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Posts Tagged "professional ethics"

Doing Good Science

Some thoughts about the suicide of Yoshiki Sasai.

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In the previous post I suggested that it’s a mistake to try to understand scientific activity (including misconduct and culpable mistakes) by focusing on individual scientists, individual choices, and individual responsibility without also considering the larger community of scientists and the social structures it creates and maintains. That post was where I landed after thinking [...]

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Doing Good Science

When focusing on individual responsibility obscures shared responsibility.

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Over many years of writing about ethics in the conduct of science, I’ve had occasion to consider many cases of scientific misconduct and misbehavior, instances of honest mistakes and culpable mistakes. Discussions of these cases in the media and among scientists often make them look aberrant, singular, unconnected — the Schön case, the Hauser case, [...]

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Doing Good Science

Conduct of scientists (and science writers) can shape the public’s view of science.

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Scientists undertake a peculiar kind of project. In striving to build objective knowledge about the world, they are tacitly recognizing that our unreflective picture of the world is likely to be riddled with mistakes and distortions. On the other hand, they frequently come to regard themselves as better thinkers — as more reliably objective — [...]

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Doing Good Science

Do permanent records of scientific misconduct findings interfere with rehabilitation?

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We’ve been discussing how the scientific community deals with cheaters in its midst and the question of whether scientists view rehabilitation as a live option. Connected to the question of rehabilitation is the question of whether an official finding of scientific misconduct leaves a permanent mark that makes it practically impossible for someone to function [...]

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Doing Good Science

Faith in rehabilitation (but not in official channels): how unethical behavior in science goes unreported.

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Can a scientist who has behaved unethically be rehabilitated and reintegrated as a productive member of the scientific community? Or is your first ethical blunder grounds for permanent expulsion from the community? In practice, this isn’t just a question about the person who commits the ethical violation. It’s also a question about what other scientists [...]

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Doing Good Science

Are you saying I can’t go home until we cure cancer? Obligations of scientists (part 7)

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In the previous post in this series, we examined the question of what scientists who are trained with significant financial support from the public (which, in the U.S., means practically every scientist trained at the Ph.D. level) owe to the public providing that support. The focus there was personal: I was trained to be a [...]

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Doing Good Science

What do I owe society for my scientific training? Obligations of scientists (part 6)

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One of the dangers of thinking hard about your obligations is that you may discover one that you’ve fallen down on. As we continue our discussion of the obligations of scientist, I put myself under the microscope and invite you to consider whether I’ve incurred a debt to society that I have failed to pay [...]

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Doing Good Science

On speaking up when someone in your profession behaves unethically.

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On Twitter recently there was some discussion of a journalist who wrote and published a piece that arguably did serious harm to its subject. As the conversation unfolded, Kelly Hills helpfully dropped a link to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. Even cursory inspection of this code made it quite clear that the [...]

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Doing Good Science

What scientists ought to do for non-scientists, and why: Obligations of scientists (part 5)

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If you’re a scientist, are there certain things you’re obligated to do for society (not just for your employer)? If so, where does this obligation come from? This is part of the discussion we started back in September about special duties or obligations scientists might have to the non-scientists with whom they share a world. [...]

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Doing Good Science

Don’t be evil: Obligations of scientists (part 3)

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In the last installation of our ongoing discussion of the obligations of scientists, I said the next post in the series would take up scientists’ positive duties (i.e., duties to actually do particular kinds of things). I’ve decided to amend that plan to say just a bit more about scientists’ negative duties (i.e., duties to [...]

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