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Social Influences on Science

Social regulation

Society (from local pressure groups to official regulatory bodies) seeks to control and regulate the development and application of scientific knowledge.

Official regulation can be government led such as The House of Commons Select Committee who monitor and propose relevant UK law and government funded research. You can read more about the work of the Select Committee on Science and Technology here. Or it can be self- regulating such as peer review when scientists read and check each other’s work before it gets published.

Ethics committees

There are a huge variety of ethics committees - where scientists meet to review proposals to conduct research - ranging from international bodies to a single university department. These committees are informed by guidelines, professional associations such as the Institute of Physics and the British Medical Association have their own and the international guiding principles were set down in Helsinki by the World Medical Association in 1964. Follow the link to see the latest version Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects .

There was even a recent call in Australia for science journalists to develop a code of ethics on communicating complicated science accurately.

Want to know more about ethics of science research? Try  ERIC.

 Mass Media

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