TIP TROVE | Ethics and the Scientist

Courtesy of Michael Kalichman

Because research is a social enterprise and is intended to provide a public benefit, the conduct of research is riddled with competing interests. Resolution of such interests requires that a researcher be aware of the ethical dimensions of research; seek out the necessary information and resources to address such concerns as they arise; apply his or her critical thinking skills to find courses of action that are ethically defensible; and carry out such actions despite pressures to do otherwise.

These steps should not be foreign to most scientists, because they are analogous to the process of scientific discovery. Both the conduct of science and ethics are best defined not by a particular endpoint but by a process. The good news is that considerations of long-term interests can often yield options that are at the same time ethically defensible and...

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