On (scientific) integrity: conceptual clarification
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The notion of “integrity” is currently quite common and broadly recognized as complex, mostly due to its recurring and diverse application in various distinct domains such as the physical, psychic or moral, the personal or professional, that of the human being or of the totality of beings. Nevertheless, its adjectivation imprints a specific meaning, as happens in the case of “scientific integrity”. This concept has been defined mostly by via negativa, by pointing out what goes against integrity, that is, through the identification of its infringements, which has also not facilitated the elaboration of an overarching and consensual code of scientific integrity. In this context, it is deemed necessary to clarify the notion of “integrity”, first etymologically, recovering the original meaning of the term, and then in a specifically conceptual way, through the identification of the various meanings with which the term can be legitimately used, particularly in the domain of scientific research and innovation. These two steps are fundamental and indispensable for a forthcoming attempt at systematizing the requirements of “scientific integrity”.
KeywordsIntegrity Bioethics Scientific research Virtues Duties Scientific integrity
This paper was produced as a base for discussion of the Declaration of scientific integrity on responsible research and innovation, presented by the UNESCO Chairs in Bioethics of the Catholic University of Portugal (UCP) and the University of Barcelona, in October 2016, authored by Maria Casado, M. Patrão Neves, Itziar Lecuona, Ana Sofia Carvalho, Joana Araújo, to whom I thank for the inputs.
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