Public Participation as a Potential Counter Strategy against Unethical Optimism
The importance and effectiveness of public participation and upstream engagement have been emphasized in the field of STS (Science, Technology, and Society) studies. Here, the authors introduce these as potential tools to clear away unethical “optimism,” which Gareth criticizes in his target article. the authors present three cases (AIDS, muscular dystrophy research, and the shepherds of Cumbria) in which public participation proved to be beneficial. Participation of non-experts within fields in which experts are exclusively involved can potentially break biases and restricted perspectives, and views from non-experts may even lead to newer research directions. Incorporation of patient and subject perspectives into research may reduce unethical, or biased, optimism in clinical research and even basic experiments. the authors surmise that this argument holds true even in the research fields of nerve grafting and nerve regeneration.
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