Punxsutawney Phil predicted that spring will come early this year, so to celebrate we’ve brought together the latest stories in the world of research ethics! In this Research Ethics Roundup installment, learn about burgeoning discussion of the use of placebos in developing countries, recent reports of government agencies funding redundant protocols, and much more!
Ethical controversy in human subjects research: The use of placebo as a control in clinical trials is typically considered unethical if an effective treatment for the condition under study already exists. However, in resource-scarce countries, individuals outside of clinical trials may not have access to those treatments. This blog post from Ruth Macklin, PhD, considers whether the standard of care against which new treatments are compared should be universal or specific to the resources available within the country where the research is taking place.
Humane transport of research animals: In this post from the blog Bill of Health, Suzanne Rivera, PhD, argues that airline companies should not succumb to pressure from animal rights activists to ban the transport of research animals. According to the author, airline travel is the most humane means to transport animals for medical research. She argues that a ban on research animal transport not only causes unnecessary harm to the animals, but also hinders research which may benefit animals and humans alike.
Twice the price: This editorial from Nature comments on two recent articles alleging that many federally funded studies bear remarkable similarity to other federally funded protocols. The post cites the lack of a centralized list of government-funded studies and poor reporting procedures as possible explanations for the duplicated efforts.
The unfair sex: men ‘are behind most research misconduct’: A recent study has found evidence suggesting that men are disproportionately more likely to commit scientific misconduct than their female colleagues reports Times Higher Education. The data suggests that the greatest disparity occurs within academia, where men represent 70 percent of faculty in the life sciences, but account for 88 percent of misconduct.
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