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Monday, February 11, 2019

Recent events highlight an unpleasant scientific practice: ethics dumping

Science and Technology
The Economist
Originally published January 2019

Here is an excerpt:

Ethics dumping is the carrying out by researchers from one country (usually rich, and with strict regulations) in another (usually less well off, and with laxer laws) of an experiment that would not be permitted at home, or of one that might be permitted, but in a way that would be frowned on. The most worrisome cases involve medical research, in which health, and possibly lives, are at stake. But other investigations—anthropological ones, for example—may also be carried out in a more cavalier fashion abroad. As science becomes more international the risk of ethics dumping, both intentional and unintentional, has risen. The suggestion in this case is that Dr He was encouraged and assisted in his project by a researcher at an American university.

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