The Ethical Challenges of Socially Responsible Science

TitleThe Ethical Challenges of Socially Responsible Science
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsResnik, DB, Elliott, KC
JournalAccountability in Research
Date Published2016/01/02
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number0898-9621
AbstractSocial responsibility is an essential part of the responsible conduct of research that presents difficult ethical questions for scientists. Recognizing one?s social responsibilities as a scientist is an important first step toward exercising social responsibility, but it is only the beginning, since scientists may confront difficult value questions when deciding how to act responsibly. Ethical dilemmas related to socially responsible science fall into at least three basic categories: 1) dilemmas related to problem selection, 2) dilemmas related to publication and data sharing, and 3) dilemmas related to engaging society. In responding to these dilemmas, scientists must decide how to balance their social responsibilities against other professional commitments and how to avoid compromising their objectivity. In this article, we will examine the philosophical and ethical basis of social responsibility in science, discuss some of the ethical dilemmas related to exercising social responsibility, and make five recommendations to help scientists deal with these issues.