Research Ethics Timeline (1932-Present)

by David B. Resnik, J.D., Ph.D.

• 1932-1972 The Tuskegee Syphilis Study, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health. Studied the effects of untreated syphilis in 400 African American men. Researchers withheld treatment even when penicillin became widely available. Researchers did not tell the subjects that they were in an experiment. Most subjects who attended the Tuskegee clinic thought they were getting treatment for "bad blood."
• 1939-45 German scientists conduct research on concentration camp prisoners.
• 1940 O.R. Two Nazi refugee scientists, Frisch and R.E. Peierls, warn the U.S. about Germany's nuclear weapons program. Albert Einstein writes a letter to Pres. Truman warning him about the Nazi threat. Read more ...

More General Interest links

As engineers, we must consider the ethical implications of our work

Link recommended by Lindsay Brull
Engineering ethics are mostly technical: how to design properly, how to not cut corners, and how to serve our clients well. Photograph: Bloomberg

One aspect of Edward Snowden's revelations in the Guardian about the NSA's surveillance activities has received less attention than it should. The algorithms that extract highly specific information from an otherwise impenetrable amount of data have been conceived and built by flesh and blood, engineers with highly sophisticated technical knowledge. Did they know the use to which their algorithms would be put? If not, should they have been mindful of the potential for misuse? Either way, should they be held partly responsible or were they just "doing their job"? Read more ...

More Professional Responsibility links

Genetic engineering of animals: Ethical issues, including welfare concerns

By Elisabeth H. Ormandy, Julie Dale, Gilly Griffin
Link recommended by Ashik Khatri

The genetic engineering of animals has increased significantly in recent years, and the use of this technology brings with it ethical issues, some of which relate to animal welfare — defined by the World Organisation for Animal Health as “the state of the animal…how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives” (1). These issues need to be considered by all stakeholders, including veterinarians, to ensure that all parties are aware of the ethical issues at stake and can make a valid contribution to the current debate regarding the creation and use of genetically engineered animals. Read more ...

More links on Human and Animal Experimentation

Case Study: Should you listen to a peer reviewer?

Link recommended by Stefan Madansingh

ORI will soon release a series of RCR case studies edited by Dr. James Dubois of St. Louis Univerity. The creation of the case studies was funded through ORI's RCR Resource Development program and involved a team of nearly 20 writers, contributors, and reviewers. These well-crafted case studies, along with role playing scenarios, will be available for instructors to incorporate into their institutions' RCR training programs. Below is one of many case studies that will be available. Read more ...

More links on Authorship and Peer Review