Introduction to the Ethics of Scientific Conflict of Interest (COI)

Committee monograph (2020) by Patrick Knerr and Ronald P. D’Amelia

Ethics consists of the fundamental issues of practical decision making, such as the standards by which human actions can be judged right or wrong and how to prioritize competing values.  Scientific progress necessitates the ethical conduct of research.  A basic working definition of COI is a situation in which a secondary interest, such as financial or other personal considerations, has the potential to unduly influence the primary interest of objectivity in research conduct.

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Professional Ethics and Chemical Safety

It may seem at first glance that there is no connection between ethics and safety. After all, “safety” implies a list of rules and regulations that we are required to follow to protect ourselves and everyone around us. These rules and regulations often have legal standing and are more than just a collection of best practices that have been compiled over the years by competent and concerned chemical professional for the betterment of their profession. Ethics, in contrast, seems sort of “fuzzy”; some people think one answer is right, some people disagree. In fact, we often observe that good people can have fundamental disagreements on individual issues of professional ethics.

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The Importance of Ethical Conduct in Scientific Research

Committee monograph (2017) by Laurence Doemeny and Patrick Knerr

To become good throughout one’s career, and indeed throughout one’s life, is not a journey with a defined end point, but a continuous process that requires integrity, honesty, and frequent self-reflection.  In the field of scientific research, both innovation and accurate reporting of information are critical to society, and society implicitly trusts scientists and researchers to be ethical and honest in their work. The need for data reliability has become even more profound as technology advances at an ever increasing rate.

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Case Studies for Chemistry Ethics Education

The case studies presented in this link are designed to be used as part of ethics education in chemistry.

Credit Where Credit is Due: Respecting Authorship and Intellectual Property

ACS Symposium Series book (2018) edited by Patricia Ann Mabrouk and Judith N. Currano

This volume is based on the symposium “The Write Thing to Do: Ethical Considerations in Authorship & the Assignment of Credit” held at the 253rd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

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The Chemist's Code of Conduct

The Chemical Professional’s Code of Conduct was approved by the ACS Council on March 16, 1994, and replaces The Chemist’s Creed, which was first published in 1965.  The Chemical Professional’s Code of Conduct was most recently updated on August 28, 2019.

The American Chemical Society expects its members to adhere to the highest ethical and safety  standards, as detailed in the link above.

Elements of Ethics for Physical Scientists

Book (2017) by Sandra C. Greer

A guide to the everyday decisions about right and wrong faced by physical scientists and research engineers.

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Voicing our Values

Lockheed Martin is a leading global security and aerospace company.  They have a focus on ethics in their company that is reflected in their website:

PBS Series-- Playing by the Rules: Ethics at Work

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has a series of programs on ethics in the workplace.  Here is a link to their first episode.

Ethics in Chemistry

Magazine article (2018) by Nina Notman

Should chemists be giving more consideration to the ethics of their research?  A discussion of some of the many ethical considerations a chemist might encounter during his/her professional career.

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