Adventures in Ethics and Science

A quick tour through the vault.

Because some of you may be new to “Adventures in Ethics and Science” (having found it by way of the high-powered company I’m keeping here at ScienceBlogs), and because a lot of the cool kids here are doin’ it, I thought I’d give you a quick run-down of some of my archived posts. A few of these are big-traffic posts via search engine results, while others are posts that are dear to my heart (the “unsung heroes” of the archives). It’s my hope that these will give you a taste of some of the issues in ethics and science that seize my hands and make me blog.

Of course, I’m always happy to entertain requests, so if there’s an ethics-and-science issue you don’t see here but would like to, just give a holler!

Scientific Misconduct (fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, and their pals)
When scientists get caught doing bad stuff — especially when it’s in the news — it tends to set me off. I rant, but I also try to draw some lessons from it.

The Farm League
Some of the instances that might not rise (sink?) to the level of full-blown misconduct, but that are slimy enough that they ought to make responsible scientists glower.

Research with animals

Research with human subjects

Playing well with other scientists
A round-up of day to day issues in the responsible conduct of scientific research.

Teaching science, teaching ethics

Science for the rest of us
The public funds science; what are the public’s interests where science is concerned? And what kind of duties do scientists have when it comes to getting the public to understand what science is up to?

That should give you a feel for where I’ve been so far — I’m looking forward to taking on a lot more, and I welcome your comments on all of it.

UPDATE: I think all the links are working properly now. Thanks to commenters and emailers who pointed out the broken ones.


  1. #1 coturnix
    January 12, 2006

    Cozy here! Thanks for the list of links to your old stuff.

  2. #2 rob helpy-chalk
    January 12, 2006

    Hey, congratulations on the new digs! It looks like all the cool kids are moving here.

  3. #3 Leah
    January 16, 2006

    Thanks for the great links here. Only one complaint: the Crackpottery, etiquette, and ethical duties link is dead, and I’d like to read it.

    I especially enjoyed the article about the important of high school biology. I completely agree that good learning is more than passing standardized tests. Unfortunately, it is hard to get a quality education when the teachers themselves do not fully understand the subjects they are teaching. I still cringe about the 1st grade classroom I volunteered in on the Navajo Nation one winter. The teacher spelled words wrong during the spelling exercise on the board, and my fellow volunteers said that I shouldn’t bother to correct her. The spread of misinformation, even at a low level, is not as benign as many would like to think.

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  8. #8 Solomon Rivlin
    March 30, 2006

    First, I would like to express my admiration for your excellent job both here and on your blog. It takes a scientist to help the lay person navigate the ins and outs of scientific misconduct. As a (neuro)scientist myself, I had the “privilage” of witnessing a case of scientific misconduct, which has shaken me to the core. It catapulted me to join a small group of scientists who, at times, put their careers and more on the line, while attempting to protect science from fraudsters, and thus, I became a whistleblower. Scientific misconduct is a major problem since there is much more to science today than simply a journey of curiosity and knowledge gathering. If in the past scientific misconduct was committed by those who were mainly after personal glory, today’s fraudster is also after money and job security. Unfortunately, for the defenders of clean and honest science, it is not uncommon to witness colleagues of fraudsters and even university administrators defending and shielding those who commit scientific misconduct. This rush to protect the “bad guy,” especially by institutional administrations, is also driven by financial considerations and the belief that the reputation of an institution is better sustained by not exposing wrong-doing.
    I published the account of my experience in a book entitled” Scientific Misconduct and Its Cover-Up: Diary of a Whistleblower.”

    If you or any of your readers decide to read it, you will find a description of a case that, if treated correctly, could have led to serious steps being taken against scientific misconduct. Instead, it received only some coverage in the local newspaper and the university administration managed to sweep most of it under the carpet, while protecting its own “good name” and that of the wrong-doers.

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