You are a graduate student working on your PhD in a neurophysiology laboratory. You are trying to determine the role of a specific neuroreceptor in long-term memory formation using transgenic rats whose gene for that protein has been mutated, inactivating the protein. It is possible that if this receptor doe play a role in long term memory formation a drug could be developed to treat those with memory problems. You research involves the use of a highly sophisticated in vivo brain imaging system. The use of that system is very expensive and time on the machine is limited. You have waited 6 months to use the instrument. You cannot expect to use the instrument again for at least a year. Your experiment yields data which largely confirms your hypothesis but there are several data points that appear to be “outliers”. If those data points are included in your data analysis there would be no statistically significant difference between your control and experimental groups of animals. You noticed during the experiment that there were several small voltage spikes. You suspect that these voltage spikes may have caused the unexpected data points. You did not record information about the voltage spikes (timing, amplitude or duration) in your lab notebook at the time. You have data from techniques that support your hypothesis. It is likely that you could publish the results of the other experiments in a lower tier journal, but without the brain imaging results you cannot publish in a top tier journal. You hope to finish your doctoral work in the next six months and apply for faculty positions.
A. Under what conditions if any can you discount specific data points?
B. Under what conditions if any can you discount and entire experiment?
C. Identify all the stakeholders who will be affected and what that affect will be if in fact the results are published without the contradictory data/experiment and the published results prove to be inaccurate.
D. Explain what you would do and why.
E.What is the relevant and important information one should take into consideration? Why is this problematic?
F. Please describe the underlying ethical issue. Define the issue from a utilitarian approach and a deontelogic approach. One approach may feel more sound to you. Why or why not?
G. There are moral approaches that must be taken into consideration. Please explain how autonomy, beneficience, justice, and non-maleficience may be applied to this scenario.