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May 14, 2003

Sigma Xi Ethics Program Receives National Recognition

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC - Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society has been elected to the 2003 Associations Advance America Honor Roll, a national awards competition sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) in Washington, D.C.

The award recognizes Sigma Xi's ongoing program in research ethics, which is directed by John F. Ahearne, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a former chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

As the international honor society of research scientists and engineers, Sigma Xi has long stressed that integrity is vital to the scientific process. The Society has approximately 72,000 members in more than 500 chapters throughout North America and overseas.

The ASAE Honor Roll recognizes associations that propel America forward-with innovative projects in education, skills training, standards-setting, business and social innovation, knowledge creation, citizenship and community service.

"Sigma Xi's ethics program truly embodies the spirit of the ASAE campaign. It is an honor and an inspiration to showcase this activity as an example of the many contributions associations are making to advance American society," said ASAE President Michael S. Olson, CAE.

"Since the founding of Sigma Xi in 1886, the concept of honor and being honorable has been a key tenet of the society," said Sigma Xi Executive Director Patrick D. Sculley, D.D.S., M.A. "It is gratifying that more than a hundred years later that principle still guides our actions and that we are recognized by others for it."

In addition to publishing articles on science and technology, Sigma Xi's award-winning magazine, American Scientist, has long been a forum for discussion of ethics and values in science. In addition, Sigma Xi has published two widely used guidebooks on ethical research that are required reading in many graduate schools.

Honor in Science (1984) offers guidelines primarily for graduate students. A companion booklet, The Responsible Researcher: Paths and Pitfalls (1999), covers ethical issues that have arisen since 1984 and is intended for a broader audience, including faculty and administrators, government and industry managers, as well as researchers in academia, government, industry and non-governmental organizations.

Sigma Xi forums in 2000 and 1993 focused on ethical issues in research, and proceedings volumes from these conferences added valuable perspectives in this growing field. With support from the National Science Foundation, Sigma Xi also has conducted a series of pilot ethics workshops at selected chapters, an effort that is expected to expand in the years ahead.

"As ethics issues are increasingly central in both business and academia, Sigma Xi is being seen as an important contributor to ethics education," said program director John Ahearne.


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