Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
2 The Environment for Science and Engineering This chapter provides a summary of material from the presenta- tions, responses, and discussion related to the first session, Needs and Issues for Ethics Education in Scientific and Engineering Research. In preparing their remarks, panelists were asked to consider the following questions: Investigators and students exist in complex research and learning environ- ments that include academic and other organizations, such as professional societies, commercial research laboratories, government funding agencies, and peer-reviewed journals. What do these individuals and groups identify as the main impediments to developing effective responsible research programs? Are there conflicting ideas about what these impediments are and what to do about them? The panel was chaired by Francisco Ayala, a member of the NAS and of the projectâs advisory committee, and University Professor and Donald Bien Professor of Biological Sciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of California, Irvine. The speakers were Joseph Helble, dean, Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth Â College; D Â eborah Johnson, chair, Department of Science, Technology and S Â ociety, University of Virginia, Charlottesville; Michael Mumford, pro- fessor, Psychology Department, University of Oklahoma, Norman; and Wendy Williams, director, Research Education, The Childrenâs Hospital of Philadelphia. The respondents were NAE member Paul Citron, chief technology officer (retired), Medtronic; Hugh Gusterson, professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, George Mason University; and Susan Silbey, Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor of Humanities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
ETHICS EDUCATION AND SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING RESEARCH At the beginning of the meeting, when attendees attempted to explain why ethics education is important, they proposed a variety of answers. Some described well-known instances of research mis- conduct. Others referred to less well known, but equally deleterious research practices that undermine both public trust in science and A lot of research investigators engineering and the integrity of are alienated by an incentive structure that makes research, for example, honesty in their community nasty, recording data and acknowledging individualistic, and competitive research contributions. Still others . . . a lot of graduate students, noted that the responsibilities of especially female graduate academic institutions and research students, but I have also heard faculty include training and educa- it from male graduate students, . . . quit. They say, âI donât want tion that promotes the understand- to become that kind of person, ing and application of the ethical so Iâm going to find some other standards of academia and specific way to spend my life.â fields. Some referred to former stu- dents, who had told them that only Caroline Whitbeck, Online Ethics Center when they were faced with diffi- cult ethical questions on the job did they recognize the value of the time spent on those and other ethical issues during their education. And some noted that sometimes the brightest and most socially aware students turn away from research programs and careers that do not live up to their ideals. Many participants noted that ongoing changes in American culture influence ethically responsible behavior. To develop ethics and men- toring activities and assess the results, program leaders and staff must be aware, for instance, of the internationalization of U.S. Â graduate programs, the nature and priorities of current undergraduate cul- ture or mores, and the disparate pathways into graduate education, furious competition for federal grants, and the growing number of university-industry partnerships. Program leaders must recognize that new technologies promote globalization and change faculty-student interactions. In discussions throughout the meeting, some workshop participants noted that increasing pressures for tenure and increasing competition for grants have led to a variety of problems, including instances of competitive mentoringâthe same project being assigned to more than one graduate student, only one of whom receives credit for the work.
THE ENVIRONMENT FOR SCIENCE AND ENGINERING Panelist Susan Silbey of MIT reminded participants that these âstructural forces . . . tend to produce unethical behavior.â Other attendees agreed on the need for new, creative responses that include attention to ethics. Many pointed out past efforts by leaders in scientific and engineering fields, as well as leaders of professional societies and academic organizations, to strengthen codes, issue reports, cooperate in government efforts to devise and implement policies, and initiate new educational activities. These responses are reflected, as Deborah ÂJohnson of the University of Virginia said in her remarks, not only in ABET criteria requiring student competencies in ethics and an understanding of the social context of engineering, but also in new NSF requirements that proposals for research projects must include a description of their societal relevance (NSF evaluation criterion 2). In a general discussion, NAS member W. Carl Lineberger, Univer- sity of Colorado, Boulder, commented that â. . . we really do have a wonderful opportunity. . . . Iâve been going around, talking to various groups of chemists about . . . how can they do a better job on broader impacts [NSF criterion 2] . . . I believe you have a very large number of receptive people to pay attention to ethics via this broader impacts mechanism, because itâs going to affect them in a very serious way.â Throughout the discussions, meeting participants noted that organi- zations that fund research and employ scientists and engineers encour- age interdisciplinary work and teamwork. However, they also noted that academic incentives for advancement favor individual work. Thus, these incentives should be revised to acknowledge and reward collabora- tive and cooperative efforts. Professional societies, government funding organizations, and universities can cooperate on workshops to promote ethics, prizes for outstanding ethical leadership, and changes to the t Â enure process that reward outstanding mentors, for example. Several workshop participants described substantial barriers to the See for instance Vaughan, D. âThe Dark Side of Organizations: Mistake, Misconduct and ÂDisasterâ, Annual Review of Sociology, 25 (1999): 271-305. Also, Anderson, M. S., Ronning, E. A., De Vries, R., and Martinson, B. C. (2007). The perverse effects of competition on scientistsâ work and relationships. Science and Engineering Ethics, 13(4), 437-461. ABET Inc., the recognized accrediting agency for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology, is a federation of 29 professional and technical societies representing these fields. See www.abet.org. The NSF Grant Proposal Guide provides the NSF review criteria concerning societal relevance; see particularly http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/gpg/broaderimpacts.pdf. For recent notification of inten- tion to address ethics, see also http://www.nsf.gov/oirm/bocomm/bo/bfa_updates_handout2final_ 27may08.pdf.
ETHICS EDUCATION AND SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING RESEARCH development of new incentives and suggested that change would be more likely in the long run if faculty achievements in professional Âethics activities were incorporated into tenure decisions. In the meantime, recognition for collaborative and cooperative work could be reinforced by prizes given by organizations for outstanding ethical leadership or graduate and postdoctoral workshops in science and engineering ethics sponsored by the National Academies and other professional societies. Overall, the workshop participants indicated that ethics mentoring and education should include interactions between scientists and engi- neers and the larger environment in which they work, and should include discussions of how the environment affects, and sometimes changes, research and professional practices. As an example of these Âinteractions, Mark Frankel, AAAS, noted how conflicts of interest can pose chal- lenges to issues of authorship. Some time ago, he said, only Âresearchers and professional organizations paid attention to authorship issues. How- ever, with todayâs complex funding arrangements for research, the issue of authorship has taken on a much broader relevance. Many attendees agreed that values, such as shared standards and transparency, can promote public trust in the work and intentions of scientists and engineers. These values, they said, should be topics of dis- cussion in science and engineering ethics programs. These values pro- vide an overall coherent focus for these activities. However, they also pointed out that differences between science and engineering, as well as field-specific differences within them, should also be taken into account in research ethics activities. This is especially important because many scientific and engineering research projects today involve researchers from different disciplines and subfields, which might have different standards. The differences and similarities should be identified and, if necessary, justified. As one participant indicated, these differences may reflect ethically acceptable differences, with similar underlying Âethical values that require discussion to resolve. Standards for authorship credit provide an example. Numerous participants commented that these particularities can limit the utility of generic communications, or rules meant to cover numerous fields. They also noted that ethics education in electronic or lecture formats, which are limited to one-way communication, are less effective because they do not allow for the kinds of deliberation and discussion of ethical problems and practices that can create shared standards and transparency. Attendees discussed how research on interactions between science, engineering and the larger social context, whether approached from the
THE ENVIRONMENT FOR SCIENCE AND ENGINERING point of view of science and technology studies, social and behavioral sciences, history, philosophy, or social ethics, can shed light on the e Â thical implications of the organization of scientific and engineering work and how ethical considerations arise in the everyday work of sci- entists and engineers. They also noted the importance of leadership from the science and engineering communities (e.g., the National Academies, AAAS, and scientific and engineering societies in specific fields) in rais- ing the visibility of these issues. Some discussants pointed out that research on the interactions between science and engineering and the larger social environment can not only help to identify ethical considerations relevant to conducting research; but it can also identify other aspects of professional conduct that can influence whether junior scientists and engineers continue in career paths that include research and teaching or decide to pursue other career goals. For instance, acknowledging and ameliorating Âfactors that result in hyper-competition in a department may raise retention rates; a seminar led by a faculty member from a small college may demonstrate the desirability of an alternative pathway.