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Journal Cover Science and Engineering Ethics
  [SJR: 0.372]   [H-I: 31]   [8 followers]  Follow
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 1471-5546 - ISSN (Online) 1353-3452
   Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2336 journals]
  • The Debate on the Moral Responsibilities of Online Service Providers
    • Authors: Mariarosaria Taddeo; Luciano Floridi
      Pages: 1575 - 1603
      Abstract: Online service providers (OSPs)—such as AOL, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter—significantly shape the informational environment (infosphere) and influence users’ experiences and interactions within it. There is a general agreement on the centrality of OSPs in information societies, but little consensus about what principles should shape their moral responsibilities and practices. In this article, we analyse the main contributions to the debate on the moral responsibilities of OSPs. By endorsing the method of the levels of abstract (LoAs), we first analyse the moral responsibilities of OSPs in the web (LoAIN). These concern the management of online information, which includes information filtering, Internet censorship, the circulation of harmful content, and the implementation and fostering of human rights (including privacy). We then consider the moral responsibilities ascribed to OSPs on the web (LoAON) and focus on the existing legal regulation of access to users’ data. The overall analysis provides an overview of the current state of the debate and highlights two main results. First, topics related to OSPs’ public role—especially their gatekeeping function, their corporate social responsibilities, and their role in implementing and fostering human rights—have acquired increasing relevance in the specialised literature. Second, there is a lack of an ethical framework that can (a) define OSPs’ responsibilities, and (b) provide the fundamental sharable principles necessary to guide OSPs’ conduct within the multicultural and international context in which they operate. This article contributes to the ethical framework necessary to deal with (a) and (b) by endorsing a LoA enabling the definition of the responsibilities of OSPs with respect to the well-being of the infosphere and of the entities inhabiting it (LoAFor).
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9734-1
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • Research in Emergency and Critical Care Settings: Debates, Obstacles and
    • Authors: Ayman El-Menyar; Mohammad Asim; Rifat Latifi; Hassan Al-Thani
      Pages: 1605 - 1626
      Abstract: Abstract Research is an integral part of evidence-based practice in the emergency department and critical care unit that improves patient management. It is important to understand the need and major obstacles for conducting research in emergency settings. Herein, we review the literature for the obligations, ethics and major implications of emergency research and the associated limiting factors influencing research activities in critical care and emergency settings. We reviewed research engines such as PubMed, MEDLINE, and EMBASE for the last two decades using the key words “emergency department”, “critical care”, “research”, “consent”, and “ethics” as the search terms. Research within emergency settings is slow or non-existent due to time and financial constraints as well as the lack of a research tradition. There are several barriers to conducting research studies in emergency situations such as who, what, when, and how to obtain patient consent. The emergency environment is highly pressurized, emotional, and overburdened. The time taken for research is a particular risk that could delay the desired immediate interventions. Ethical issues abound, particularly relating to informed consent. Research in emergency settings is still in its infancy. Thus, there is a strong need for extensive research in the emergency setting through community awareness, resource management, ethics, collaborations, capacity building, and the development of a research interest for the improvement of patient care and outcomes. We need to establish a well-structured plan to assess and track the decision-making capacity, consider a multistep enrolment and consent strategy, and develop an integrated approach for recruitment into studies.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9730-5
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • Basing Science Ethics on Respect for Human Dignity
    • Authors: Mehmet Aközer; Emel Aközer
      Pages: 1627 - 1647
      Abstract: Abstract A “no ethics” principle has long been prevalent in science and has demotivated deliberation on scientific ethics. This paper argues the following: (1) An understanding of a scientific “ethos” based on actual “value preferences” and “value repugnances” prevalent in the scientific community permits and demands critical accounts of the “no ethics” principle in science. (2) The roots of this principle may be traced to a repugnance of human dignity, which was instilled at a historical breaking point in the interrelation between science and ethics. This breaking point involved granting science the exclusive mandate to pass judgment on the life worth living. (3) By contrast, respect for human dignity, in its Kantian definition as “the absolute inner worth of being human,” should be adopted as the basis to ground science ethics. (4) The pathway from this foundation to the articulation of an ethical duty specific to scientific practice, i.e., respect for objective truth, is charted by Karl Popper’s discussion of the ethical principles that form the basis of science. This also permits an integrated account of the “external” and “internal” ethical problems in science. (5) Principles of the respect for human dignity and the respect for objective truth are also safeguards of epistemic integrity. Plain defiance of human dignity by genetic determinism has compromised integrity of claims to knowledge in behavioral genetics and other behavioral sciences. Disregard of the ethical principles that form the basis of science threatens epistemic integrity.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9731-4
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • Navigating Bioethical Waters: Two Pilot Projects in Problem-Based Learning
           for Future Bioscience and Biotechnology Professionals
    • Authors: Roberta M. Berry; Aaron D. Levine; Robert Kirkman; Laura Palucki Blake; Matthew Drake
      Pages: 1649 - 1667
      Abstract: Abstract We believe that the professional responsibility of bioscience and biotechnology professionals includes a social responsibility to contribute to the resolution of ethically fraught policy problems generated by their work. It follows that educators have a professional responsibility to prepare future professionals to discharge this responsibility. This essay discusses two pilot projects in ethics pedagogy focused on particularly challenging policy problems, which we call “fractious problems”. The projects aimed to advance future professionals’ acquisition of “fractious problem navigational” skills, a set of skills designed to enable broad and deep understanding of fractious problems and the design of good policy resolutions for them. A secondary objective was to enhance future professionals’ motivation to apply these skills to help their communities resolve these problems. The projects employed “problem based learning” courses to advance these learning objectives. A new assessment instrument, “Skills for Science/Engineering Ethics Test” (SkillSET), was designed and administered to measure the success of the courses in doing so. This essay first discusses the rationale for the pilot projects, and then describes the design of the pilot courses and presents the results of our assessment using SkillSET in the first pilot project and the revised SkillSET 2.0 in the second pilot project. The essay concludes with discussion of observations and results.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9725-2
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • Tolerant Paternalism: Pro-ethical Design as a Resolution of the Dilemma of
    • Authors: Luciano Floridi
      Pages: 1669 - 1688
      Abstract: Abstract Toleration is one of the fundamental principles that inform the design of a democratic and liberal society. Unfortunately, its adoption seems inconsistent with the adoption of paternalistically benevolent policies, which represent a valuable mechanism to improve individuals’ well-being. In this paper, I refer to this tension as the dilemma of toleration. The dilemma is not new. It arises when an agent A would like to be tolerant and respectful towards another agent B’s choices but, at the same time, A is altruistically concerned that a particular course of action would harm, or at least not improve, B’s well-being, so A would also like to be helpful and seeks to ensure that B does not pursue such course of action, for B’s sake and even against B’s consent. In the article, I clarify the specific nature of the dilemma and show that several forms of paternalism, including those based on ethics by design and structural nudging, may not be suitable to resolve it. I then argue that one form of paternalism, based on pro-ethical design, can be compatible with toleration and hence with the respect for B’s choices, by operating only at the informational and not at the structural level of a choice architecture. This provides a successful resolution of the dilemma, showing that tolerant paternalism is not an oxymoron but a viable approach to the design of a democratic and liberal society.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9733-2
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • Research Ethics in the Context of Transition: Gaps in Policies and
           Programs on the Protection of Research Participants in the Selected
           Countries of Central and Eastern Europe
    • Authors: Andrei Famenka
      Pages: 1689 - 1706
      Abstract: Abstract This paper examines the ability of countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) to ensure appropriate protection of research participants in the field of increasingly globalizing biomedical research. By applying an analytical framework for identifying gaps in policies and programs for human subjects protection to four countries of CEE—Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, substantial gaps in the scope and content of relevant policies and major impediments to program performance have been revealed. In these countries, public policies on the protection of research participants lack consistency and reliable mechanisms for their implementation. Impediments to program performance most often relate to inadequacies in the national research ethics systems with regard to organizational structure, budgetary support, supervision, and training. The level of research ethics capacity varies from country to country and depends on socio-economic and political factors of post-communist transition. The breadth and depth of the problems identified suggest that the current level of protection for research participants in CEE might be inadequate to the challenges posed by the globalization of biomedical research. In CEE countries, there is a need for strengthening research ethics capacity through modification of relevant policies and improvement of program management. The differences among the countries call for further research on identifying the best approaches for filling the gaps in the policies and programs aimed at ensuring effective protection of research participants.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9723-4
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • The Central Importance of Laboratories for Reducing Waste in Biomedical
    • Authors: Nikolas Stroth
      Pages: 1707 - 1716
      Abstract: Abstract The global biomedical research enterprise is driving substantial advances in medicine and healthcare. Yet it appears that the enterprise is rather wasteful, falling short of its true innovative potential. Suggested reasons are manifold and involve various stakeholders, such that there is no single remedy. In the present paper, I will argue that laboratories are the basic working units of the biomedical research enterprise and an important site of action for corrective intervention. Keeping laboratories relatively small will enable better training and mentoring of individual scientists, which in turn will yield better performance of the scientific workforce. The key premise of this argument is that people are at the heart of the successes and failures of biomedical research, yet the human dimension of science has been unduly neglected in practice. Renewed focus on the importance of laboratories and their constituent scientists is one promising approach to reducing waste and increasing efficiency within the biomedical research enterprise.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9738-x
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • Trouble in Paradise: Problems in Academic Research Co-authoring
    • Authors: Barry Bozeman; Jan Youtie
      Pages: 1717 - 1743
      Abstract: Abstract Scholars and policy-makers have expressed concerns about the crediting of coauthors in research publications. Most such problems fall into one of two categories, excluding deserving contributors or including undeserving ones. But our research shows that there is no consensus on “deserving” or on what type of contribution suffices for co-authorship award. Our study uses qualitative data, including interviews with 60 US academic science or engineering researchers in 14 disciplines in a set of geographically distributed research-intensive universities. We also employ data from 161 website posts provided by 93 study participants, again US academic scientists. We examine a variety of factors related to perceived unwarranted exclusion from co-author credit and unwarranted inclusion, providing an empirically-informed conceptual model to explain co-author crediting outcomes. Determinants of outcomes include characteristics of disciplines and fields, institutional work culture, power dynamics and team-specific norms and decision processes.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9722-5
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • When Should We Use Care Robots' The Nature-of-Activities Approach
    • Authors: Filippo Santoni de Sio; Aimee van Wynsberghe
      Pages: 1745 - 1760
      Abstract: Abstract When should we use care robots' In this paper we endorse the shift from a simple normative approach to care robots ethics to a complex one: we think that one main task of a care robot ethics is that of analysing the different ways in which different care robots may affect the different values at stake in different care practices. We start filling a gap in the literature by showing how the philosophical analysis of the nature of healthcare activities can contribute to (care) robot ethics. We rely on the nature-of-activities approach recently proposed in the debate on human enhancement, and we apply it to the ethics of care robots. The nature-of-activities approach will help us to understand why certain practice-oriented activities in healthcare should arguably be left to humans, but certain (predominantly) goal-directed activities in healthcare can be fulfilled (sometimes even more ethically) with the assistance of a robot. In relation to the latter, we aim to show that even though all healthcare activities can be considered as practice-oriented, when we understand the activity in terms of different legitimate ‘fine-grained’ descriptions, the same activities or at least certain components of them can be seen as clearly goal-directed. Insofar as it allows us to ethically assess specific functionalities of specific robots to be deployed in well-defined circumstances, we hold the nature-of-activities approach to be particularly helpful also from a design perspective, i.e. to realize the Value Sensitive Design approach.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9715-4
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • Assessing the Moral Coherence and Moral Robustness of Social Systems:
           Proof of Concept for a Graphical Models Approach
    • Authors: Frauke Hoss; Alex John London
      Pages: 1761 - 1779
      Abstract: Abstract This paper presents a proof of concept for a graphical models approach to assessing the moral coherence and moral robustness of systems of social interactions. “Moral coherence” refers to the degree to which the rights and duties of agents within a system are effectively respected when agents in the system comply with the rights and duties that are recognized as in force for the relevant context of interaction. “Moral robustness” refers to the degree to which a system of social interaction is configured to ensure that the interests of agents are effectively respected even in the face of noncompliance. Using the case of conscientious objection of pharmacists to filling prescriptions for emergency contraception as an example, we illustrate how a graphical models approach can help stakeholders identify structural weaknesses in systems of social interaction and evaluate the relative merits of alternate organizational structures. By illustrating the merits of a graphical models approach we hope to spur further developments in this area.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9743-0
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • A Different Trolley Problem: The Limits of Environmental Justice and the
           Promise of Complex Moral Assessments for Transportation Infrastructure
    • Authors: Shane Epting
      Pages: 1781 - 1795
      Abstract: Abstract Transportation infrastructure tremendously affects the quality of life for urban residents, influences public and mental health, and shapes social relations. Historically, the topic is rich with social and political controversy and the resultant transit systems in the United States cause problems for minority residents and issues for the public. Environmental justice frameworks provide a means to identify and address harms that affect marginalized groups, but environmental justice has limits that cannot account for the mainstream population. To account for this condition, I employ a complex moral assessment measure that provides a way to talk about harms that affect the public.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9732-3
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • Specifying the Concept of Future Generations for Addressing Issues Related
           to High-Level Radioactive Waste
    • Authors: Celine Kermisch
      Pages: 1797 - 1811
      Abstract: Abstract The nuclear community frequently refers to the concept of “future generations” when discussing the management of high-level radioactive waste. However, this notion is generally not defined. In this context, we have to assume a wide definition of the concept of future generations, conceived as people who will live after the contemporary people are dead. This definition embraces thus each generation following ours, without any restriction in time. The aim of this paper is to show that, in the debate about nuclear waste, this broad notion should be further specified and to clarify the related implications for nuclear waste management policies. Therefore, we provide an ethical analysis of different management strategies for high-level waste in the light of two principles, protection of future generations—based on safety and security—and respect for their choice. This analysis shows that high-level waste management options have different ethical impacts across future generations, depending on whether the memory of the waste and its location is lost, or not. We suggest taking this distinction into account by introducing the notions of “close future generations” and “remote future generations”, which has important implications on nuclear waste management policies insofar as it stresses that a retrievable disposal has fewer benefits than usually assumed.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9741-2
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • Nuclear Waste Facing the Test of Time: The Case of the French Deep
           Geological Repository Project
    • Authors: Sophie Poirot-Delpech; Laurence Raineau
      Pages: 1813 - 1830
      Abstract: Abstract The purpose of this article is to consider the socio-anthropological issues raised by the deep geological repository project for high-level, long-lived nuclear waste. It is based on fieldwork at a candidate site for a deep storage project in eastern France, where an underground laboratory has been studying the feasibility of the project since 1999. A project of this nature, based on the possibility of very long containment (hundreds of thousands of years, if not longer), involves a singular form of time. By linking project performance to geology’s very long timescale, the project attempts “jump” in time, focusing on a far distant future, without understanding it in terms of generations. But these future generations remain measurements of time on the surface, where the issue of remembering or forgetting the repository comes to the fore. The nuclear waste geological storage project raises questions that neither politicians nor scientists, nor civil society, have ever confronted before. This project attempts to address a problem that exists on a very long timescale, which involves our responsibility toward generations in the far future.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9739-9
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • Food and Sustainability Challenges Under Climate Changes
    • Authors: Khaled Moustafa
      Pages: 1831 - 1836
      Abstract: Abstract Plants are permanently impacted by their environments, and their abilities to tolerate multiple fluctuating environmental conditions vary as a function of several genetic and natural factors. Over the past decades, scientific innovations and applications of the knowledge derived from biotechnological investigations to agriculture caused a substantial increase of the yields of many crops. However, due to exacerbating effects of climate change and a growing human population, a crisis of malnutrition may arise in the upcoming decades in some places in the world. So, effective, ethical and managerial regulations and fair policies should be set up and applied at the local and global levels so that Earth may fairly provide the food and living accommodation needed by its inhabitants. To save some energy consumption, electric devices (for e.g., smartphones, laptops, street lights, traffic lights, etc.) should be manufactured to work with solar energy, whenever available, particularly in sunny countries where sun is available most of the time. Such characteristic will save energy and make solar energy-based smartphones and laptops less cumbersome in terms of chargers and plugging issues.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9737-y
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • The Least Interesting Unit: A New Concept for Enhancing One’s
           Academic Career Opportunities
    • Authors: Marcoen J. T. F. Cabbolet
      Pages: 1837 - 1841
      Abstract: Abstract Motivated by a current development in the physics community, this paper introduces the notion of a least interesting unit (LIU) in research as an investigation that is just interesting enough to pursue. A new general maxim for science is then that a researcher should pursue as many LIUs as possible. Although fulfilling this maxim enhances one’s perspective for a career in the present publish-or-perish academic world, in particular when simultaneously publishing one’s results in the form of as many least publishable units as possible, this paper concludes that it is an example of an unethical practice: it may undermine scientific progress, it may lead to a waste of valuable resources, and it may contribute to an erosion of norms and values in science.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9736-z
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • Authorship: Few Myths and Misconceptions
    • Authors: Ritesh G. Menezes; Magdy A. Kharoshah; Mohammed Madadin; Vijaya Marakala; Savita Lasrado; Dalal M. Al Tamimi
      Pages: 1843 - 1847
      Abstract: Abstract This article seeks to address and dispel some of the popular myths and misconceptions surrounding authorship of a scientific publication as this is often misconstrued by beginners in academia especially those in the developing world. While ethical issues in publishing related to authorship have been increasingly discussed, not much has been written about the myths and misconceptions of who might be an author. Dispelling these myths and misconceptions would go a long way in shaping the thoughts and plans of students, junior faculty and researchers in academia especially in the developing world.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9742-1
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • Ethics in Publishing: Complexity Science and Human Factors Offer Insights
           to Develop a Just Culture
    • Authors: Tarcisio Abreu Saurin
      Pages: 1849 - 1854
      Abstract: Abstract While ethics in publishing has been increasingly debated, there seems to be a lack of a theoretical framework for making sense of existing rules of behavior as well as for designing, managing and enforcing such rules. This letter argues that systems-oriented disciplines, such as complexity science and human factors, offer insights into new ways of dealing with ethics in publishing. Some examples of insights are presented. Also, a call is made for empirical studies that unveil the context and details of both retracted papers and the process of writing and publishing academic papers. This is expected to shed light on the complexity of the publication system as well as to support the development of a just culture, in which all participants are accountable.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9735-0
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • Declaration of Conflicts of Interest in Networking Era: Raising the Bar
    • Authors: Behzad Ataie-Ashtiani
      Pages: 1855 - 1857
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9745-y
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • Some Review Journals Do Not Allow Students to Author Reviews: Is this
    • Authors: Marzieh Maghrouni; Omid Mahian; Somchai Wongwises
      Pages: 1859 - 1859
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9740-3
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
  • Honor Killing: Where Pride Defeats Reason
    • Authors: Tanuj Kanchan; Abhishek Tandon; Kewal Krishan
      Pages: 1861 - 1862
      Abstract: Abstract Honor killings are graceless and ferocious murders by chauvinists with an antediluvian mind. These are categorized separately because these killings are committed for the prime reason of satisfying the ego of the people whom the victim trusts and always looks up to for support and protection. It is for this sole reason that honor killings demand strict and stern punishment, not only for the person who committed the murder but also for any person who contributed or was party to the act. A positive change can occur with stricter legislation and changes in the ethos of the society we live in today.
      PubDate: 2016-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9694-5
      Issue No: Vol. 22, No. 6 (2016)
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