The Obligation to Participate in Biomedical Research
Schaefer, G. Owen
Emanuel, Ezekiel J.
JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association 2009 July 1; 302(1): 67-72
The current prevailing view is that participation in biomedical research is above and beyond the call of duty. While some commentators have offered reasons against this, we propose a novel public goods argument for an obligation to participate in biomedical research. Biomedical knowledge is a public good, available to any individual even if that individual does not contribute to it. Participation in research is a critical way to support an important public good. Consequently, all have a duty to participate. The current social norm is that individuals participate only if they have a good reason to do so. The public goods argument implies that individuals should participate unless they have a good reason not to. Such a shift would be of great aid to the progress of biomedical research, eventually making society significantly healthier and longer lived.
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Greene, Sarah M.; Mazor, Kathleen M.; Gallagher, Thomas H.; Katz, Kenneth A.; Powell, Tia; Rapkin, Bruce D.; Weiss, Elisa S.; Folayan, Morenike Oluwatoyin; Mutengu-Kasirye, Lillian; Calazans, Gabriela; Schaefer, G. Owen; Emanuel, Ezekiel J.; Wertheimer, Alan (2009-11-25)