Research Ethics – Standards

Ethics is central to everything we do whether in research or practice.

Researchers and scholars shall seek to uphold the following general ethical standards in the performance of their activities:

Standards of Ethical Research:

  • Researchers Should avoid any risk of considerably harming people, the environment, or property unnecessarily. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study is an example of a study which seriously violated these standards.
  • Researchers Should not use deception on people participating, as was the case with the ethics of the Stanley Milgram Experiment
  • Researchers Should obtain informed consent from all involved in the study.
  • Researchers Should preserve privacy and confidentiality whenever possible.
  • Researchers Should take special precautions when involving populations or animals which may not be considered to understand fully the purpose of the study.
  • Researchers Should not offer big rewards or enforce binding contracts for the study. This is especially important when people are somehow reliant on the reward.
  • Researchers Should not plagiarize the work of others
  • Researchers Should not skew their conclusions based on funding.
  • Researchers Should not commit science fraud, falsify research or otherwise conduct scientific misconduct. A con-study, which devastated the public view of the subject for decades, was the study of selling more coke and popcorn by unconscious ads. The researcher said that he had found great effects from subliminal messages, whilst he had, in fact, never conducted the experiment.
  • Researchers Should not use the position as a peer reviewer to give sham peer reviews to punish or damage fellow scientists.

Basically, research must follow all regulations given, and also anticipate possible ethical problems in their research.

Competition is an important factor in research, and may be both a good thing and a bad thing.

Whistleblowing is one mechanism to help discover misconduct in research.

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