York discusses research ethics

Research ethics is a hot topic these days, certainly one that is in the news a lot, and several York University faculty members are taking the opportunity to examine it.

Today, York”s Faculty of Graduate Studies, the Centre for Practical Ethics, the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation and the Senate Academic Policy & Planning Committee, are hosting a one-day symposium on the importance of research ethics and its application across a broad range of academic disciplines.

The opening session features Prof. Harry Arthurs, York president emeritus, and Robert Phillips, president and CEO of the Ontario Cancer Research Network, who will discuss the effectiveness of ethical codes, as well as the impact of research funding, academic culture and financial rewards for researchers.

“University research has always adhered to strict ethical guidelines,” says York psychology Prof. Suzanne MacDonald, associate vice-president research. “Now that ethics are receiving public and media attention, universities have the opportunity to demonstrate leadership in this vital area.”

The symposium also includes the following York presenters:

Prof. Ian Greene, Department of Political Science – Will discuss how researchers should be careful to observe ethical guidelines, protecting the reputation of social scientists and the opportunities for future researchers to conduct empirical research;

Prof. David Wiesenthal, Department of Psychology – Will discuss how the federal government”s new code (for research involving humans) is based on ethical standards developed for medical research and whether this model is appropriate for guiding psychological research;

Prof. Joel Lexchin, Atkinson School of Health Policy & Management – Will talk about, how pharmaceutical companies are doing more research in developing countries because it is cheaper, but the same companies are not developing medications for certain widespread diseases in these countries because it is unprofitable for them to do so;

Prof. Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt, associate dean, Faculty of Fine Arts – Will talk about the challenges and issues associated with specific aspects of studio work, creative work, and performances unique to fine arts teaching and research.