This week we were to think about scholarly integrity. In her book, Barbara Killinger describes integrity as the qualification of being honest and having strong moral principles, or moral uprightness. Drawing on her clinical practice and pioneering efforts in workaholism, Dr Killinger describe it as a generally a personal choice to hold oneself to consistent moral and ethical standards.
In my view while many of the academic filters and institutions (e.g. Institutional Review Board (IRB)) try to safeguard ethical issues in research, yet in many cases the moral aspects are undermined and lost as a consequence of many conditions namely obsession, narcissism, and workaholism as killinger mentions.
A couple of months ago, for example, there was a call for participation in a lab experiment, where according to the its ad the volunteers were expected to follow a certain diet for 5 days. what had not been mentioned in the ad was the fact that each volunteer had to go through a muscle biopsy 6 times! this is not the immoral part, since this information was provided in the consent form;however, what in my view is immoral is “if injured as a result of your participation in this study” there would be no compensation! My main problem here is that in the advertisement they mention “up to $400 compensation” for participation but they do not say anything about the processes and the risks. In the consent form too, the participants cannot clearly understand what is the risk percentage!
In other words, volunteers cannot make a rational decision based on the ethically- approved consent form. Students/volunteers who might be allured by the “$400 compensation” phrase might not be able to guess how much would it cost them to cure the future injuries caused by this study. Therefore, while I deeply doubt that this IRB-approved consent form is ethical, I am definitely sure, based on my standards, this kind of research advertisement is morally wrong.