Ethics and Research

  • Barry G. BlundellEmail author


Pure and applied research in both the sciences and humanities has played a pivotal role in human advancement. Unfortunately, over the years there are many instances of researchers who have pursued their goals in ethically undesirable ways. Here we consider this to not only embrace the ways in which they have achieved their ends, but also in respect of a lack of consideration as to the potential ramifications of their direction of travel. In this chapter we provide examples of research work which have caused harm to participants and examine ways in which conformance with rules governing informed consent can be manipulated—especially when the most vulnerable members of society are targeted. We also consider aspects of experimentation involving animals. To what extent do the medical, scientific, and technology communities have an ethically-based responsibility to override traditional approaches (and organisations which have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo) and develop technological solutions which alleviate the need to inflict suffering on sentient creatures? Should pharmaceutical companies be able to conduct trials on human participants in countries which have lax legislation (and/or enforcement standards) and deliberately select those who are particularly vulnerable? To what extent are ethical considerations cast to one side when conducting research that has the potential to create a major revenue stream?


Experimentation and exploitation Informed consent manipulation Nuremberg trial Nuremberg code Research and responsibility Animal experimentation Mars climate orbiter crash Mars polar lander crash Medical experimentation and exploitation Experimentation and ethics Eugenics  


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ManchesterUK

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