscientific culture among researchers. The main problem behind the scenes is that the impact factor is used as a proxy for quality. Therefore, not only for convenience, but also based on ethical principles of scientific research, we adhere to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment when it emphasizes “the need to eliminate the use of journal-based metrics in funding, appointment and promotion considerations; and the need to assess research on its own merits rather on the journal in which the research is published”. Our message is mainly addressed to the funding agencies and universities that award tenures or grants and manage research programmes, especially in developing countries. The message is also addressed to well-established scientists who have the power to change things when they participate in committees for grants and jobs.

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TL;DR: It is argued that consumers are not capable of fully assessing all relevant risks and thus continue to require protection; any regulation will likely apply to plans, however, not physical objects.
Abstract: Additive manufacturing has spread widely over the past decade, especially with the availability of home 3D printers. In the future, many items may be manufactured at home, which raises two ethical issues. First, there are questions of safety. Our current safety regulations depend on centralized manufacturing assumptions; they will be difficult to enforce on this new model of manufacturing. Using current US law as an example, I argue that consumers are not capable of fully assessing all relevant risks and thus continue to require protection; any regulation will likely apply to plans, however, not physical objects. Second, there are intellectual property issues. In combination with a 3D scanner, it is now possible to scan items and print copies; many items are not protected from this by current intellectual property laws. I argue that these laws are ethically sufficient. Patent exists to protect what is innovative; the rest is properly not protected. Intellectual property rests on the notion of creativity, but what counts as creative changes with the rise of new technologies.

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TL;DR: A case study is presented in which different interest groups were invited for developing new water policy, and suggests that stakeholders can participate more effectively if their contribution is focused on underlying competing values rather than conflicting interests.
Abstract: The management of water is a topic of great concern. Inadequate management may lead to water scarcity and ecological destruction, but also to an increase of catastrophic floods. With climate change, both water scarcity and the risk of flooding are likely to increase even further in the coming decades. This makes water management currently a highly dynamic field, in which experiments are made with new forms of policy making. In the current paper, a case study is presented in which different interest groups were invited for developing new water policy. The case was innovative in that stakeholders were invited to identify and frame the most urgent water issues, rather than asking them to reflect on possible solutions developed by the water authority itself. The case suggests that stakeholders can participate more effectively if their contribution is focused on underlying competing values rather than conflicting interests.