Ethics as it relates to Scientific Communication
Scientific communication is one of the subjects that have received massive coverage especially in the wake of exponential growth in technology. There is instant transmission of information from one region to another through the internet and other media channels. With this technology, one is able to know what is going on Africa while in Australia at the click of the mouse or by use of internet enabled mobile phones. It an achievement in the information and communication sector that has received cordial welcome with its core role of augmenting quick relay of information. However, this growth has posed a question on the manner in which scientific information ought to be reported in order to deliver the desired message without breaking the law or infringing audience rights through adherence to communication ethics. Like any other field, scientific communication calls for maximum ethical approach because any information communicated is usually aimed at reaching the entire public domain.
Understanding of what has to be done and what is wrong is the fundamental basis of any form of scientific communication. As a risky career, scientific information delivery calls for ethical research analysis and delivery of intended message. These ethics are supposed to set boundaries and define the communication in which information collected is passed to the audience in an ethical and professional manner (Berger, 1994). Self responsibility is however very essential in ensuring that the kind of scientific information communicated is palatable in the public domain. By being self responsible, every reporter is held accountable for his or her statements and clears the idea of some information being communicated by order. Ethical choices as defined by the scientific society promote individual responsibility while producing information to the public. This is due to the fact that every human being the free will of choosing between wrong and good.
As mentioned before, the growth in information technology is a lifetime realization in the world that has given a new shape and look to the information and communication sector. However, this has posed ethical threats in scientific communication. The fact that a person can copy cut information without permission has promoted dishonesty in scientific information delivery. Originality is dying with time with very little or no information in some cases being sourced professionally. As a result, many people have proposed ways of maintaining communication professionalism among them being the use of code of ethics, continuous training of scientific reporters and introduction of laws which govern the whole process of scientific communication (MacRae, 1971).
As it well known that reproduction of someone’s work is illegal and punishable, the scientific communication emphasizes credible information that is free from plagiarism. There is a lot of information circulating around which lacks authentic credit because of plagiarism. This use of a person’s ideas and information without giving him or her is common in cases of subordinate harassment. It has been noted that a number of powerful people in the science field and other disciplines have a tendency of manipulating their juniors in several ways including the use of their researched information without giving them credit (Berger, 1994). The practice if not allowed in the scientific society because it eliminates originality of ideas and defeats the purpose of giving information which is not credible. As a result, the community monitors communicated information to uphold ethical gathering of information by giving credit to people who invested their time and resources in gathering of store d information.
Another aspect of scientific communication which has drawn attention of many people around the globe is honesty of communicated information. How does one tell falsified information from facts? How can theory be differentiated from facts? These are some of the questions which cloud the entire scientific world in attempts to promote ethical scientific communication. Any information that has to be communicated must have facts which are well backed with references from reliable sources (Berger, 1994). As a matter of fact, scientific information to be communicated has to define a clear cut between facts and opinions. A lot of literature has been recorded and communicated as facts when they were personal view points and opinions. Another way of promoting ethical scientific communication is by avoiding deliberate misinterpretation of information being communicated. The risk of misinterpreting information is that the audience gets fed on the same distorted information.
It is also worth noting that ethical scientific communication requires detailed information to give a clear understanding of the concept being covered. The dilemma in which the society has found itself is defining the size of information to be included in article or research findings. It is true that lack of enough space may cause a person to use omission in achieving the desired objective. In such events, the writer assumes that the information being omitted is not relevant to the reader. Others assume that the information may be too complicated for the audience to grasp and internalize its exact meaning. Omission of some information may be quite important in cases where the targeted audience does not appreciate it (Benos et al. 2005). It is however encouraging that relevant information be communicated sufficiently to avoid cases of disjointed or hanging statements. In this regard scientific writers and researchers have to include authentic references to allowing verification of communicated ideas. This also allows further reading to cover omitted concepts due to lack of enough space and a target of a limited audience.
The most important principle among communicators has to recognize the fact that they a bridge between those who create them and consumers who are purely interested in using these scientific facts. As a result excellence and professional delivery of information is of paramount significance. This can be achieved by emphasizing ethical behavior in the entire sphere of scientific information. As noted by many scientific experts, research information is very important in shaping the society through communicators. As a result, this information has to be authentic and well supported with references (Benos et al. 2005). Scientific misconduct affects the credibility of information and does not serve the intended purpose of communication.
As a common misconduct among communicators, data fabrication has been considered prevalent in the world. Fabricated information lacks the authority and authenticity to inform the audience on a particular topic. Falsified information simply dilutes facts because of its inability to defend communicated ideas. Apart from distorting information, it also leads to the waste of other researchers’ time and resources. When a person builds his research on fabricated information there are several disastrous things which are likely to happen. Among these is the realization of wrong results. It is clear that a wrong research foundation would result into wrong results. Data fabrication can turn to be fatal (Benos et al. 2005). For instance if medial information is diluted, other doctors and medical experts may use such information in making decisions that may cause death of patients.
It is obvious that communicators of scientific information play a significant role in delivering of research information to the audience. The absence of communicators would imply an automatic disconnection the field of science. even as they purpose to accomplish this goal, one of the driving principles has to be upholding of communication ethics. They clearly define what is good and wrong. An understanding of these ethics would among other things instill integrity in the research and delivery of scientific information. Avoidance of communication misconduct is highly encouraged as away of restoring the truth of audience in scientific communicators. There is no doubt that scientific research with ethical delivery of information cannot realize its intended goal.