Research Ethics Roundup: Calls for more inclusive research participation recruitment, a shift in animal research-related attacks, and more

The days are growing longer, spring is approaching, and before you can say Research Ethics Roundup, the crocuses will be emerging! Shake off the long winter and dig into some recent news stories on topics related to research ethics and oversight.

More African Americans Need to Participate in Clinical Trials: David Satcher, an honorary chairman of the African American Network Against Alzheimer’s and a former Surgeon General of the United States, highlights the importance of overcoming distrust and increasing African American enrollment in clinical trials in this op-ed for The Washington Post.

Shift in Animal Research-Related Attacks: The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology released a new report outlining a shift in the focus of extreme animal rights activists from targeting universities in the 1990s to individuals, business partners, and investors more recently. The report also suggests ways that individuals and organizations can communicate with the public and protect against harassment and violence.

Cancer Science Leans More on Industry Funds: With federal funding shrinking, many institutions that conduct cancer research are faced with increasing reliance on funding from pharmaceutical companies. Some researchers have expressed concern about the potential implications of this shift, including more research geared toward producing immediate, practical outcomes, and less basic research.

Scientific Research Must Take Gender Into Account: In a column for Nature, Londa Schiebinger, a history of science professor at Stanford University, explains why the inclusion of gender analysis is necessary in research. Dr. Schiebinger advocates incorporating sex and gender differences throughout the research process—from  setting  priorities to  taking  a drug to market.


Up to 1000 NIH Investigators Dropped Out Last Year: After remaining fairly steady for about a decade, new data suggests that the number of investigators conducting research with National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding dropped sharply last year by between 500 and 1000. While the decrease is not unexpected given decreases in NIH’s budget last year, the decline does suggest that a long-anticipated reduction in the number of laboratories being supported by NIH has begun.