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Ethical challenges of simulation-driven big neuroscience


Christen, Markus; Biller-Andorno, Nikola; Brindegad, Berit; Grimes, Kevin; Savulesku, Julian; Walter, Henrik (2016). Ethical challenges of simulation-driven big neuroscience. AJOB Neuroscience, 7(1):5-17.

Abstract

Research in neuroscience traditionally relies on rather small groups that deal with different questions on all levels of neuronal organization. Recent funding initiatives—notably the European “Human Brain Project” (HBP)—aim to promote Big Neuroscience for integrating research and unifying knowledge. This approach is characterized by two aspects: first, by many interacting researchers from various disciplines that deal with heterogeneous data and are accountable to a large public funding source; and second, by a decisive role of information and communication technology (ICT) as an instrument not only to perform but also to structure and guide scientific activities, for example, through simulations in the case of the HBP. We argue that Big Neuroscience comes along with specific ethical challenges. By examining the justification of Big Neuroscience and the role and effects of ICT on social interaction of researchers and knowledge production, we provide suggestions to address these challenges.

Abstract

Research in neuroscience traditionally relies on rather small groups that deal with different questions on all levels of neuronal organization. Recent funding initiatives—notably the European “Human Brain Project” (HBP)—aim to promote Big Neuroscience for integrating research and unifying knowledge. This approach is characterized by two aspects: first, by many interacting researchers from various disciplines that deal with heterogeneous data and are accountable to a large public funding source; and second, by a decisive role of information and communication technology (ICT) as an instrument not only to perform but also to structure and guide scientific activities, for example, through simulations in the case of the HBP. We argue that Big Neuroscience comes along with specific ethical challenges. By examining the justification of Big Neuroscience and the role and effects of ICT on social interaction of researchers and knowledge production, we provide suggestions to address these challenges.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine
08 University Research Priority Programs > Ethics
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:05 Aug 2016 10:32
Last Modified:05 Aug 2016 13:49
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:2150-7759
Additional Information:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in AJOB Neuroscience on April 4, 2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21507740.2015.1135831
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/21507740.2015.1135831

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