Belmont Report

— Just as the principle of respect for persons finds expression in the requirements for consent, and the principle of beneficence in risk/benefit assessment, the principle of justice gives rise to moral requirements that there be fair procedures and outcomes in the selection of research subjects. Risks and benefits of research may affect the individual subjects, the families of the individual subjects, and society at large . Previous codes and Federal regulations have required that risks to subjects be outweighed by the sum of both the anticipated benefit to the subject, if any, and the anticipated benefit to society in the form of knowledge to be gained from the research. In balancing these different elements, the risks and benefits affecting the immediate research subject will normally carry special weight. On the other hand, interests other than those of the subject may on some occasions be sufficient by themselves to justify the risks involved in the research, so long as the subjects’ rights have been protected. Beneficence thus requires that we protect against risk of harm to subjects and also that we be concerned about the loss of the substantial benefits that might be gained from research.

On the one hand, it would seem that the principle of respect for persons requires that prisoners not be deprived of the opportunity to volunteer for research. On the other hand, under prison conditions they may be subtly coerced or unduly influenced to engage in research activities for which they would not otherwise volunteer. Whether to allow prisoners to “volunteer” or to “protect” them presents a dilemma. Respecting persons, in most hard cases, is often a matter of balancing competing claims urged by the principle of respect itself. Although Belmont acknowledged the concern that research should not be limited to populations convenient for the researcher, its consideration of justice mainly examined the exploitation of vulnerable subjects.

The selection of the study location, method of recruitment (e.g., online vs. phone vs. in-person), and whether study documents are available in languages other than English are just a few of the study design decisions that can impact the equitable selection of subject. Researchers should be able to explain why their choices are appropriate for the study. Belmont is explicitly about balance; the question to SACHRP is how to balance existing protections against exploitation with equally important protections against inappropriate exclusion. Obviously, researchers in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study violated all three of these principles, as participants were lied to about their condition, lied to about the treatment they were receiving, and selected based on race, gender, and economic class. Beneficence means the all test subjects must be told of all possible risks as well as benefits of the treatment they agree to undergo.

The researcher also invites subjects’ significant others to be a part of the focus group. A faculty member makes identifiable data about sexual behavior available to graduate students, although the subjects were assured that the data would be de-identified. I think you can argue that this is a good thing, but I think it is also a bad thing. In a way that is not so much the case in regards to the use of prisoners in research, but it is certainly a concern, because it means that there is a lot of bad things happening, and a lot of those bad things are likely to be happening to innocent people. The biggest problem for prisoners is that they aren’t allowed to get away with it. This is not because they are incarcerated, it’s because they have been convicted of certain crimes.

Cash-flows in order to prove that discounting correctly represents changes of utility-values in time. Reacting on ethical criticism, economic theory tends to draw a sharp line between intra- and inter-generational discounting. This is ethically unacceptable as the composition of any generation is arbitrary. Therefore, many intra-generational problems can be reformulated as inter-generational problems summerwind blog and vice versa. Today’s ongoing debate within the scientific community and outright arguments among scientists, ethicists, religious leaders, governments, and others about human cloning illustrates the ongoing need for both dialog and restraint. Individuals may post private identifiable information about themselves on-line without intending it to be public and available to researchers.

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