Responsible conduct of research courses are widely taught, but little is known about the purposes or effectiveness of such courses. As one way to assess the purposes of these courses, students were surveyed about their perspectives after recent completion of one of eleven different research ethics courses at ten different institutions. Participants enrolled in RCR courses in spring and fall of 2003 received a voluntary, anonymous survey from their instructors at the completion of the course. Responses were received from 268 (...) participants. Seventy-seven percent of open-ended responses listed specific kinds of information learned; only a few respondents talked about changes in skills or attitudes. The perception that courses did more to provide information than to foster skills or attitudes was verified in quantitative responses. Over 75% of the respondents specifically noted that courses were useful in preparing them to recognize, avoid, and respond to research misconduct. The two principal findings of this multi-institutional study are that respondents reported: a wide variety of positive outcomes for research ethics courses, but that the impact on knowledge was greater than that for changes in skills or attitudes. (shrink)
Training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR) is required for many research trainees nationwide, but little is known about its effectiveness. For a preliminary assessment of the effectiveness of a short-term course in RCR, medical students participating in an NIH-funded summer research program at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) were surveyed using an instrument developed through focus group discussions. In the summer of 2003, surveys were administered before and after a short-term RCR course, as well as to (...) alumni of the courses given in the summers of 2002 and 2001. Survey responses were analyzed in the areas of knowledge, ethical decision-making skills, attitudes about responsible conduct of research, and frequency of discussions about RCR outside of class. The only statistically significant improvement associated with the course was an increase in knowledge, while there was a non-significant tendency toward improvements in ethical decision-making skills and attitudes about the importance of RCR training. The nominal impact of a short-term training course should not be surprising, but it does raise the possibility that other options for delivering information only, such as an Internet-based tutorial, might be considered as comparable alternatives when longer courses are not possible. (shrink)
In February of 2007, the Responsible Conduct of Research Education Committee of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics convened a mini-conference at the Association’s annual meeting. The purpose of the mini-conference was to examine underserved areas of education in research ethics. The mini-conference consisted of panel discussions for two topics: authorship and social responsibility. Representatives from diverse academic disciplines were invited to participate in each of the two panels. This Special Section of Science and Engineering Ethics consists of the (...) papers based on presentations in the authorship panel. The papers illustrate similarities and differences in authorship and publication practices in various disciplines including engineering, the life sciences, and the social sciences. (shrink)
Despite more than 25 years of a requirement for training in the responsible conduct of research, there is still little consensus about what such training should include, how it should be delivered, nor what constitutes “effectiveness” of such training. This lack of consensus on content, approaches and outcomes is evident in recent data showing high variability in the development and implementation of RCR instruction across universities and programs. If we accept that one of the primary aims of instruction in RCR/research (...) ethics is “to foster a community of social responsibility”, then it makes sense to consider the research environment itself—where learning one’s science happens where one also engages in social interaction around that science. In order to take the best advantage of that already existing/naturally occurring research environment, the authors, through a deliberative, collaborative, and integrative process, crafted a workshop curriculum meant to arm research faculty with concrete and specific tools to effectively introduce research ethics in the context of the research environment. (shrink)
Although much of the focus on responsible conduct in research has been defined by courses or online training, it is generally understood that this is less important than what happens in the research environment. On the assumption that providing faculty with tools and resources to address the ethical dimensions of the practice of research would be useful, a new workshop was convened ten times across seven academic institutions and at the annual meeting of a professional society. Workshops were attended by (...) 91 faculty, 71 of whom completed evaluations strongly supportive of the value of the workshop. Surveys of trainees identified by the faculty allowed for invitations to complete an online survey before and 6 months after the workshops, respectively resulting in response rates of 43 and 51%. Faculty and trainees were highly supportive of the feasibility, relevance, and effectiveness of the implementation by the faculty of one or more of the five strategies featured in the workshop. However, surprisingly over 70% of the trainees reported use of one or more of those strategies prior to faculty participation in the workshops. In sum, the workshops for faculty were successful, and the proposed strategies were deemed of value, but it is likely that the faculty voluntarily choosing to participate in these workshops were perhaps not surprisingly faculty who are already engaging in some of these strategies. This model is likely a useful adjunct to encouraging a culture of ethics, but it is not by itself sufficient to do so. (shrink)
Some stalwarts are included in any and every collection of readings for students on political and social thought. Among these reliable standbys are Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Bentham, Mill, Hegel, Marx, Lenin, and Mao Tse-tung. They are all here, marshaled and arrayed in judicious selections, well introduced. But something new has been added in this anthology. You will find in it selections from William F. Buckley, Jr., and Eldridge Cleaver, from Michael Harrington and Frantz Fanon, from (...) Herbert Marcuse and Martin Luther King, Jr., from H. L. A. Hart and Gregory Vlastos, and from others who were or are alive in the latter half of our century. The quality of the material presented is excellent. The final selection, for example, is a first-rate analysis of the notion of a "just war" by Donald A. Wells. The editors, in their general introduction, discuss such questions as what the foundation of political obligation is, how social and political institutions are or may be evaluated, how the ideals of a society are systematized, and what the nature and justification of social change are. A bibliography, a topical syllabus, and an index are usefully provided. This book of readings can confidently be recommended for use as the basic text of a historical or analytical course in political and social philosophy.—W. G. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Advances in neuroscience continue to enhance understanding of the brain and provide new tools to take advantage of that understanding. These changes are poised to profoundly alter society. Given that the impact will be felt not only by neuroscientists, but by diverse members of society, it is imperative that conversations engage all stakeholders. Doing so will allow for the sharing of diverse views and perspectives to understand and frame the science, better educate and prepare the public for new developments, and (...) provide a shared approach to identifying and resolving ethical challenges. These were the goals of Neuroethics Week, staged in 2007 by the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology in San Diego, and are the basis for the contributions to this special issue of Science and Engineering Ethics. (shrink)
Ethical dilemmas are the result of conflicts between potential benefits or harms for two or more competing interests. Therefore, ethical decision-making implies a responsibility to identify those interests, harms, and benefits. For this purpose, researchers have responsibilities to the research, the subjects of research, other researchers, the institution, society, the environment, and self.
Sport builds character. If this is true, why is there a consistent stream of news detailing the bad behavior of athletes? We are bombarded with accounts of elite athletes using banned performance-enhancing substances, putting individual glory ahead of the excellence of the team, engaging in disrespectful and even violent behavior towards opponents, and seeking victory above all else. We are also given a steady diet of more salacious stories that include various embarrassing, immoral, and illegal behaviors in the private lives (...) of elite athletes. Elite sport is not alone in this; youth sport has its own set of moral problems. Parents assault officials, undermine coaches, encourage a win-at-all costs mentality, and in many cases ruin sport for their children. (shrink)
Without doubt, Weighing Lives, like its precursor, Weighing Goods, is an excellent and thought-provoking piece of work. In the first place, it addresses a question of the most fundamental importance, namely: how should we aggregate the well-being of past, present and future members of the human race under the various possible states of the world that may, in the event, prevail? This involves, amongst other things, dealing with questions of aggregation across time, people and different states of the world; the (...) issue of what constitutes a “neutral” state of well-being and what is, in fact, the value of continuing to survive. (shrink)
This ain’t your grandma’s virtue theory.In Michael Austin’s bold new collection, Virtues in Action: New Essays in Applied Virtue Ethics, gone are the pretentions of defining right action generically as what a virtuous person would do in the circumstances, while acting in and from character, provided that a virtuous person would end up in those circumstances. Instead, we find detailed explorations of specific virtues and vices related to specific fields of activity and problems, with attention (some of it careful (...) – some less so) to relevant empirical literature and elbowroom for alternative normative approaches and conceptions. Aristotle tells us about courage, temperance, generosity, magnificence, magnanimity, even temper, pride, justice, and friendship. The first wave neo-Aristotelians such as Peter Geach (The Virtues. Cambridge University Press, 1977) tell us about prudence, justice, temperance, courage, faith, hope, and charity. Contributors to the present volume tell us about inst .. (shrink)
Michael Riordan, Lillian Hoddeson and Adrienne W. Kolb, Tunnel Visions: The Rise and Fall of the Superconducting Super Collider (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2015), xiii+448 pp.