Ethics in Scientific Research: An Examination of Ethical Principles and Emerging Topics

Ethics in Scientific Research: An Examination of Ethical Principles and Emerging Topics. RAND Corporation. Cortney Weinbaum et al. June 5, 2019.

Scientific research ethics vary by discipline and by country, and this analysis sought to understand those variations. The goal of this project was to provide researchers, government officials, and others who create, modify, and enforce ethics in scientific research around the world with an understanding of how ethics are created, monitored, and enforced across scientific disciplines and across international borders. The authors reviewed literature from across scientific disciplines and conducted interviews with experts in the United States, Europe, and China. The research had two motivations: (1) to inform researchers and sponsors who engage in research in emerging scientific disciplines and who may face new ethical challenges, and (2) to inform research sponsors — including government officials — who wish to encourage ethical research without unintentionally encouraging researchers to pursue their research in other jurisdictions.

This analysis led to an understanding of which ethics are common across disciplines, how these ethics might vary geographically, and how emerging topics are shaping future ethics. The authors focused on the ethics of scientific research and how the research is conducted, rather than on how the research is applied. This distinction excluded from this research an analysis of so-called “dual-use” applications for military purposes. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 118 pages].


Community Citizen Science: From Promise to Action

Community Citizen Science: From Promise to Action. RAND Corporation.  Ramya Chari, Marjory S. Blumenthal, Luke J. Matthews. June 18, 2019.

Citizen science is the use of scientific methods by the general public to ask and answer questions and solve problems. In community citizen science, groups of volunteers exert a high degree of control over research, working with professional scientists during the research process and performing research on their own. This important, yet understudied, model often focuses on addressing community concerns. A better characterization of community citizen science could yield insights into important barriers and opportunities for translating its research into action.

In this report, the authors characterize the nature of community citizen science and its potential uses, identify implementation needs and challenges, conceptualize pathways through which community citizen science could achieve policy and community impacts, and elucidate challenges that might impede people from achieving their goals. Part of their research included interviewing representatives of three community citizen science projects carried out for disaster response and recovery: SkyTruth pollution tracking applications; Planetary Response Network activations for disaster response; and the Blue Water Task Force and Hurricane Maria–related activities of the Rincón, Puerto Rico, chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 58 pages].

Registered Apprenticeship in Science and Engineering

Registered Apprenticeship in Science and Engineering. Urban Institute. Daniel Kuehn, Ian Hecker, Alphonse Simon. June 12, 2019

Workers with training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are in high demand in the United States and are essential to innovation and economic growth. Apprenticeship is a proven strategy for training workers, but it is underutilized in STEM occupations. This report explores employers’ experiences with STEM apprenticeship. STEM apprentices are concentrated in technician occupations that do not require a bachelor’s degree. They are better paid and have higher training completion rates than non-STEM apprentices. Nevertheless, employers often struggle with adapting the traditional apprenticeship model to information technology and engineering technology jobs that have do not have a history of using apprenticeship. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 47 pages].

The Higher Road: Forging a U.S. Strategy for the Global Infrastructure Challenge

The Higher Road: Forging a U.S. Strategy for the Global Infrastructure Challenge. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Matthew P. Goodman et al. April 23, 2019

Over the next 15 years, more hard infrastructure is projected to be built around the world than currently exists. This global build-out is already underway, and the changes it brings will only accelerate. Infrastructure projects, especially in the transport, energy, information and communications technology (ICT), and water sectors, have long been recognized as the backbone of modern economies. Going forward, emerging digital infrastructure, including fifth-generation (5G) networks, remote sensing, and other advanced technologies, will be especially critical. As our infrastructure is transformed, so will be the economies it fuels, the regions it connects, and the global commons it underpins. These trends are too powerful and potentially beneficial for the United States to stop, and too consequential to ignore. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 61 pages].

Artificial Intelligence Primer: What is Needed to Maximize AI’s Economic, Social, and Trade Opportunities

Artificial Intelligence Primer: What is Needed to Maximize AI’s Economic, Social, and Trade Opportunities. Brookings Institution. Joshua P. Meltzer. May 13, 2019

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform economic growth, commerce, and trade, affecting the types of jobs that are available and skills that are needed. The United States, China, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and others have recognized the opportunity and are supporting AI research and development as well as preparing their workforce.

For AI to develop also requires an enabling environment that includes new regulation in areas such as AI ethics and data access and revisiting existing laws and regulation in areas such as privacy and intellectual property (IP) rights to ensure that they work for AI. In addition, AI development requires an international agenda to avoid unnecessary regulatory heterogeneity that creates barriers to data access and use and impedes the global diffusion of AI products. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 26 pages].

Rebooting the Innovation Agenda

Rebooting the Innovation Agenda. Center for Strategic & International Studies. Jeffrey M. Alexander et al. March 11, 2019

The fourth industrial revolution is underway, and technological changes will disrupt economic systems, displace workers, concentrate power and wealth, and erode trust in public institutions and the democratic political process. Up until now, the focus has largely been on how technology itself will impact society, with little attention being paid to the role of institutions.

The relationship between societies and their institutions is changing, and countries will have to strengthen their capacities to avoid heightened social divisions. They must build resilience through gradual and intentional interventions designed for long-term, sustainable development. It is also essential that institutions work hard to build credibility and use available development tools, such as development finance institutions and foreign aid, to mitigate the risks of disruption.

Countries and other stakeholders must pioneer these initiatives to successfully navigate the disruptions stemming from the fourth industrial revolution. The revision of existing models of education, skill development and investment and the integration of different stakeholders into the conversation will be critical in helping institutions play a productive role in rebooting the innovation agenda. This new report, Rebooting the Innovation Agenda, analyzes the need for resilient institution and the role they are expected to play in the fourth industrial revolution. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 62 pages].

Automation and Artificial Intelligence: How Machines are Affecting People and Places

Automation and Artificial Intelligence: How Machines are Affecting People and Places. Brookings Institution. Mark Muro, Robert Maxim, and Jacob Whiton. January 24, 2019

At first, technologists issued dystopian alarms about the power of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to destroy jobs. Then came a correction, with a wave of reassurances. Now, the discourse appears to be arriving at a more complicated understanding, suggesting that automation will bring neither apocalypse nor utopia, but instead both benefits and stress alike. Such is the ambiguous and sometimes disembodied nature of the “future of work” discussion.
Hence the analysis presented here. Intended to bring often-inscrutable trends down to earth, the following report develops both backward and forward-looking analyses of the impacts of automation over the years 1980 to 2016 and 2016 to 2030 to assess past and upcoming trends as they affect both people and communities in the United States. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 108 pages].