By Pharmacist Anthony Gatt
Scientific inquiry has resolved countless medical issues which used to harm and limit the well-being of persons. Humanity cannot but feel gratitude and appreciation for these achievements, especially in the fields of medicine, engineering and communications. These accomplishments were due to the genuine transfer of truthful knowledge from one generation of researchers to another. Isaac Newton confirmed this intergenerational continuum of knowledge when he claimed, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of others”.
Unfortunately, this was not always the case. Beneficial research has sometimes been overshadowed by serious research scandals. Walter Reed and the yellow fever experiments, the Nazi medical experiments, the Imperial Japanese experiments in China and the Tuskegee syphilis experiment are but few examples of how “medical testing has turned millions of us into human guinea pigs”. Research misconduct renders past and future researchers prone to harm.
This thesis will try to answer two central questions. How does research misconduct give rise to temporal and pathogenic vulnerability? Who is responsible for alleviating these vulnerabilities, and how may this be achieved?
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