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Please add to your names to the scientific community Statement denouncing Strumia’s discriminatory talk at CERN

“In this talk he argued that the primary explanation for the discrepancies between men and women in theoretical physics is that women are inherently less capable.

— Statement introduction

Follow the link to the Community Statement, read it (and the associated materials in the REFERENCES and LINKS at the top if you do not know of that talk yet) and if. like myself and many others, feel the discriminatory and unethical aspects that was convey during the talk, please sign by selecting ADD YOUR NAME at the top right corner of the page.

Research ethics, informed consent and Facebook

Yep, Facebook experimented with 700 000 of its users without their knowledge, and published their results in PNAS!

 

The general explanation: the users consent to anything and everything for the rest of their lives (Facebook lives) when they signed up to use the service. By that measure, every patient coming to our medical clinics agrees to be part of an experiment or trial and their data used for publication because they have agreed to be treated… OK, I am pushing the boundary a bit (maybe a lot) here but you get the picture and it is a bit absurd.

119731_600(* Cartoon from the Cagle Post by )

 

However, this has lead to an interesting post on the concept of informed consent, which is at the heart of this kind of studies. It is an essential condition (but not the only one) to allow clinical or drug trials and robustly enforced by ethic committees, at least in the OCDE countries. While hospitals and physicians can use patient data for quality assurance purposes, publication of the said data cannot be made without the patient informed consent.

 

This could be a great general public education opportunity.

 

 

 

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