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Rethinking Research Ethics

Rethinking Research Ethics Contemporary research ethics policies started with reflection on the atrocities perpetrated upoconcentration camp inmates by Nazi doctors. Apparently, as a consequence of that experience, the policies that now guide human subject research focus on the protection of human subjects by making informed consent the centerpiece of regulatory attention. I take the choice of context for policy design, the initial prioritization of informed consent, and several associated conceptual missteps, to have set research ethics off in the wrong direction. The aim of this paper is to sort out these confusions and their implications and to offer instead a straightforward framework for considering the ethical conduct of human subject research. In the course of this discussion I clarify different senses of autonomy that have been confounded and present more intelligible justifications for informed consent. I also take issue with several of the now accepted dogmas that govern research ethics. These include: the primacy of informed consent, the protection of the vulnerable, the substitution of beneficence for research's social purpose, and the introduction of an untenable distinction between innovation and research. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Journal of Bioethics Taylor & Francis

Rethinking Research Ethics

American Journal of Bioethics , Volume 5 (1): 22 – Jan 1, 2005
22 pages

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References (75)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1536-0075
eISSN
1526-5161
DOI
10.1080/15265160590900678
pmid
16036651
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Contemporary research ethics policies started with reflection on the atrocities perpetrated upoconcentration camp inmates by Nazi doctors. Apparently, as a consequence of that experience, the policies that now guide human subject research focus on the protection of human subjects by making informed consent the centerpiece of regulatory attention. I take the choice of context for policy design, the initial prioritization of informed consent, and several associated conceptual missteps, to have set research ethics off in the wrong direction. The aim of this paper is to sort out these confusions and their implications and to offer instead a straightforward framework for considering the ethical conduct of human subject research. In the course of this discussion I clarify different senses of autonomy that have been confounded and present more intelligible justifications for informed consent. I also take issue with several of the now accepted dogmas that govern research ethics. These include: the primacy of informed consent, the protection of the vulnerable, the substitution of beneficence for research's social purpose, and the introduction of an untenable distinction between innovation and research.

Journal

American Journal of BioethicsTaylor & Francis

Published: Jan 1, 2005

Keywords: research; ethics; vulnerable; informed consent; autonomy; beneficence; social purpose

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