Fake and unethical publishers' activities are known by most of the readers of Science and Engineering Ethics. This letter tries to draw the readers' attention to the hidden side of some of these publishers' business. Here the black market of scholarly articles, which negatively affects the validity and reliability of research in higher education, as well as science and engineering, will be introduced.
With the rapid advancements made in biotechnology, bioethical discourse has become increasingly important. Bioethics is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary field that goes beyond the realm of natural sciences, and has involved fields in the domain of the social sciences. One of the important areas in bioethical discourse is religion. In a country like Malaysia, where Muslims make up the majority of the population, Islam plays a crucial role in providing the essential guidelines on the permissibility and acceptability of biotechnological applications in various fields such as medicine, agriculture, and food processing. This article looks at the framework of a complementary model of bioethics derived from the perspective of Islam. The framework is based on 'maqasid al-shariah' (purposes or objectives of Islamic law) which aims to protect and preserve mankind's faith, life, intellect, progeny, and property. It is proposed that 'maqasid al-shariah' be used as a pragmatic checklist that can be utilized in tackling bioethical issues and dilemmas.
Embryonic Stem Cell Research (ESCR) raises ethical issues. In the process of research, embryos may be destroyed and, to some, such an act entails the 'killing of human life'. Past studies have sought the views of scientists and the general public on the ethics of ESCR. This study, however, explores multi-faith ethical viewpoints, in particular, those of Buddhists, Hindus and Catholics in Malaysia, on ESCR. Responses were gathered via semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. Three main ethical quandaries emerged from the data: (1) sanctity of life, (2) do no harm, and (3) 'intention' of the research. Concerns regarding the sanctity of life are directed at particular research protocols which interfere with religious notions of human ensoulment and early consciousness. The principle of 'do no harm' which is closely related to ahimsa prohibits all acts of violence. Responses obtained indicate that respondents either discourage research that inflicts harm on living entities or allow ESCR with reservations. 'Intention' of the research seems to be an interesting and viable rationale that would permit ESCR for the Buddhists and Hindus. Research that is intended for the purpose of alleviating human suffering is seen as being ethical. This study also notes that Catholics oppose ESCR on the basis of the inviolability of human life.
When a scientific paper, dissertation or thesis is published the author(s) have a duty to report who has contributed to the work. This recognition can take several forms such as authorship, relevant acknowledgments and by citing previous work. There is a growing industry where publication consultants will work with authors, research groups or even institutions to help get their work published, or help submit their dissertation/thesis. This help can range from proof reading, data collection, analysis (including statistics), helping with the literature review and identifying suitable journals/conferences. In this opinion article we question whether these external services are required, given that institutions should provide this support and that experienced researchers should be qualified to carry out these activities. If these services are used, we argue that their use should at least be made transparent either by the consultant being an author on the paper, or by being acknowledged on the paper, dissertation or thesis. We also argue that publication consultants should provide an annual return that details the papers, dissertations and thesis that they have consulted on.
The unique properties of nanotechnology have made nanotechnology education and its related subjects increasingly important not only for students but for mankind at large. This particular technology brings educators to work together to prepare and produce competent engineers and scientists for this field. One of the key challenges in nanotechnology engineering is to produce graduate students who are not only competent in technical knowledge but possess the necessary attitude and awareness toward the social and ethical issues related to nanotechnology. In this paper, a research model has been developed to assess Malaysian nanotechnology engineering students' attitudes and whether their perspectives have attained the necessary objectives of ethical education throughout their programme of study. The findings from this investigation show that socio ethical education has a strong influence on the students' knowledge, skills and attitudes pertaining to socio ethical issues related to nanotechnology.
The aim of this study was to investigate the use of a newly developed design game called BLOCKS to stimulate awareness of ethical responsibilities amongst engineering students. The design game was played by seventeen teams of chemical engineering students, with each team having to arrange pieces of colored paper to produce two letters each. Before the end of the game, additional constraints were introduced to the teams such that they faced similar ambiguity in the technical facts that the engineers involved in the Challenger disaster had faced prior to the space shuttle launch. At this stage, the teams had to decide whether to continue with their original design or to develop alternative solutions. After the teams had made their decisions, a video of the Challenger explosion was shown followed by a post-game discussion. The students' opinion on five Statements on ethics was tracked via a Five-Item Likert survey which was administered three times, before and after the ethical scenario was introduced, and after the video and post-game discussion. The results from this study indicated that the combination of the game and the real-life incident from the video had generally strengthened the students' opinions of the Statements.
The discovery and invention of new medical applications may be considered blessings to humankind. However, some applications which might be the only remedy for certain diseases may contain ingredients or involve methods that are not in harmony with certain cultural and religious perspectives. These situations have raised important questions in medical ethics; are these applications completely prohibited according to these perspectives, and is there any room for mitigation? This paper explores the concept of darurah (necessity) and its deliberation in the formulation of fatwas on medicine issued by the National Fatwa Council of Malaysia. Darurah has explicitly been taken into consideration in the formulation of 14 out of 45 fatwas on medicine thus far, including one of the latest fatwas regarding uterine donation and transplantation. These fatwas are not only limited to the issues regarding the use of unlawful things as remedies. They include issues pertaining to organ transplantation, management of the corpse and treatment of brain dead patients. While deliberation of darurah in medicine may vary from issue to issue, darurah applies in a dire situation in which there are no lawful means to prevent harm that may be inflicted upon human life. Nevertheless, other aspects must also be taken into the deliberation. For example, consent must be obtained from the donor or his next of kin (after his death) to conduct a cadaveric organ transplantation.
The goal of responsible engineers is the creation of useful and safe technological products and commitment to public health, while respecting the autonomy of the clients and the public. Because engineers often face moral dilemma to resolve such issues, different engineers have chosen different course of actions depending on their respective moral value orientations. Islam provides a value-based mechanism rooted in the Maqasid al-Shari'ah (the objectives of Islamic law). This mechanism prioritizes some values over others and could help resolve the moral dilemmas faced in engineering. This paper introduces the Islamic interpretive-evaluative maxims to two core issues in engineering ethics: genetically modified foods and whistleblowing. The study aims primarily to provide problem-solving maxims within the Maqasid al-Shari'ah matrix through which such moral dilemmas in science and engineering could be studied and resolved.
Dengue fever is a debilitating and infectious disease that could be life-threatening. It is caused by the dengue virus which affects millions of people in the tropical area. Currently, there is no cure for the disease as there is no vaccine available. Thus, prevention of the vector population using conventional methods is by far the main strategy but has been found ineffective. A genetically modified (GM) mosquito is among the favoured alternatives to curb dengue fever in Malaysia. Past studies have shown that development and diffusion of gene technology products depends heavily upon public acceptance. The purpose of this study is to identify the relevant factors influencing stakeholders' attitudes toward the GM Aedes mosquito and to analyse the relationships between all the factors using the structural equation model. A survey was carried out on 509 respondents from various stakeholder groups in the Klang Valley region of Malaysia. Results of the survey have confirmed that public perception towards complex issues such as gene technology should be seen as a multi-faceted process. The perceived benefit-perceived risk balance is very important in determining the most predominant predictor of attitudes toward a GM mosquito. In this study the stakeholders perceived the benefit of the GM mosquito as outweighing its risk, translating perceived benefit as the most important direct predictor of attitudes toward the GM mosquito. Trust in key players has a direct influence on attitudes toward the GM mosquito while moral concern exhibited an indirect influence through perceived benefits. Other factors such as attitudes toward technology and nature were also indirect predictors of attitudes toward the GM mosquito while religiosity and engagement did not exhibited any significant roles. The research findings serve as a useful database to understand public acceptance and the social construct of public attitudes towards the GM mosquito to combat dengue.
This article presents the Islamic bioethical deliberation on the issue of sex assignment surgery (SAS) for infants with disorders of sex development (DSD) or intersexed as a case study. The main objective of this study is to present a different approach in assessing a biomedical issue within the medium of the Maqasid al-Shari'ah. Within the framework of the maqasidic scheme of benefits and harms, any practice where benefits are substantial is considered permissible, while those promoting harms are prohibited. The concept of Maqasid al-Shari'ah which is the mechanistic interpretation of Qur'an and Hadith presents the holistic attention of Islam on many life activities, including healthcare. Indeed, this concept encompasses many aspects of worldly life, both for the human individual and collectively for the whole society. In healthcare, the practice of SAS on DSD newborns has presented an assortment of implications on the future livelihood of the affected individual. The process of decision-making seems to be very multifaceted since every element such as the determination of the 'correct' sex and the urgency of early surgery must consider the benefits and harms, as well as the child's rights and best interest. The application of the concept of Maqasid al-Shari'ah, would convey a pragmatic approach that is often disregarded in Western medicine. This approach considers the right of the individual to live life optimally, individually and socially and practice his faith, precisely, in accordance with the assigned gender.
While pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is available and legal in Malaysia, there is an ongoing controversy debate about its use. There are few studies available on individuals' attitudes toward PGD, particularly among those who have a genetic disease, or whose children have a genetic disease. To the best of our knowledge, this is, in fact, the first study of its kind in Malaysia. We conducted in-depth interviews, using semi-structured questionnaires, with seven selected potential PGD users regarding their knowledge, attitudes and decisions relating to the use PGD. The criteria for selecting potential PGD users were that they or their children had a genetic disease, and they desired to have another child who would be free of genetic disease. All participants had heard of PGD and five of them were considering its use. The participants' attitudes toward PGD were based on several different considerations that were influenced by various factors. These included: the benefit-risk balance of PGD, personal experiences of having a genetic disease, religious beliefs, personal values and cost. The study's findings suggest that the selected Malaysian participants, as potential PGD users, were supportive but cautious regarding the use of PGD for medical purposes, particularly in relation to others whose experiences were similar. More broadly, the paper highlights the link between the participants' personal experiences and their beliefs regarding the appropriateness, for others, of individual decision-making on PGD, which has not been revealed by previous studies.
This article seeks to address and dispel some of the popular myths and misconceptions surrounding authorship of a scientific publication as this is often misconstrued by beginners in academia especially those in the developing world. While ethical issues in publishing related to authorship have been increasingly discussed, not much has been written about the myths and misconceptions of who might be an author. Dispelling these myths and misconceptions would go a long way in shaping the thoughts and plans of students, junior faculty and researchers in academia especially in the developing world.
The time delay between submission of a thesis and Viva Voce is intolerable for students. This letter tries to draw the readers' attention to the effect of choosing the right examiner, in order to reduce the Viva Voce delay.
In some cases, organizing a conference resembles a high-profit business. Some of these conferences are wolves in sheep's clothing. This article draws readers' attention to current examples of such unethical business conferences.
There is growing concern regarding the erosion of industries' trust in the reliability and validity of university graduates. Fake graduates are described in this letter. This article endeavors to warn of a new version of the scholarly black market, in which theses and dissertations are sold to students seeking to graduate under false pretenses.
It is obligatory to educate student researchers before they start their work by teaching them about the various types of plagiarism and how to avoid them. It is also vital that research supervisors take into account the sources of data that are explored in their students' manuscripts. This article tries to draw the reader's attention to the importance of avoiding all types of plagiarism in their research.
Advancements in science and technology have not only brought hope to humankind to produce disease-free offspring, but also offer possibilities to genetically enhance the next generation's traits and capacities. Human genetic enhancement, however, raises complex ethical questions, such as to what extent should it be allowed? It has been a great challenge for humankind to develop robust ethical guidelines for human genetic enhancement that address both public concerns and needs. We believe that research about public concerns is necessary prior to developing such guidelines, yet the issues have not been thoroughly investigated in many countries, including Malaysia. Since the novel often functions as a medium for the public to express their concerns, this paper explores ethical concerns about human genetic enhancement expressed in four Malay science fiction novels namely Klon, Leksikon Ledang, Transgenesis Bisikan Rimba and Transgenik Sifar. Religion has a strong influence on the worldview of the Malays therefore some concerns such as playing God are obviously religious. Association of the negative image of scientists as well as the private research companies with the research on human genetic enhancement reflects the authors' concerns about the main motivations for conducting such research and the extent to which such research will benefit society.