Work setting, publication, and scientific responsibility

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Semistructured interviews (N = 61) with toxic exposure epidemiologists indicate that those in government settings (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], state health departments, and National Institutes of Health [NIH]) were more aware of and responsive to societal consequences of their publications than were those in universities. The NIH data were surprising, given NIH's ivory tower image, but in part appear to stem from a broad trend toward greater accountability in science, Other worksite influences included "institutional voice": epidemiologists from NIH or CDC were aware of speaking in the "voice of the government." There was also limited evidence suggesting the importance of the local unit environment: investigators in the same research unit often reported being influenced by the tone set by the unit chief and colleagues. This preliminary study suggests that work setting influences how epidemiologists define and execute their ethical responsibilities toward social consequences of their work, and it generates questions and five hypotheses for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-457
Number of pages38
JournalScience Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2003


  • Media
  • Scientific publication
  • Scientific responsibility
  • Toxic exposure epidemiology
  • Work setting


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