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2000 Sigma Xi Forum Proceedings
New Ethical Challenges in Science and Technology

November 9-10, 2000
Hyatt Regency Albuquerque
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Introduction
Peter Blair, Executive Director, Sigma Xi

Engineering Achievements in the 20th Century and Challenges for the 21st
William Wulf, President, National Academy of Engineering

A Natural Science Perspective
Robert C. Dynes, Chancellor and Professor of Physics, University of California at San Diego

The Overselling of Computers in Science
Cliff Stoll, Author

Ethics in Medical Research
David C. Clark, Director, Research Affairs, Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center

On Being a Scientist in the Year 2000: Science and Science Education in the U.S.
Francisco J. Ayala, Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, University of California at Irvine

In the Case of Robert Andrews Millikan
John P. McGovern Science and Society Lecture
David L. Goodstein, Vice Provost and Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology

Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Teaching the Responsible Conduct of Research: The Why, The What, and The How
An Acadia Institute study, funded by the National Science Foundation, found that faculty, in general, felt that students learned the responsible conduct of research by "osmosis" during their graduate training. But the study also indicated that mentoring was in short supply. Conflicts often arise when research groups lack explicit understandings about forms of credit, the basis for credit and grounds for assigning authorship. Suggestions were offered for explicitly handling issues of research credit, including guidelines from a consortium of biological science editors. Teaching the responsible conduct of research involves making explicit information that is often implicit.

Session Leader: Vivian Weil, Director, Center for Study of Ethics in the Professions, Illinois Institute of Technology

Panelists: Judith P. Swazey, President, The Acadia Institute PHS Policy on Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR); and Stephanie Bird, Special Assistant to the Provost, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Intellectual Freedom and the National Laboratories
The culture of intellectual freedom, while presenting certain management challenges, has served the national laboratories well, making it possible for employees to pursue professional interests, participate in open debate, disseminate the results of their research, collaborate with external researchers, and contribute to public understanding of science and technology. However, employees must recognize and understand that their intellectual freedom must be tempered by the principal mission of national security.

Session Leader: John C. Browne, Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Panelists: Wendell B. Jones, Laboratory Ombuds, Sandia National Laboratories; and Jeff Wadsworth, Lawrence Livemore National Laboratory

Oversight of Research Staff by the Principal Investigator
The Principal Investigator (PI) has a responsibility to impart to each co-investigator, collaborator, employee, and trainee appropriate standards for scientific and fiscal conduct. To what degree is the PI responsible when other of his/her research staff engage in scientific misconduct? Should the PI be considered culpable when a staff person has been found engaged in scientific misconduct, and the corresponding PI has been found to be lax or inadequate in some or all oversight responsibilities?

Session Leader: David C. Clark, Director, Research Affairs, Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center

Panelists: Chris Pascal, Director, Office of Research Integrity, U.S. Public Health Service; and Robert Zand, Professor, Biophysics Research Division, University of Michigan

Responsibilities of Scientists to Society
Do researchers have a responsibility to consider possible implications and applications of their research before they undertake the research? Should researchers become involved in developing restrictions on the use or the boundaries of their research? These questions arise with regard to work on nuclear weapons, biological agents, stem cells and genetic engineering.

Session Leader: Robert J. Eagan, Vice President, Energy, Information & Infrastructure Surety Division, Sandia National Laboratories

Panelists: Robert A. Frosch, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; and Beverly Hartline, Acting Deputy Associate Laboratory Director for Strategic and Supporting Research, Los Alamos National Laboratory

The New Federal Research Misconduct Policy
The new Federal research misconduct policy was discussed by representatives of federal research agencies. Panelists talked about the rationale for the new policy, issues raised during its development and challenges to its implementation.

Session Leader: Holly L. Gwin, Chief of Staff and General Counsel, Office of Science and Technology Policy

Panelists: Peggy L. Fischer, Associate Inspector General for Scientific Integrity, National Science Foundation; William J. Valdez, Director, Office of Planning & Analysis DOE-Office of Science; and Chris Pascal, Acting Director, Office of Research Integrity

Educational Resources to Increase Ethical Awareness for Scientists and Engineers
The National Science Foundation has been making awards in ethics education for more than 20 years. Some awards have trained faculty to incorporate ethics into their science and engineering classes; other awards have resulted in specific products that educate science and engineering students and professionals in ethical issues. This session featured two very successful products that have resulted from NSF awards in ethics education: a scenario-based video for classroom use and a CD-ROM on computer ethics.

Session Leader: John P. Perhonis, Program Officer, National Science Foundation

Panelists: John L. Fodor, Executive Director, Educational Media Resources; and Aarne Vesilind, R.L. Rooke Professor of Engineering, Bucknell University

Bioethical Challenges on the Horizon
We have reached the point where we face concrete ethical choices that only a decade or two ago would have been considered merely hypothetical. What new bioethical problems will cross the line from science fiction to reality in the next decade or so? This session involved an exercise in "educated prognostication" to try to identify ethical issues on the horizon that are likely to arise given the current trajectory of biological research, as a point of departure for considering the professional duties of scientists with regard to them.

Session Leader: Robert T. Pennock, Associate Professor, Lyman Briggs School, Michigan State University

Panelists: Lawrence J. Prochaska, Professor, Department of Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Wright State University School of Medicine; and Janice Voltzow, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Scranton

Some New Wrinkles on Faculty Conflicts of Interest in Research
This session explored new aspects of potential conflicts of interest for faculty engaged in sponsored research that arise from fairly recent and substantial changes in the modes and expectations for university research. Temptations and confusions surrounding multiple sponsors of a given research program, ownership and development of intellectual property, involvement of students and university facilities in commercializable aspects of faculty research abound. This session discussed these aspects with a goal of sharing experiences and insights from participants who represent the university, government and industry sectors.

Session Leader: Paul A. Fleury, Dean of Engineering, Yale University formerly at University of New Mexico

Panelists: Kumar Patel, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, UCLA; and Patricia L. Oddone, Executive Assistant to the Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Intergenerational Ethics
As we enter the new millennium we are drawn to focus more on the equitable and thoughtful use of the awesome power of science and technology. Concerns about social equity across geographical regions and economic classes are now clearly on the public agenda, as is concern for environmental quality and security. But the same concern across time (intergenerations) is only slowly taking form and is struggling with deeply embedded paradigms such as economic discount rates. As we begin to impact the whole planet with actions that can affect the biosphere for centuries or longer, what is our responsibility for the future?

Session Leaders: John H. Gibbons, Senior Fellow, National Academy of Engineering; and Thomas Malone, former Foreign Secretary, National Academy of Sciences

Beyond Adversarial Ethics: Web Resources for Solving Problems About Research Conduct
This session gave a guided tour of online materials to support research ethics education for group learning within departments and laboratories, and a discussion of methods for doing so. The advantage of the method is that it is engaging, builds the group's competence for handling issues in research ethics, makes very modest demands on faculty time, and provides information when people are ready to learn it. The materials are available in the Web pages of the Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science.

Session Leader: Caroline A. Whitbeck, Elmer G. Beamer-Hubert H. Schneider University Professor in Ethics, and Director, Online Ethics Center for Engineering & Science, Case Western Reserve University

Panelists: Elysa Koppelman, Special Consultant for Research Ethics, Case Western Reserve University; and Michael S. Pritchard, Willard A. Brown Professor of Philosophy; Director, Center for the Study of Ethics in Society; and Associate Dean, The Graduate College, Western Michagan University

Charles Blackburn, Proceedings Editor, cblackburn@sigmaxi.org

Copyright Notice and Disclaimer
The presentations in this Web proceedings were given at the 2000 Sigma Xi Forum New Ethical Challenges in Science and Technology, held November 9-10 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Sigma Xi or forum sponsors. Copyright (c) 2001 by Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, Inc. All rights reserved. It is Sigma Xi's policy to grant permission at no charge for the educational use of proceedings articles in the classroom.

 

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