, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 221-226
Date: 29 Mar 2012

Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Christine C. Grady, Robert A. Crouch, Reidar K. Lie, Franklin G. Miller, and David D. Wendler (eds.): The Oxford Textbook of Clinical Research Ethics

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When is clinical research ethical? The difficulty in answering this question lies in the dual nature of research on human subjects, which yields two somewhat conflicting sets of obligations. On the one hand, there is the traditional view of science that includes the idea of an obligation to learn about the world. On the other hand, there is the obligation of care on the part of researchers towards individual participants in the research.

The Oxford Textbook of Clinical Research Ethics is an attempt by many scholars—over 85 contributing authors—to reflect on this difficult and important subject. The book’s editors—six researchers, all but one from the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health—were ambitious in the scope and organization of the material. The editors wanted to structure the material in a manner such that its content followed “the logical sequence of development of clinical research protocols, and therefore of the ethical issues that have to be considered