Original Paper


, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 215-220

First online:

Speak No Evil: Scientists, Responsibility, and the Public Understanding of Science

  • Nicholas G. EvansAffiliated withCentre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Australian National University Email author 

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In this paper, I will discuss the responsibilities that scientists have for ensuring their work is interpreted correctly. I will argue that there are three good reasons for scientists to work to ensure the appropriate communication of their findings. First, I will argue that scientists have a general obligation to ensure scientific research is communicated properly based on the vulnerability of others to the misrepresentation of their work. Second, I will argue that scientists have a special obligation to do so because of the power we as a society invest in them as specialists and professionals. Finally, I will argue that scientists ought to ensure their work is interpreted correctly based on prudential, self-interested considerations. I will conclude by offering suggestions regarding policy considerations.


Responsibility Applied ethics Ethics of science Ethics of technology Communication Vulnerability Science communication