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NanoEthics

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 187–192 | Cite as

Transatlantic Divergences in Citizen Science Ethics—Comparative Analysis of the DIYbio Code of Ethics Drafts of 2011

  • Kathleen EgglesonEmail author
Critical Discussion Notes

Abstract

Codes of ethics were drafted by participants in the European and North American Congresses of DIYbio, a single global organization of informal biotechnology practitioners, in 2011. In general, the existence of a code of ethics amongst a community is itself significant. Codes of professional ethics are common in scientific and engineering fields, as well as in DIY communities. It is also significant, and highly unusual, that DIYbio has maintained two separate codes of ethics years after their drafting. While agreement was reached within the congress for each geographic region, with considerable commonality between the two codes drafted, they are far from identical. There are differences in the ordering of items, the wording of common items, and the presence/absence of items. I will argue that these differences are meaningful, and consider them with respect to cultural variation, ethics, and societal implications. Finally, I recommend that the entire DIYbio organization unite under a single code of ethics, and that one of the existing drafts is superior to the other for this purpose.

Keywords

Biocomplexity Biohacker Biotinker Citizen science Code of ethics DIYbio iGEM Open access Synthetic biology Transatlantic 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Nano Science and TechnologyUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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