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Journal Cover Science and Engineering Ethics
  [SJR: 0.372]   [H-I: 31]   [9 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  [2354 journals]
  • Promoting Virtue or Punishing Fraud: Mapping Contrasts in the Language of
           ‘Scientific Integrity’
    • Authors: S. P. J. M. Horbach; W. Halffman
      Pages: 1461 - 1485
      Abstract: Even though integrity is widely considered to be an essential aspect of research, there is an ongoing debate on what actually constitutes research integrity. The understanding of integrity ranges from the minimal, only considering falsification, fabrication and plagiarism, to the maximum, blending into science ethics. Underneath these obvious contrasts, there are more subtle differences that are not as immediately evident. The debate about integrity is usually presented as a single, universal discussion, with shared concerns for researchers, policymakers and ‘the public’. In this article, we show that it is not. There are substantial differences between the language of research integrity in the scientific arena and in the public domain. Notably, scientists and policymakers adopt different approaches to research integrity. Scientists tend to present integrity as a virtue that must be kindled, while policy documents and newspapers stress norm enforcement. Rather than performing a conceptual analysis through philosophical reasoning and discussion, we aimed to clarify the discourse of ‘scientific integrity’ by studying its usage in written documents. To this end, large numbers of scientific publications, policy documents and newspaper articles were analysed by means of scientometric and content analysis techniques. The texts were analysed on their usage of the term ‘integrity’ and of frequently co-occurring terms and concepts. A comparison was made between the usage in the various media, as well as between different periods in which they were published through co-word analysis, mapping co-occurrence networks of significant terms and themes.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9858-y
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • Ethics, Nanobiosensors and Elite Sport: The Need for a New Governance
    • Authors: Robert Evans; Michael McNamee; Owen Guy
      Pages: 1487 - 1505
      Abstract: Individual athletes, coaches and sports teams seek continuously for ways to improve performance and accomplishment in elite competition. New techniques of performance analysis are a crucial part of the drive for athletic perfection. This paper discusses the ethical importance of one aspect of the future potential of performance analysis in sport, combining the field of biomedicine, sports engineering and nanotechnology in the form of ‘Nanobiosensors’. This innovative technology has the potential to revolutionise sport, enabling real time biological data to be collected from athletes that can be electronically distributed. Enabling precise real time performance analysis is not without ethical problems. Arguments concerning (1) data ownership and privacy; (2) data confidentiality; and (3) athlete welfare are presented alongside a discussion of the use of the Precautionary Principle in making ethical evaluations. We conclude, that although the future potential use of Nanobiosensors in sports analysis offers many potential benefits, there is also a fear that it could be abused at a sporting system level. Hence, it is essential for sporting bodies to consider the development of a robust ethically informed governance framework in advance of their proliferated use.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9855-1
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • The Slippery Slope Argument in the Ethical Debate on Genetic Engineering
           of Humans
    • Authors: Douglas Walton
      Pages: 1507 - 1528
      Abstract: This article applies tools from argumentation theory to slippery slope arguments used in current ethical debates on genetic engineering. Among the tools used are argumentation schemes, value-based argumentation, critical questions, and burden of proof. It is argued that so-called drivers such as social acceptance and rapid technological development are also important factors that need to be taken into account alongside the argumentation scheme. It is shown that the slippery slope argument is basically a reasonable (but defeasible) form of argument, but is often flawed when used in ethical debates because of failures to meet the requirements of its scheme.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9861-3
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • Experience and Attitudes Toward Informed Consent in Pharmacy Practice
           Research: Do Pharmacists Care'
    • Authors: Dušanka M. Krajnović; Dragana D. Jocić
      Pages: 1529 - 1539
      Abstract: The experience and attitudes of pharmacists towards research ethics through pharmacy practice research is largely unknown. This study sought to examine the pharmacists’ experience if they were research participants and their attitudes on the importance of informed consent in research practice. A cross-sectional survey was employed to achieve the aims of this study. The majority of 433 participating pharmacists were female (86.1%); the average age was 43.2 ± 9.5 years, and their average working experience was 15.0 ± 9.6 years. Almost half of the respondents came from a medium chain pharmacy (47.3%) in Serbia. Older pharmacists reported the experience of being informed in detail by the researcher in their practice, had an informal agreement or a written agreement before the research process started, and believed it was necessary to know their rights in research. The more experienced pharmacists reported capturing objective and distant relationships with researchers when participating in pharmacy practice research. There was a significant difference between the experience of male and female pharmacists in the study. Those employed in medium chain pharmacies believed it was necessary to have informal agreement or a written agreement before beginning the research process. Results indicated that pharmacists show positive attitudes toward informed consent and its importance and these attitudes were more emphatically expressed by older and more experienced pharmacists in Serbia.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9853-3
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • Public Perceptions of Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of
           Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) in Malaysia
    • Authors: Angelina P. Olesen; Siti Nurani Mohd Nor; Latifah Amin; Anisah Che Ngah
      Pages: 1563 - 1580
      Abstract: Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) became well known in Malaysia after the birth of the first Malaysian ‘designer baby’, Yau Tak in 2004. Two years later, the Malaysian Medical Council implemented the first and only regulation on the use of Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis in this country. The birth of Yau Tak triggered a public outcry because PGD was used for non-medical sex selection thus, raising concerns about PGD and its implications for the society. This study aims to explore participants’ perceptions of the future implications of PGD for the Malaysian society. We conducted in-depth interviews with 21 participants over a period of one year, using a semi-structured questionnaire. Findings reveal that responses varied substantially among the participants; there was a broad acceptance as well as rejection of PGD. Contentious ethical, legal and social issues of PGD were raised during the discussions, including intolerance to and discrimination against people with genetic disabilities; societal pressure and the ‘slippery slope’ of PGD were raised during the discussions. This study also highlights participants’ legal standpoint, and major issues regarding PGD in relation to the accuracy of diagnosis. At the social policy level, considerations are given to access as well as the impact of this technology on families, women and physicians. Given these different perceptions of the use of PGD, and its implications and conflicts, policies and regulations of the use of PGD have to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis while taking into consideration of the risk–benefit balance, since its application will impact the lives of so many people in the society.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9857-z
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • Proving that China has a Profession of Engineering: A Case Study in
           Operationalizing a Concept Across a Cultural Divide
    • Authors: Michael Davis; Hengli Zhang
      Pages: 1581 - 1596
      Abstract: This article assumes that a profession is a number of individuals in the same occupation voluntarily organized to earn a living by openly serving a moral ideal in a morally-permissible way (a discipline) beyond what law, market, morality, and public opinion would otherwise require. Our question is whether the concept of profession (so defined) may have a far wider range than the term, so that, for example, pointing out that a certain language lacks a word for “profession” in our sense, is not enough to show that those who speak the language also lack the concept. We believe the survey of 71 Chinese reported here begins to answer that question. This article has four parts. The first describes who was interviewed, how, when, and so on. The second describes some important features of the survey’s questions, explaining how the questions track the concept of profession. The third part reports and interprets the results relevant to our question. The forth defends a tentative answer to the question with which we began—arguing the survey supports the claim that China has a profession of engineering. This article should serve as a “proof of concept”, that is, a model for similar studies around the world both of engineering and of other occupations thought to be professions.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9846-2
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • Holding the Project Accountable: Research Governance, Ethics, and
    • Authors: Matthias Leese
      Pages: 1597 - 1616
      Abstract: This paper seeks to address research governance by highlighting the notion of public accountability as a complementary tool for the establishment of an ethical resonance space for emerging technologies. Public accountability can render development and design process of emerging technologies transparent through practices of holding those in charge of research accountable for their actions, thereby fostering ethical engagement with their potential negative consequences or side-effects. Through practices such as parliamentary questions, audits, and open letters emerging technologies could be effectively rendered transparent and opened up to broader levels of scrutiny and debate, thereby contributing to a greater adherence of emerging technologies to ethics and moral consensus. Fundamental democratic practices could thus not only lead to better informed choices in design and development processes, but also contribute to more morally substantive outcomes.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9866-y
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • A Moral (Normative) Framework for the Judgment of Actions and Decisions in
           the Construction Industry and Engineering: Part II
    • Authors: Omar J. Alkhatib
      Pages: 1617 - 1641
      Abstract: The construction industry is typically characterized as a fragmented, multi-organizational setting in which members from different technical backgrounds and moral values join together to develop a particular business or project. The most challenging obstacle in the construction process is to achieve a successful practice and to identify and apply an ethical framework to manage the behavior of involved specialists and contractors and to ensure the quality of all completed construction activities. The framework should reflect a common moral ground for myriad people involved in this process to survive and compete ethically in today’s turbulent construction market. This study establishes a framework for moral judgment of behavior and actions conducted in the construction process. The moral framework provides the basis of judging actions as “moral” or “immoral” based on three levels of moral accountability: personal, professional, and social. The social aspect of the proposed framework is developed primarily from the essential attributes of normative business decision-making models identified in the literature review and subsequently incorporates additional attributes related to professional and personal moral values. The normative decision-making models reviewed are based primarily on social attributes as related to moral theories (e.g., utilitarianism, duty, rights, virtue, etc.). The professional and moral attributes are established by identifying a set of common moral values recognized by professionals in the construction industry and required to prevent common construction breaches. The moral framework presented here is the complementary part of the ethical framework developed in Part I of this article and is based primarily on the personal behavior or the moral aspect of professional responsibility. The framework can be implemented as a form of preventive personal ethics, which would help avoid ethical dilemmas and moral implications in the first place. Furthermore, the moral framework can be considered as a decision-making model to guide actions and improve the moral reasoning process, which would help individuals think through possible implications and the consequences of ethical and moral issues in the construction industry.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9851-5
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • Investigating the Underlying Factors of Corruption in the Public
           Construction Sector: Evidence from China
    • Authors: Ming Shan; Yun Le; Kenneth T. W. Yiu; Albert P. C. Chan; Yi Hu
      Pages: 1643 - 1666
      Abstract: Over recent years, the issue of corruption in the public construction sector has attracted increasing attention from both practitioners and researchers worldwide. However, limited efforts are available for investigating the underlying factors of corruption in this sector. Thus, this study attempted to bridge this knowledge gap by exploring the underlying factors of corruption in the public construction sector of China. To achieve this goal, a total of 14 structured interviews were first carried out, and a questionnaire survey was then administered to 188 professionals in China. Two iterations of multivariate analysis approaches, namely, stepwise multiple regression analysis and partial least squares structural equation modeling were successively utilized to analyze the collected data. In addition, a case study was also conducted to triangulate the findings obtained from the statistical analysis. The results generated from these three research methods achieve the same conclusion: the most influential underlying factor leading to corruption was immorality, followed by opacity, unfairness, procedural violation, and contractual violation. This study has contributed to the body of knowledge by exploring the properties of corruption in the public construction sector. The findings from this study are also valuable to the construction authorities as they can assist in developing more effective anti-corruption strategies.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9865-z
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • Obsolete Laws: Economic and Moral Aspects, Case Study—Composting
    • Authors: Marek Vochozka; Anna Maroušková; Petr Šuleř
      Pages: 1667 - 1672
      Abstract: From the early days of philosophy, ethics and justice, there is wide consensus that the constancy of the laws establishes the legal system. On the other hand, the rate at which we accumulate knowledge is gaining speed like never before. Due to the recently increased attention of academics to climate change and other environmental issues, a lot of new knowledge has been obtained about carbon management, its role in nature and mechanisms regarding the formation and degradation of organic matter. A multidisciplinary techno-economic assessment of current composting standards and laws that took into account the current state of knowledge about carbon management was carried out as a case study. Economic and environmental damage caused by outdated laws was revealed. In addition, it was found that the introduction of the best composts into the market is permitted, causing additional negative environmental as well as economic impacts.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9831-9
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • E-Government Attempts in Small Island Developing States: The Rate of
           Corruption with Virtualization
    • Authors: Arif Sari
      Pages: 1673 - 1688
      Abstract: In recent years, many Small Island Developing State (SIDS) governments have worked to increase openness and transparency of their transactions as a means to enhance efficiency and reduce corruption in their economies. In order to achieve a cost-effective and efficient strategy to implement a transparent government, Information Communication Technologies offer an opportunity of virtualization by deploying e-government services to promote transparency, accountability and consistency in the public sector and to minimize corruption. This paper explores the potential impact of government virtualization by SIDS and against corruption by comparing the corruption perception index (CPI) rates of 15 SIDS countries. The CPI relates to the degree by which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians by business people and country analysts. In order to reveal the long-term impact of virtual deployment and its consequences on corruption, an in-depth case analysis based on the CPI index rates was conducted on the deployment of the e-government system in Cyprus.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9848-0
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • RETRACTED ARTICLE: Systematic Assessment of Research on Autism Spectrum
           Disorder and Mercury Reveals Conflicts of Interest and the Need for
           Transparency in Autism Research
    • Authors: Janet K. Kern; David A. Geier; Richard C. Deth; Lisa K. Sykes; Brian S. Hooker; James M. Love; Geir Bjørklund; Carmen G. Chaigneau; Boyd E. Haley; Mark R. Geier
      Pages: 1689 - 1690
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-015-9713-6
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • A Meta-analytic Comparison of Face-to-Face and Online Delivery in Ethics
           Instruction: The Case for a Hybrid Approach
    • Authors: E. Michelle Todd; Logan L. Watts; Tyler J. Mulhearn; Brett S. Torrence; Megan R. Turner; Shane Connelly; Michael D. Mumford
      Pages: 1719 - 1754
      Abstract: Despite the growing body of literature on training in the responsible conduct of research, few studies have examined the effectiveness of delivery formats used in ethics courses (i.e., face-to-face, online, hybrid). The present effort sought to address this gap in the literature through a meta-analytic review of 66 empirical studies, representing 106 ethics courses and 10,069 participants. The frequency and effectiveness of 67 instructional and process-based content areas were also assessed for each delivery format. Process-based contents were best delivered face-to-face, whereas contents delivered online were most effective when restricted to compliance-based instructional contents. Overall, hybrid courses were found to be most effective, suggesting that ethics courses are best delivered using a blend of formats and content areas. Implications and recommendations for future development of ethics education courses in the sciences are discussed.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-017-9869-3
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • The Roles of Implicit Understanding of Engineering Ethics in Student
           Teams’ Discussion
    • Authors: Eun Ah Lee; Magdalena Grohman; Nicholas R. Gans; Marco Tacca; Matthew J. Brown
      Pages: 1755 - 1774
      Abstract: Following previous work that shows engineering students possess different levels of understanding of ethics—implicit and explicit—this study focuses on how students’ implicit understanding of engineering ethics influences their team discussion process, in cases where there is significant divergence between their explicit and implicit understanding. We observed student teams during group discussions of the ethical issues involved in their engineering design projects. Through the micro-scale discourse analysis based on cognitive ethnography, we found two possible ways in which implicit understanding influenced the discussion. In one case, implicit understanding played the role of intuitive ethics—an intuitive judgment followed by reasoning. In the other case, implicit understanding played the role of ethical insight, emotionally guiding the direction of the discussion. In either case, however, implicit understanding did not have a strong influence, and the conclusion of the discussion reflected students’ explicit understanding. Because students’ implicit understanding represented broader social implication of engineering design in both cases, we suggest to take account of students’ relevant implicit understanding in engineering education, to help students become more socially responsible engineers.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9856-0
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • Engineering Students’ Views of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Case
           Study from Petroleum Engineering
    • Authors: Jessica M. Smith; Carrie J. McClelland; Nicole M. Smith
      Pages: 1775 - 1790
      Abstract: The mining and energy industries present unique challenges to engineers, who must navigate sometimes competing responsibilities and codes of conduct, such as personal senses of right and wrong, professional ethics codes, and their employers’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the current dominant framework used by industry to conceptualize firms’ responsibilities to their stakeholders, yet has it plays a relatively minor role in engineering ethics education. In this article, we report on an interdisciplinary pedagogical intervention in a petroleum engineering seminar that sought to better prepare engineering undergraduate students to critically appraise the strengths and limitations of CSR as an approach to reconciling the interests of industry and communities. We find that as a result of the curricular interventions, engineering students were able to expand their knowledge of the social, rather than simply environmental and economic dimensions of CSR. They remained hesitant, however, in identifying the links between those social aspects of CSR and their actual engineering work. The study suggests that CSR may be a fruitful arena from which to illustrate the profoundly sociotechnical dimensions of the engineering challenges relevant to students’ future careers.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9859-x
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • Educational Encounters of the Third Kind
    • Authors: Gonzalo Génova; M. Rosario González
      Pages: 1791 - 1800
      Abstract: An engineer who becomes an educator in a school of software engineering has the mission to teach how to design and construct software systems, therein applying his or her knowledge and expertise. However, due to their engineering background, engineers may forget that educating a person is not the same as designing a machine, since a machine has a well-defined goal, whilst a person is capable to self-propose his or her own objectives. The ethical implications are clear: educating a free person must leave space for creativity and self-determination in his or her own discovery of the way towards personal and professional fulfillment, which cannot consist only in achieving goals selected by others. We present here an argument that is applicable to most fields of engineering. However, the dis-analogy between educating students and programming robots may have a particular appeal to software engineers and computer scientists. We think the consideration of three different stages in the educational process may be useful to engineers when they act as educators. We claim that the three stages (instructing, training and mentoring) are essential to engineering education. In particular, education is incomplete if the third stage is not reached. Moreover, mentoring (the third stage aimed at developing creativity and self-determination) is incompatible with an educational assessment framework that considers the goals of the engineer are always given by others. In our view, then, an integral education is not only beyond programming the behavior of students, but also beyond having them reach those given goals.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9852-4
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • How are Editors Selected, Recruited and Approved'
    • Authors: Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva; Aceil Al-Khatib
      Pages: 1801 - 1804
      Abstract: The editors of scholarly journals have a duty to uphold and promote the highest standards of ethical conduct of research. They also have a responsibility to maintain the integrity of the literature, and to promote transparency and honesty in reporting research findings. In the process of screening manuscripts they receive for possible publication, editors have the obligation to report infractions to the institutions of offending authors, and request an investigation. Since editors can reject a paper on ethical grounds, they can be considered to be the guardians of ethics who should express high ethical standards in conducting and publishing their own research. An examination of several publishers’ websites reveals no such requirement or clear selection criteria for journal editors. Therefore, we aim to discuss the factors that publishers, in a broad sense, should consider when selecting editors for scholarly journals and believe that such criteria should be made public to ensure accountability. This would restore some of the eroding public trust in disseminated research, fortify confidence in the composition and qualification of members of an editorial board, and help to protect the reputations of publishers and editors.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9821-y
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • Conference Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
    • Authors: Shahryar Sorooshian
      Pages: 1805 - 1806
      Abstract: In some cases, organizing a conference resembles a high-profit business. Some of these conferences are wolves in sheep’s clothing. This article draws readers’ attention to current examples of such unethical business conferences.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9788-8
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • Are Pseudonyms Ethical in (Science) Publishing' Neuroskeptic as a Case
    • Authors: Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva
      Pages: 1807 - 1810
      Abstract: The blogosphere is full of personalities with masks, or pseudonyms. Although not a desired state of public communication, one could excuse the use of pseudonyms in blogs and social media, which are generally unregulated or weakly regulated. However, in science publishing, there are increasingly strict rules regarding the use of false identities for authors, the lack of institutional or contact details, and the lack of conflicts of interest, and such instances are generally considered to be misconduct. This is because these violations of publishing protocol decrease trust and confidence in science and bring disrepute to those scientists who conform to the rules set out by journals and publishers and abide by them. Thus, when cases are encountered where trust and protocol in publishing are breached, these deserve to be highlighted. In this letter, I focus on Neuroskeptic, a highly prominent science critic, primarily on the blogosphere and in social media, highlighting the dangers associated with the use of pseudonyms in academic publishing.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-016-9825-7
      Issue No: Vol. 23, No. 6 (2017)
  • Systematic Assessment of Research on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and
           Mercury Reveals Conflicts of Interest and the Need for Transparency in
           Autism Research
    • Authors: Janet K. Kern; David A. Geier; Richard C. Deth; Lisa K. Sykes; Brian S. Hooker; James M. Love; Geir Bjørklund; Carmen G. Chaigneau; Boyd E. Haley; Mark R. Geier
      Abstract: Historically, entities with a vested interest in a product that critics have suggested is harmful have consistently used research to back their claims that the product is safe. Prominent examples are: tobacco, lead, bisphenol A, and atrazine. Research literature indicates that about 80–90% of studies with industry affiliation found no harm from the product, while only about 10–20% of studies without industry affiliation found no harm. In parallel to other historical debates, recent studies examining a possible relationship between mercury (Hg) exposure and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) show a similar dichotomy. Studies sponsored and supported by industry or entities with an apparent conflict of interest have most often shown no evidence of harm or no “consistent” evidence of harm, while studies without such affiliations report positive evidence of a Hg/autism association. The potentially causal relationship between Hg exposure and ASD differs from other toxic products since there is a broad coalition of entities for whom a conflict of interest arises. These include influential governmental public health entities, the pharmaceutical industry, and even the coal burning industry. This review includes a systematic literature search of original studies on the potential relationship between Hg and ASD from 1999 to August 2015, finding that of the studies with public health and/or industry affiliation, 86% reported no relationship between Hg and ASD. However, among studies without public health and/or industry affiliation, only 21% find no relationship between Hg and ASD. The discrepancy in these results suggests a bias indicative of a conflict of interest.
      PubDate: 2017-11-08
      DOI: 10.1007/s11948-017-9983-2
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