Working Group on Ethical Considerations in Scholarship and Science

EXECUTIVE:

Chair: C.C. (Kelly) Gotlieb

Secretary: Ken Burkhardt

Treasurer: Eric Fawcett

Research Director: Craig Summers

Members-at large: Colin Soskolne, Jim Prentice

PURPOSE: To promote the adoption of ethical codes and guidelines in scientific, engineering, and other societies, and to encourage mechanisms to make them effective in practice.

CO-SPONSORS: Scientific and professional societies will be invited to co-sponsor the Working Group, including in particular the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Association of University Teachers. Science for Peace is the parent organization.

PILOT PROJECT: The Working Group undertook as its first task to make a comparison of the Elements of Codes of Ethics enunciated in the The Toronto Resolution (TTR) and with the codes of the 70 Ontario organizations previously compiled by the Research Director. We intend then to approach the individual scientific, scholarly and professional organizations with the results of our survey, and point out constructively ways in which their existing codes might be made more comprehensive and effective. In due course we hope to extend our work by considering organizations in North America, and international organizations, and also by approaching individual scientists and scholars (see Note a).

Notes:

a. Mark Frankl of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) informed Colin Soskolne that his Committee on Scientific Freedom, Responsibility and Law is embarking on a major project to publish in a series of volumes codes of ethics of scientific and engineering societies of North America. His letter to Executive Officers of such societies and a short questionnaire are appended (A). It was noted that this survey will provide the data-base for the eventual extension of our survey, for which the present Ontario survey is a pilot project.

b. “Accountability in Research”, a journal published by Gordon and Breach, is publishing a paper entitled “Working Group on Ethical Considerations in Scholarship and Science”. The Toronto Resolution (Preamble, Elements of Codes of Ethics, Genesis) will thus be available in a referenced journal. [see the final version The Toronto Resolution on this site]

Colin Soskolne, while on his short-term assignment with the World Health Organization (WHO), has been promoting TTR by encouraging that the 12 principles be included in a textbook (in development) on Environmental Epidemiology. He is integrating the principles into enviroepidemiology training materials, and will ensure that TTR is provided to the CIONS (Council of International Organizations on Medical Sciences) group at WHO.

(Appendices A and B are available from the secretary on request.)