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Ethics Resources

So you've perused our past ethics mini-features, but you want to know even more about scientific ethics. Well, you've come to the right place! Next Wave has gathered a large list of resources from elsewhere on the Web and invites you to explore them at your leisure. Despite our efforts, this list is by no means all inclusive,so please let us know if you have suggestions for other resources that we should add.

Government Links:

Links to government offices and advisory committees that deal with ethics issues.

The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP), an office within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), develops policies to protect human subjects and monitors clinical trials at research institutions. The OHRP Web site includes links to policies and a schedule of workshops.

The President's Council on Bioethics was formed to advise the president on bioethics issues--particularly, the ethics of using embryonic stem cells in biomedical research. Members include scientists, ethicists, and lawyers.

The National Human Research Protections Advisory Committee (NHRPAC), a committee of scientists, lay patient advocates, lawyers, professional society members, and ethicists, previously advised DHHS on research matters, but--in a politically charged decision--its charter was allowed to expire recently. DHHS plans to replace NHRPAC with a group called the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections.

Bioethics Resources on the Web is a Web site maintained by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This site contains a plethora of links to other bioethics sites.

Government Funding for Ethics Research:

Because very little is known about scientific integrity, the federal government offers grants for professionals to study the topic.

The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) provides oversight for investigations of misconduct in research conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Public Health Service. ORI conducts workshops across the country on scientific integrity and provides grant support for research on integrity issues.

The Societal Dimensions of Engineering, Science, and Technology Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) funds studies on scientific ethics.

NIH also supports bioethics research.


Government Sites on Genetic Information:

Learn what steps the government is taking on the use of genetic data.

Concerned about how genetic information might be used in the future? The Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) both have Web sites dedicated to the ethical, legal, and social implications of genetic research. Also, be sure to check out the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing, which advises the Secretary of DHHS on the medical, ethical, legal, and social implications of genetic testing. Members include scientists, lawyers, and policy specialists.


Authorship Resources:

When a conflict arises between authors, the aggrieved often cast it in ethical terms. Likewise, conflicts of interest are often viewed that way. Several journals have attempted to articulate standards to guide scientists on these matters.

Read about Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, as set forth by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors.

The Council of Science Editors' Authorship Task Force contains links to papers on authorship issues.



Mentors often play a critical role in shaping the ethics of their mentees. How do you find an ethically sound mentor, and what does it mean to be such a mentor? Find out by following the links listed below.

Adviser, Teacher, Role Model, Friend, published by the National Academies, explores mentor responsibilities.

The NSF recognizes good mentors by bestowing Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

NIH's Guide to Training and Mentoring in the Intramural Research Program at NIH is available online.

The University of Michigan has two PDF documents for academics available on its site: How to Get the Mentoring You Want: A Guide for Graduate Students at a Diverse University and How to Mentor Graduate Students: A Guide for Faculty in a Diverse University.


Institutional Policies:

Some universities have published their integrity and misconduct policies on the Web.

The Harvard Medical School issued Faculty Policies on Integrity in Science in 2000.

Emory University's Guidelines for the Responsible Conduct of Scholarship and Research are on the university Web site.

The Responsible Conduct of Research booklet, prepared by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, explains what the university expects of its researchers in terms of mentor-trainee relationships, data sharing, intellectual property, human subjects research, and more.


Even if you weren't able to attend these ethics workshops, you can still find out what was discussed.

Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research holds national conferences on issues relating to Institutional Review Boards, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees, and ethics education, among many other topics.

Ethical dilemmas in the world of physics are discussed in Ethical Issues in Physics Workshop Proceedings. The workshop was held at Eastern Michigan University.

Teaching Research Ethics was the topic of a workshop held at Indiana University.

Michael Zigmond and Beth Fischer travel the country teaching survival skills and ethics to scientists.


Ethics Education:

These sites provide information on ethics education.

The Online Resource for Instruction in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) has suggested topics for ethics instruction, as well as ideas for different ways of presenting RCR to trainees.

The Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research Web site, maintained by NIH, includes links to NIH policies and to many external resources.

ORI also has a list of resources on its Web site for those interested in RCR instruction.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS; publisher of Next Wave) sells videos on Integrity in Scientific Research, which can be used in an RCR class.


Ethics Organizations:

Interested in joining an organization dedicated to the study of ethics? Read on ...

The Association for Practical and Professional Ethics encourages interdisciplinary scholarship on ethics.

The National Institute for Engineering Ethics produces informational videos and offers correspondence courses on engineering ethics.

The Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is open to all IEEE members. Among other things, SSIT publishes a journal and sponsors conferences on ethics.

The Center for Academic Integrity is a membership organization for institutions that share information and encourage research on ethics.


Ethics Centers:

Ethics centers typically have myriad resources on a variety of topics. Scholars affiliated with these centers study and teach ethics.

Poynter Center at Indiana University, Bloomington

Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University

Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions at the Illinois Institute of Technology

Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University

Center for Ethics in the Professions at Harvard University

Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science at Case Western Reserve University

Northeastern University Center for the Advancement of Science Education

Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh

Bioethics Institute at Johns Hopkins University

University of Virginia Center for Biomedical Ethics

Institute for Applied and Professional Ethics at Ohio University

University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics


If you know of additional resources that should be added to this list, send them via e-mail to

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