Science and Engineering Ethics 13 (1):25-43 (2007)

Nancy Jones
Liberty University
The activities of the life sciences are essential to provide solutions for the future, for both individuals and society. Society has demanded growing accountability from the scientific community as implications of life science research rise in influence and there are concerns about the credibility, integrity and motives of science. While the scientific community has responded to concerns about its integrity in part by initiating training in research integrity and the responsible conduct of research, this approach is minimal. The scientific community justifies itself by appealing to the ethos of science, claiming academic freedom, self-direction, and self-regulation, but no comprehensive codification of this foundational ethos has been forthcoming. A review of the professional norms of science and a prototype code of ethics for the life sciences provide a framework to spur discussions within the scientific community to define scientific professionalism. A formalization of implicit principles can provide guidance for recognizing divergence from the norms, place these norms within a context that would enhance education of trainees, and provide a framework for discussing externally and internally applied pressures that are influencing the practice of science. The prototype code articulates the goal for life sciences research and the responsibilities associated with the freedom of exploration, the principles for the practice of science, and the virtues of the scientists themselves. The time is ripe for scientific communities to reinvigorate professionalism and define the basis of their social contract. Codifying the basis of the social contract between science and society will sustain public trust in the scientific enterprise.
Keywords Professionalism  Ethics  Code  Research integrity  Life sciences  Norms  Social contract
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11948-006-0007-x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,784
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Ethics of Scientific Research.Vivian Weil - 1996 - Noûs 30 (1):133-143.
Ethics of Scientific Research.Kristin Shrader-Frechette - 1999 - Ethics and the Environment 4 (2):241-245.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Hype and Public Trust in Science.Zubin Master & David B. Resnik - 2013 - Science and Engineering Ethics 19 (2):321-335.
The Problems with Forbidding Science.Gary E. Marchant & Lynda L. Pope - 2009 - Science and Engineering Ethics 15 (3):375-394.

View all 16 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Responsible Conduct by Life Scientists in an Age of Terrorism.Ronald M. Atlas - 2009 - Science and Engineering Ethics 15 (3):293-301.
At Arm’s Length? Applied Social Science and its Sponsors.Heidi Kjærnet - 2010 - Journal of Academic Ethics 8 (3):161-169.
Ambiguity, Trust, and the Responsible Conduct of Research.Frederick Grinnell - 1999 - Science and Engineering Ethics 5 (2):205-214.
Co-Responsibility for Research Integrity.Carl Mitcham - 2003 - Science and Engineering Ethics 9 (2):273-290.


Added to PP index

Total views
150 ( #73,565 of 2,462,967 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #449,363 of 2,462,967 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes