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Scientific Research: Opening the Door to the Future
Chapter 3 New Trends in the Promotion of Science
Section 4: Fostering Public Understanding of Scientific Research and Expanding Learning Opportunities
1. The Growing Sophistication of Scientific Research and Researchers' Responsibilities

Science and technology are expected to provide answers to global problems and other issues having implications for the future of the human race. Yet the increasing sophistication and precision of science and technology and the growing specialization of scholarship have given rise to social issues in which advanced scientific research and the development of technology conflict with bioethics and human values. One such issue arose in February 1997, when scientists in the United Kingdom cloned a sheep with a genetic makeup identical to that of the parent cells from which it was created. In such cases, it is necessary to proceed on the basis of a social consensus created by providing the public with information about the safety issues involved and the utility of the research.

To a greater or lesser degree, scientific research is carried out in the context of a reciprocal relationship with society. Researchers must take ac-count of the social significance and impact of their activities and findings and must also work to inform the public about the content and results of their research.

Science and technology are becoming increasingly sophisticated and precise, and scholarship is growing more and more specialized. Individual researchers and research groups must ensure that their work is backed by ethics and a sense of responsibility. Only then will society come to understand and accept research activity and science be able to advance in ways that maintain harmony with humanity, society, the global environment, and nature.

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