I was looking at the RAS’s website, mainly because I still haven’t gotten around to sending off my membership form, and I stumbled across this. Applying for RAS membership obliges you to adhere this code… An idea which actually, I rather like. I’m all for ethical responsibility, especially as it seems to be sadly lacking from much of the world today.

Rigour, respect and responsibility:
a universal ethical code for scientists

Rigour, honesty and integrity

  • Act with skill and care in all scientific work. Maintain up to date skills and assist their development in others.
  • Take steps to prevent corrupt practices and professional misconduct. Declare conflicts of interest.
  • Be alert to the ways in which research derives from and affects the work of other people, and respect the rights and reputations of others.

Respect for life, the law and the public good

  • Ensure that your work is lawful and justified.
  • Minimise and justify any adverse effect your work may have on people, animals and the natural environment.

Responsible communication: listening and informing

  • Seek to discuss the issues that science raises for society. Listen to the aspirations and concerns of others.
  • Do not knowingly mislead, or allow others to be misled, about scientific matters. Present and review scientific evidence, theory or interpretation honestly and accurately.

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
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8 Responses to Ethics

  1. invaderxan says:

    Oh, I don’t know…
    You can’t take over the world without using a bit of skill and care… When you make the laws, any of your work is lawful… And you shouldn’t mislead people about science either — evidence shows that an army of killer buzzsaw robots really can crush (or at least mutilate) any who stand against you!
    Wah hahahah hahahahaaa!!

  2. Hmmm… not much room here for evil mad scientists who want to take over the world…

  3. invaderxan says:


  4. underwr1tten says:

    Perhaps reading the Iliad has influenced my devaluing of free will… not to make excuses or anything. :p Still, very nice list.

  5. invaderxan says:

    lol… Neurological modification? That’s a trifle extreme, wouldn’t you say? I mean, personally I kinda like my neurons the way they are. :P

  6. underwr1tten says:

    hehe I mean something scientists are forced to follow, through a neurological modification. It is probably too much to ask the rest of the world to be as unerringly ethical.

  7. invaderxan says:

    …like some kind of scientific law?

  8. underwr1tten says:

    I really like that. Succinct, clear, and good. This idea probably goes against the very ethical code itself, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could somehow make people adhere to this, a bit like Asimov’s robots and their three laws?

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