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Clin Transl Sci. 2013 Jun;6(3):201-3. doi: 10.1111/cts.12035. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

Teaching research ethics better: focus on excellent science, not bad scientists.

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  • 1Bioethics Program, University of California, Davis Medical School, CA, USA.


A recent report of the United States' Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues highlights how important it is for the research community to enjoy the "earned confidence" of the public and how creating a "culture of responsibility" can contribute to that confidence. It identifies a major role for "creative, flexible, and innovative" ethics education in creating such a culture. Other recent governmental reports from various nations similarly call for a renewed emphasis on ethics education in the sciences. We discuss why some common approaches to ethics education in the graduate sciences fail to meet the goals envisioned in the reports and we describe an approach, animated by primary attention on excellent science as opposed to bad scientists, that we have employed in our ethics teaching that we think is better suited for inspiring and sustaining responsible, trustworthy science.

© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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