The Moral Code of Science

29 November 2007

I just started reading The Drug Trial, about Canada’s biggest science scandal. In the first few pages, the author, Miriam Shuchman, talks about the moral code of science. She lists three examples:

Don’t lie about your work.

Don’t steal someone else’s work and claim it’s your own.

Report your findings, don’t bury them.

Then she writes: “The rules should be easy to follow, but in the fiercely competitive world of modern medical science, they’re not.”

I only wish my colleagues would follow this code. In the interest of their own advancement, they often break the rules.

In the end, science is about answering questions. It’s not about the careers of scientists and satisfying their egoes. Unfortunately the latter often prevails.