Scientists' Ethical Obligations and Social Responsibility for Nanotechnology Research

TitleScientists' Ethical Obligations and Social Responsibility for Nanotechnology Research
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsCorley, E, Kim, Y, Scheufele, D
JournalScience & Engineering Ethics
Date Published2016
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number13533452
AbstractScientists' sense of social responsibility is particularly relevant for emerging technologies. Since a regulatory vacuum can sometimes occur in the early stages of these technologies, individual scientists' social responsibility might be one of the most significant checks on the risks and negative consequences of this scientific research. In this article, we analyze data from a 2011 mail survey of leading U.S. nanoscientists to explore their perceptions the regarding social and ethical responsibilities for their nanotechnology research. Our analyses show that leading U.S. nanoscientists express a moderate level of social responsibility about their research. Yet, they have a strong sense of ethical obligation to protect laboratory workers (in both universities and industry) from unhealthy exposure to nanomaterials. We also find that there are significant differences in scientists' sense of social and ethical responsibility depending on their demographic characteristics, job affiliation, attention to media content, risk perceptions and benefit perceptions. We conclude with some implications for future research.
NotesCorley, Elizabeth 1; Email Address: Kim, Youngjae 1 Scheufele, Dietram 2; Affiliation: 1: School of Public Affairs, Arizona State University, 411 N. Central Avenue, Suite 450 Phoenix 85004-0687 USA 2: John E. Ross Professor, Department of Life Sciences Communication, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 309 Hiram Smith Hall, 1545 Observatory Drive Madison 53706-1215 USA; Source Info: Feb2016, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p111; Subject Term: SCIENTISTS; Subject Term: SOCIAL responsibility; Subject Term: NANOTECHNOLOGY -- Research; Subject Term: NANOSTRUCTURED materials; Subject Term: RESEARCH -- Moral & ethical aspects; Author-Supplied Keyword: Nanotechnology; Author-Supplied Keyword: Research ethics; Author-Supplied Keyword: Scientist perceptions; Author-Supplied Keyword: Social responsibility; NAICS/Industry Codes: 541711 Research and Development in Biotechnology; Number of Pages: 22p; Document Type: Article