3D Printing and the Murky Ethics of Replicating Bones

“TEN YEARS AGO, it wasn’t possible for most people to use 3D technology to print authentic copies of human bones. Today, using a 3D printer and digital scans of actual bones, it is possible to create unlimited numbers of replica bones — each curve and break and tiny imperfection intact — relatively inexpensively. The technology is increasingly allowing researchers to build repositories of bone data, which they can use to improve medical procedures, map how humans have evolved, and even help show a courtroom how someone died.

But the proliferation of faux bones also poses an ethical dilemma — and one that, prior to the advent of accessible 3D printing, was mostly limited to museum collections containing skeletons of dubious provenance. Laws governing how real human remains of any kind may be obtained and used for research, after all — as well as whether individuals can buy and sell such remains —  are already uneven worldwide. Add to that the new ability to traffic in digital data representing these remains, and the ethical minefield becomes infinitely more fraught. “When someone downloads these skulls and reconstructs them,” says Ericka L’Abbé, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, “it becomes their data, their property.”…”

Editorial: Open Science and Ethics | SpringerLink

“At first sight it seems to be self-evident that the ethics-community should embrace those open science principles unconditionally. Transparency, accessibility, and solving societal challenges are laudable goals. Understanding and solving societal challenges seems to be the core business of ethics: the theoretical branches of ethics aim for a better understanding of the practical and moral dimension of human life in general and applied ethics engages with possible solutions of urgent societal challenges. Thus, ‘open science’ seems to be the ideal context for ethical research to flourish. But as philosophers we should be a bit more reflective than just preaching the gospel of open science without critical remarks. In the following I want to highlight five possible pitfalls and problems around open science. The aim is not to frustrate the entire enterprise but to contribute to a responsible way of introducing the open science principles….

I think the opposition between academic freedom and open science is a misconception. Academic freedom is a necessary requirement for any research….”

Ethics in medical education digital scholarship: AMEE Guide No. 134: Medical Teacher: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  Ethics has long been a concern in medicine, education and scholarship. In the digital age, new complexities have arisen, and many medical education researchers are unprepared for the pitfalls ahead, often negotiating these in the absence of guidelines, and unaware of the many tools that can be used to assist them. This Guide takes the medical education scholar through a journey in which issues of ethics are discussed in all stages of digital scholarship: research preparation, research subject monitoring and data gathering, securing one’s data (and balancing security against accessibility), anonymising textual and non-textual data, third party identifiability in digital data, writing one’s own work (including plagiarism and paper mills), copyright (including issues of Creative Commons and royalty-free), accessing inaccessible reference material, ethically citing electronic material, and manuscript submission (including issues of selecting journals, open access and data sharing). The Guide ends with a brief look to the future. This Guide aims to be a useful tool to alert the readers to some of the most important ethical issues that need to be considered, and some practical solutions to ethical problems faced, when engaging in medical education digital scholarship.

 

Ethics in medical education digital scholarship: AMEE Guide No. 134: Medical Teacher: Vol 0, No 0

Abstract:  Ethics has long been a concern in medicine, education and scholarship. In the digital age, new complexities have arisen, and many medical education researchers are unprepared for the pitfalls ahead, often negotiating these in the absence of guidelines, and unaware of the many tools that can be used to assist them. This Guide takes the medical education scholar through a journey in which issues of ethics are discussed in all stages of digital scholarship: research preparation, research subject monitoring and data gathering, securing one’s data (and balancing security against accessibility), anonymising textual and non-textual data, third party identifiability in digital data, writing one’s own work (including plagiarism and paper mills), copyright (including issues of Creative Commons and royalty-free), accessing inaccessible reference material, ethically citing electronic material, and manuscript submission (including issues of selecting journals, open access and data sharing). The Guide ends with a brief look to the future. This Guide aims to be a useful tool to alert the readers to some of the most important ethical issues that need to be considered, and some practical solutions to ethical problems faced, when engaging in medical education digital scholarship.

 

Opinion | How Professors Help Rip Off Students – The New York Times

“…For professors the path of least resistance is just to keep assigning the same book, in its latest edition. When prices were reasonable, that was a fine practice, but it is increasingly indefensible. There is sometimes substantial variation among textbook prices, and also books with stronger rental and used markets. In addition, important progress has been made by groups trying to create high quality alternatives. The Rice University-based nonprofit OpenSTAX has spent years developing high-quality, peer-reviewed textbooks that are free or cheap for more than 20 of the most popular college subjects. M.I.T. has an impressive collection of free online textbooks, and there are others. The publisher Cengage has been experimenting with a Netflix-style subscription model. At a minimum, instructors should at least take a look at what’s out there….”

Animal Research, Accountability, Openness and Public Engagement: Report from an International Expert Forum

Abstract:  In November 2013, a group of international experts in animal research policy (n = 11) gathered in Vancouver, Canada, to discuss openness and accountability in animal research. The primary objective was to bring together participants from various jurisdictions (United States, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom) to share practices regarding the governance of animals used in research, testing and education, with emphasis on the governance process followed, the methods of community engagement, and the balance of openness versus confidentiality. During the forum, participants came to a broad consensus on the need for: (a) evidence-based metrics to allow a “virtuous feedback” system for evaluation and quality assurance of animal research, (b) the need for increased public access to information, together with opportunities for stakeholder dialogue about animal research, (c) a greater diversity of views to be represented on decision-making committees to allow for greater balance and (d) a standardized and robust ethical decision-making process that incorporates some sort of societal input. These recommendations encourage aspirations beyond merely imparting information and towards a genuine dialogue that represents a shared agenda surrounding laboratory animal use.

Animal Research, Accountability, Openness and Public Engagement: Report from an International Expert Forum

Abstract:  In November 2013, a group of international experts in animal research policy (n = 11) gathered in Vancouver, Canada, to discuss openness and accountability in animal research. The primary objective was to bring together participants from various jurisdictions (United States, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom) to share practices regarding the governance of animals used in research, testing and education, with emphasis on the governance process followed, the methods of community engagement, and the balance of openness versus confidentiality. During the forum, participants came to a broad consensus on the need for: (a) evidence-based metrics to allow a “virtuous feedback” system for evaluation and quality assurance of animal research, (b) the need for increased public access to information, together with opportunities for stakeholder dialogue about animal research, (c) a greater diversity of views to be represented on decision-making committees to allow for greater balance and (d) a standardized and robust ethical decision-making process that incorporates some sort of societal input. These recommendations encourage aspirations beyond merely imparting information and towards a genuine dialogue that represents a shared agenda surrounding laboratory animal use.

Reaping the benefits of Open Data in public health

Abstract:  Open Data is part of a broad global movement that is not only advancing science and scientific communication but also transforming modern society and how decisions are made. What began with a call for Open Science and the rise of online journals has extended to Open Data, based on the premise that if reports on data are open, then the generated or supporting data should be open as well. There have been a number of advances in Open Data over the last decade, spearheaded largely by governments. A real benefit of Open Data is not simply that single databases can be used more widely; it is that these data can also be leveraged, shared and combined with other data. Open Data facilitates scientific collaboration, enriches research and advances analytical capacity to inform decisions. In the human and environmental health realms, for example, the ability to access and combine diverse data can advance early signal detection, improve analysis and evaluation, inform program and policy development, increase capacity for public participation, enable transparency and improve accountability. However, challenges remain. Enormous resources are needed to make the technological shift to open and interoperable databases accessible with common protocols and terminology. Amongst data generators and users, this shift also involves a cultural change: from regarding databases as restricted intellectual property, to considering data as a common good. There is a need to address legal and ethical considerations in making this shift. Finally, along with efforts to modify infrastructure and address the cultural, legal and ethical issues, it is important to share the information equitably and effectively. While there is great potential of the open, timely, equitable and straightforward sharing of data, fully realizing the myriad of benefits of Open Data will depend on how effectively these challenges are addressed.

Open Science in Action: Inaugural Symposium | The Neuro – McGill University

“To speed up discovery and impact health, we must transform our approach to science. Innovations in biomedical science and big data technology have brought hope, and are powered by a new way of doing science: Open Science. This is the concept of freely sharing research data and materials, and removing barriers to collaboration.   

We welcome you to engage and exchange around Open Science in action at The Neuro and beyond.

Meet and learn from national and international experts on intellectual property protocols, ethics, patient consent and engagement, pharma, neuroinformatics, and more!     

The symposium will be moderated by Susan Usher, Director of the Health Innovation Forum. Our keynote speakers include John Wilbanks (Sage Bionetworks), Dario Taraborelli (Chan Zuckerberg Initiative), Russ Poldrack (Stanford Center for Reproducible Neuroscience), and Brian Wallach (I am ALS).  We are also pleased to welcome Alain Schuhl (French National Centre for Scientific Research) and Suzana Petanceska (National Institute on Aging). The symposium will close with the Wilder Penfield Lecture, delivered by Susan M. Fitzpatrick, President of the James S. McDonnell Foundation.     …”

Improving Health Care with Publicly Reported Data

“But do people use that information to make choices?  Does it change where they get their care? There is little evidence that this is the case.  While the study mentioned earlier showed hospitals respond to this such data, that same study showed that consumers and purchasers of healthcare rarely search out the information and do not understand or trust it.  It had a small, although increasing, impact on their decision making.  According to another study, there is little evidence that patients use publicly reported data to make a choice.  There are several reasons that the authors of the study felt this was the case.   Among those reasons were that consumers didn’t believe they had choice because of their insurance provider, consumers couldn’t understand the quality data (the reports are poorly designed), and that consumers don’t trust the information provided….”