A system that began with DNA tagging of oil cargoes has expanded to provide tracers for such diverse commodities as grain, silk, antiques, diamonds, high value documents and packaging. It has been used for a great variety of purposes. One is the covert tracing of marked commodities that have entered the country as “grey” imports, sold at reduced prices. Other users are interested in authenticating products, particularly in the antiques trade. Authentication of documents can be achieved through the incorporation of a DNA tracer into the ink used to print the document. It would be impossible for counterfeiters to determine the sequence of the added DNA marker, particularly in the presence of other masking DNA. The number of unique tags that can be provided by a DNA molecule is of the order of 1060. Each application is unique and requires close collaboration between the company and the customer. It needs its own customized application and recovery procedure.
Formal research ethics codes perpetuate imbalances between ethics regulators and researchers in the social sciences. Some of these imbalances are an outcome of ethics…
Formal research ethics codes perpetuate imbalances between ethics regulators and researchers in the social sciences. Some of these imbalances are an outcome of ethics regimes that use the biomedical paradigm when evaluating social science research. The bureaucratic nature in the manner by which ethics committees operate is yet another factor that produces imbalances that reshape social scientific enquiry. This chapter, however, underscores some of the less recognised ways that ethics codes produce a disequilibrium. First, ethics codes require, in effect, that researchers in the social sciences ‘other’ themselves at the expenses of their traditional stock of social scientific methodology by seeing themselves through the eyes of the colonising ethics codes. Second, ethics codes insist that researchers need to exemplify a far larger number of virtues than the very few set aside for members of ethics review committees. Ethics regimes place social scientists on the margins of the ethics world: the regime not only colonises them, but also insists that they hold on to virtues that are quite absent with respect to members of ethics committees.
This chapter offers an anthropological commentary on the work of the Academy of Social Sciences’ Research Ethics Group and the process through which five generic ethical…
This chapter offers an anthropological commentary on the work of the Academy of Social Sciences’ Research Ethics Group and the process through which five generic ethical principles for social science research was created. I take an anthropological approach to the subject and, following the structure of Macdonald’s essay Making Research Ethics (2010), I position myself in relation to the process. I discuss various features of the REGs work including the enduring influence of medicine and biomedical research ethics on the ethics and ethics governance of social science research; the absence of philosophers and applied ethicists and their incompatibility with the kind of endeavour pursued by the Research Ethics group; and the antipathy many felt towards the creation of a common code resulting in a preference for generic principles. This chapter offers insight into the work of the Research Ethics Group and the creation of the five ethical principles for social science research, subsequently adopted by the Academy of Social Sciences.