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ETHICS

Honesty

Ultimately, ethics in scientific publishing, as in life, comes down to one word

John F. Ahearne

2011-03EthicsAhearneFA.jpgClick to Enlarge ImageDuring my 20-year career in the United States capital advising several levels of government on matters of energy and defense, I witnessed many instances of honesty, as well as some of dishonesty, and the consequences of each. Those experiences reinforced my commitment—one held throughout my adult life—to practice the virtue of honesty and to instill it in my colleagues. But even though truthfulness is essential to progress, it is clearly not so easy to uphold. As the Roman poet Juvenal wrote in the first century a.d., “Honesty is praised and then left to freeze.” Touted but not applied. This frailty of human nature, lamented for millennia, clearly has ongoing implications for the progress of both science and society.





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