Accession Number:



Ethics in Scientific Research: An Examination of Ethical Principles and Emerging Topics

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

RAND Corporation Santa Monica United States

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Scientific research ethics vary by discipline and by country, and this study sought to understand those variations. Our team reviewed literature from across scientific disciplines and conducted interviews with experts in the United States, Europe, and China. Our analysis led to an understanding of which ethics are common across disciplines, how these ethics might vary geographically, and how emerging topics are shaping future ethics. We focused on the ethics of scientific research and how the research is conducted, rather than on how the research is applied. This distinction excluded from our research an analysis of so-called dual use applications for military purposes. Our literature review of more than 200 documents led us to identify ten ethical principles that are generally common from one scientific discipline to another, shown in Table S.1.We found that these principles often can be traced to such foundational documents as the Nuremberg Code in 1947, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights1948, the Declaration of Helsinki 1968, the European Charter of Fundamental Rights 2000, and others.

Subject Categories:

  • Information Science
  • Biomedical Instrumentation and Bioengineering
  • Sociology and Law

Distribution Statement: