Ethics

All aspects of doing research with integrity and honesty are being discussed in this section

Integrity is not a component of ethics, integrity is much more

Academic and research integrity cannot be a side project or an afterthought. Integrity and ethics must be central to everything we do and every decision we make. We must work to ensure that we are putting integrity at the forefront of our mission and operations. To achieve objectives mentioned it requests to respect the framework of integrity policies, processes and procedures at all institutional levels. Integrity policies, processes and procedures are an inseparable and significant part of the whole set of functions/activities within an institution that work together for the aim of the institution. Read more [...]

Conflicting values of biomedical innovation?

The term ‘value’ is at the centre of an increasingly explicit debate in the fields of health and healthcare policy. ‘Value’ is understood in many different ways and diverging interests are being mobilised. How are values in biomedical innovation being expressed, represented, materialised and aligned or contested in different areas of biomedicine? How do values embedded in regulation, public health, economic policies, healthcare provision, technology assessment, producers' strategies, and patient organisation movements shape biomedical innovations? At an ESOF discussion in Toulouse multidisciplinary perspectives on value between panel members and public participants will be explored and possible pathways to common solutions identified that promote socially acceptable biomedical innovation in the European context. Read more [...]

EU trachea transplant clinical trial TETRA “uncertain to take place”

The scandal of regenerative medicine surgeon Paolo Macchiarini and his deadly plastic tracheas made world news. Yet this human abuse, which started at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, was just a part of a much bigger horror story. The suffering and deaths of other trachea transplant patients of Macchiarini and his collaborators, those who received a decellurised cadaveric trachea, is much less known. I focused my reporting on it, bringing back to memory all those dead patients which the hospitals in London, Florence and Barcelona pretend never existed. Presently, 62 patients were scheduled to be treated with decellurised cadaveric trachea in two phase 1 clinical trials in UK and one EU-funded phase 2 clinical trial, all led by former Macchiarini partner, UCL laryngologist Martin Birchall. But now, all 3 clinical trials are not going anywhere. Read more [...]

Scientific integrity: dropping points

Scientific integrity has become a major issue in scientific research. The debate about scientific fraud, plagiarism, and other forms of scientific misconduct has its origin in some highly publicised cases of eminent scientists accused of publishing fake data. These observations raise many questions. One of the known misconducts is the deliberate dropping of data points, acknowledged by 15% of scientists surveyed in recently published integrity studies asking them about their behaviour in the previous three years. This misconduct originates in a wrong understanding of what scientific knowledge is, and how it is progressively constructed, argues Michel Morange, director of the Centre Cavaillès for History and Philosophy of Sciences at the Ecole normale supérieure, Paris, France. Read more [...]

Are blockchain applications guided by adequate social values?

At their simplest, blockchains are just lists of transactions - ledger books - that are recorded in a transparent and decentralised way. Currencies such as Bitcoin are the best-known application of the technology. However, other applications are emerging far beyond the financial sector. In this stimulating opinion piece, Philip Boucher, policy analyst at the European Parliament's Scientific Foresight Unit explains the opportunities and challenges that such an emerging technology offers. The biggest question is: are we ready to give up traditional financial and governmental control in favour of decentralised blockchain applications harbouring greater transparency? Some of the answers may be found in an event organised by the Scientific Foresight Unit of the European Parliament event on the 11th May 2017. Read more [...]

Macchiarini scandal: overstepping the research ethics mark

A star scientist overstating the outcome of his pioneering transplant experiments may be worrying. But when these experiments are performed in humans, used a guinea pigs, before laboratory research proves the validity of the approach, we have a recipe for disaster. The recent Macchiarini scandal has led to one of the most shocking case of scientific misconduct in recent years. It reveals a lot about the vanity culture pervading some fields of research. Our outlook on what constitutes success in research may need to be revised. Read more [...]

Can ethics training improve the quality of research?

Critiques are increasingly challenging the way research is being performed. Recent scandals revealing scientific fraud have made media headlines. Meanwhile, some are challenging the established ways of measuring research. It appears that research integrity is not sufficiently ingrained in the current practice of science. So much so, that it sometimes appear like an unattainable goal. To remedy this problem, some believe that part of the solution lies in making research integrity training compulsory, even though it is far from being a magic bullet. Read more [...]

Navigating SSH research integrity straits: between Scylla and Charybdis

Is social sciences and humanity (SSH) research, by nature, the domain of blatant misconduct? Drawing the line between acceptable and contemptible behaviour is a much more complicated matter in the SSH than in the other sciences. It may require a revision of the principles governing research to provide a solid basis for enforcing good practices. In this opinion piece, Ioana Galleron, who is chair of the European Network for Research Evaluation in Social Sciences and Humanities (ENRESSH), an European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action, shares her perspective on research integrity. Read more [...]