Ethics Within Science”The public will support science only if it can trust the scientists and institutions that conduct research.” (Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, 2002). Scientists are expected to follow the highest standards of ethics and integrity in undertaking their research. Scientific research and endeavour form the cornerstone of modern society and involve large sums of private and public investment. Advances in science drive improvements in healthcare, enhanced understanding of the natural world and technological advances. The integrity of scientific knowledge rests on individual and collective responsibilities of the researcher, research organisations, funders and publishers (Acedemics of Engineering Medicine, 2017). Ethics is a branch of philosophy which describes the conduct of people in terms of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour (Shah, 2011). Research ethics arose from the need to use human-beings in medical research. Following the second world war criminal proceedings were taken against Nazi physicians who participated in war-crimes and crimes against humanity. This trial established the Nuremberg code in 1948 and catalysed the development of professional codes and laws to protect the human rights in research (Oddi and Cassidy, 1990). Further research ethics declarations followed, and the most widely recognised statement was the Helsinki declaration of 1964. The current version of the Declaration of Helsinki (World Medical Association, 2014) is the World Medical Association’s (WMA) best-known policy statement and mainly deals with medical research.In the UK a code was drawn up by the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir David King in the publication: Rigour, Respect, Responsibility: a Universal Ethical Code for Scientists (Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, 2007). The code is a public statement of a consensus which highlights the values and responsibilities of scientists and sets out 3 main aims: 1) to encourage ethical research, 2) to challenge scientists to consider the impact of their work and 3) to support a dialogue between scientists and the public on difficult and challenging issues. While the code is not mandatory there is a strong perception that individual scientists and their organisations should reflect on andLife 731 Ethics Within Science 201026046discuss how the guidelines relate to their scientific work. Other organisations within the UK haveestablished similar principles for research ethics including the Royal Society, major funders (WellcomeTrust, BBSRC, Medical Research Council) and the UK Research Integrity Office (UKRIO) which is a UKUniversities hosted umbrella organisation which has the support of several UK organisations withinterests in research.The key pillars of the Universal Ethical Code for Scientists (UK Government) are rigour, respect andresponsibility. Rigour reflects an individual scientist’s academic work highlighting how vital up to datescientific skills, honesty and integrity are to the scientific process. This includes an individualresponsibility to prevent unethical practice and have an awareness of the interactions between anindividual’s research and that of others including funders and society. An individual scientist mustrespect the life, the law and the public ensuring that adverse impacts on human subjects, animal andthe wider environment are justified and minimised. Finally, responsibility with communication to notmislead the public or academic community, present data and findings honestly while discussing issuesthat science raises within wider society. Failure to adhere to these three pillars is not mandatory butrepresents an ethical approach to scientific research. Similar advice has been produced by the RoyalSociety UK including excellence, accountability, transparency and responsiveness. The Royal Societyreiterated that research ethics and integrity are not an “optional extra” or a “regulatory burden” butan integral part of good research (The Royal Society, 2017).A series of high-profile cases from the United States (US) in which falsification, data fabrication andplagiarism were alleged or investigated led to the publication of ‘Responsible Science: Ensuringthe Integrity of the Research Process’ in 1992 (National Research Council, 2002). This reportrecommended specific steps to reinforce responsible research and highlighted three categories ofbehaviour that can compromise the integrity of the research and scientific process. Firstly, misconductin science was defined as “fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, orLife 731 Ethics Within Science 201026046reporting research.” Secondly. questionable research practices were defined as “actions that violatetraditional values of the research enterprise and that may be detrimental to the research process.”Lastly, other misconduct was defined as “forms of unacceptable behaviour that are clearly not uniqueto the conduct of science, although they may occur in the laboratory or research environment.” Thereare therefore well established powerful incentives and frameworks for individual scientists and forresearch institutions to adhere to; and scientists and institutions are expected to reflect on and debatehow these guidelines may relate to their own work. However, despite this evolving and reactiveframework there have been many high-profile cases in which the integrity of science has been erodedand many of these cases have hit social media and the mainstream press.A number of these high profile cases have been in the field of stem cell research including the work ofHwang Woo-Suk at Seoul National University (Stem Cell Bioethics, 2017) as well as Haruko Obokataand Yoshiki Sasai from the Riken research group in Japan (Cyranoski, 2014; Goodyear, 2016) have ledto the retractions of publications with personal and professional repercussions to the individual, theirinstitutes, the funders and the scientific publishers. The Hwang Woo-Suk fraud case in 2005 shockedthe scientific community and was one of the greatest cases of misconduct in the history of science(van der Heyden, van de Ven and Opthof, 2009). Two breakthrough articles about stem cell biologypublished in Science, appeared to be almost completely fabricated and were therefore retracted (D.Kennedy, 2006): Evidence of a pluripotent human embryonic stem cell line derived from a clonedblastocyst (Hwang et al., 2004) and Patient-specific embryonic stem cells derived from human SCNTblastocysts (Hwang et al., 2005).These papers instigated a debate about the role of individuals, authors, reviewers and editors do toprevent fraud in scientific research (Kennedy, 2006). The investigation of the research group practicesfollowing the initial fabrication allegation (Bhattacharya, 2006) revealed that several ethics violationswere committed by the Hwang research team members during the course of their research. In 2009,Hwang was convicted of embezzling research funds and illegally buying human eggs for his research.Life 731 Ethics Within Science 201026046Among many ethical failures was the inappropriate manner in which the team persuaded women todonate their eggs for research and many had not given valid, informed consent, and nearly 75% ofthem reported that they were given cash or enticed by various financial incentives (Baylis, 2009). Evenmore disturbing was the fact that some of the women who provided eggs were infertile patients whohad agreed to donate any excess eggs following their fertility treatment. Higher quality eggs werestored for research while lower quality eggs were used to treat the woman donor or patient (Baylis,2009). There were also concerns about undue and unethical pressure applied to junior members ofthe research team when it was discovered that at least two of the egg donors were junior membersof Hwang’s research team; one of whom was a PhD student and appeared as a co-author of the 2004Science paper (Kim, 2009). In many ways this betrayal of the rights of patients, co-workers and humanbeings far outweighs the charge of research fabrication and echoes back to the violations of Nazidoctors and scientists which lead to the Nuremberg code in 1948. Woo Suk Hwang was handed a 2-year suspended prison sentence in 2009 for embezzlement and bioethics law violations. How did thescientific community respond?Woo-Suk Hwang is still active in scientific research and even published manuscripts on behalf of SeoulNational University in 2006. Currently, he is conducting research in a private research facility in SouthKorea (Wohn, 2006) and although his research does not focus on human stem cell technology, he isworking on porcine oocytes (Jeong et al., 2008). This represents an ethical dilemma: can the scientificcommunity trust one of its members in the future if they have committed a serious crime includingdata fabrication and unethical behaviour? It also raises the issue of punishment and consequences ofacademic fraud and violating human rights. Some commentators felt the scientific community merelyshrugged it shoulders and continued on (Gottweis and Triendl, 2006), while others argued it hasincreased attention on research ethics (Normile, 2009) and the Hwang scandal proved that thescientific community could would police itself as the whistle blowers who exposed Professor Hwangwere from his own research team (AsiaNews.it, 2009).Life 731 Ethics Within Science 201026046Subsequent high-profile cases in the field of stem cell research question this conclusion (Cyranoski,2014; Cook, 2017). In 2012, an anonymous tipster exposed publication errors and fabrication in SeoulNational University stem cell researcher Soo Kyung Kang, leading to the retraction of four papers withfurther papers under investigation (Retraction Watch, 2012).Furthermore, one of the biggest scientific fraud scandals occurred at the Riken Center forDevelopmental Biology in Kobe, Japan (Cyranoski, 2014). A research misconduct investigation focusedon two papers concerning methods to generate stem cells published in the prestigious journal Natureand attracted significant scientific and media attention. These papers included plagiarised text,misidentified images and misreported data. Haruko Obokata, who was performed the studies andwrote the manuscripts, was found guilty of falsifying data. While his supervision and laboratory head,Yoshiki Sasai, who was a co-author on both papers was criticized for his poor supervision (Cyranoski,2014; Goodyear, 2016) . Is this case the last shock in the saga of stem research?Given the ever-rising pressure on researchers to generate publications high-impact journals to securejobs or tenure and attract research funding, there will be an omnipresent temptation for misconductin research and unethical behaviour. In September 2017 the biggest-ever fraud in Spanish sciencearose, and like many of the case studies presented here, it centres on stem cell research (Cook, 2017).Many papers by Susana Gonzalez, a senior researcher at the National Center for CardiovascularResearch (CNIC) in Spain have been retracted leading to the removal of research funding and dismissal.The fact these cases keep appearing in many ways is reassuring but the culture or science, the peerreviewand publishing machine and the pressure to secure funding are fertile drivers to challengewholesome research and scrupulous ethics in science.