Monday, September 17, 2007

A Code of Ethics

Does your profession have a code of ethics?

If you don't subscribe to a code of ethics, do you think it might help if one existed? Would you behave better? Would you turn to the code to help you evaluate with ethical isues?

These are the issues in Britain surrounding a proposed code of ethics for scientists:

  • Act with skill and care, keep skills up to date
  • Prevent corrupt practice and declare conflicts of interest
  • Respect and acknowledge the work of other scientists
  • Ensure that research is justified and lawful
  • Minimise impacts on people, animals and the environment
  • Discuss issues science raises for society
  • Do not mislead; present evidence honestly
These principles sound fairly basic, so basic in fact that the Ethical Paleontologist suggests a simplification: Don't be a dick.

I try not to use male and female genitalia terms pejoratively, but that works for me.