Easing the cultural impact of scientific research Indigenous groups have long felt that scientific research hasn’t always treated them with respect, at times verging on caricature and exploitation. But a new effort is seeking to find where discovery and dignity intersect. The 30 Sec. ReadShould native groups have a say in how scientists use their data? A code of ethics that aims to create a more just and equitable relationship between the San, an indigenous people of Southern Africa, and the scientists who study them could serve as a model for future research involving indigenous people. The San Code of Research Ethics asks scientists to consult the San at each stage of a research project, from design to publication; emphasizes privacy rights, and requires scientists to provide a tangible benefit in the form of money, training, or employment. Though not legally binding, the code proposes blacklisting researchers who violate it. Proponents of such codes say that they could prevent the bitter clashes of the past. But other scientists worry they could amount to scientific censorship, allowing native tribes to put a stop to research that they deem unfavorable. Still, researchers who want access may have no choice but to compromise. Says one paleontologist: “It’s just a balance between the purely scientific interest and the cultural interest.” By Charlie Wood Staff

Indigenous groups have long felt that scientific research hasn't always treated them with respect, at times verging on caricature and exploitation. But a new effort is seeking to find where discovery and dignity intersect.   … Continue reading