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Books, Journals, New Media
August 6, 2003

Science and Human Rights

JAMA. 2003;290(5):672-673. doi:10.1001/jama.290.5.672

To what extent are researchers responsible for the social impact of their work? There is no consensus answer to this question, either within the scientific community or in society at large. Some contend that the social implications of science should play no role in researchers' decisions about which questions to ask and what leads to follow. Intellectual curiosity should drive these decisions, according to this "purist" view, and investigators' curiosity should be restrained only by the principle that ideas about nature must be experimentally testable to count as scientific.