Citizen Science and Biomedical Research: Implications for Bioethics Theory and Practice

Chris W Callaghan
Informing Science: The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline  •  Volume 19  •  2016  •  pp. 325-343
Certain trends in scientific research have important relevance to bioethics theory and practice. A growing stream of literature relates to increasing transparency and inclusivity of populations (stakeholders) in scientific research, from high volume data collection, synthesis, and analysis to verification and ethical scrutiny. The emergence of this stream of literature has implications for bioethics theory and practice. This paper seeks to make explicit these streams of literature and to relate these to bioethical issues, through consideration of certain extreme examples of scientific research where bioethical engagement is vital. Implications for theory and practice are derived, offering useful insights derived from multidisciplinary theory. Arguably, rapidly developing fields of citizen science such as informing science and others seeking to maximise stakeholder involvement in both research and bioethical engagement have emerged as a response to these types of issues; radically enhanced stakeholder engagement in science may herald a new maximally inclusive and transparent paradigm in bioethics based on lessons gained from exposure to increasingly uncertain ethical contexts of biomedical research.
biomedical ethics, citizen science, informing science, probabilistic innovation, crowdsourcing, transparency, scientific inclusiveness
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