Aug 2010

Applying the Stem Cell Charter: Transparency and Integrity in all we do

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Charter principle #4: We support “Transparency through the disclosure of results and of possible conflicts of interest.”

Charter principle #5: We support¬† “Integrity in the promotion and advancement of stem cell research and therapy for the betterment of the welfare of all human beings.”

It is a scientist’s duty to be transparent and honest when communicating scientific knowledge. Transparency means that scientists should communicate the knowledge they have gained through their work with openness and truthfulness.¬† They should also disclose any possible conflicts of interest (e.g. financial) that could blur their objectivity or could compromise the integrity of their work (e.g. the welfare of research participants and patients).

Transparency also means that scientists should be accountable (to their peers, research participants, patients and to society) for their actions. In the context of stem cell tourism, this means that any clinic that offers stem cell-based treatments and therapies should be able to answer these kinds of questions.

The relationship between scientists and society is reciprocal, because society is responsible towards science as the collective recipient of its benefits. Therefore it continues to be important that scientists conduct themselves with integrity and honesty in the promotion of stem cell research and therapy. Trust needs to continually earned by both sides in order to move stem cell science forward.

Rosario Isasi is a Research Associate at the Centre of Genomics and Policy at McGill University. Her hobbies include bioethics, bioethics and bioethics. (And stem cells and policy.) Over the past two months, she has explored issues surrounding stem cell science using the five principles of the Stem Cell Charter as a starting point. Read her other posts here, here, here and here.

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