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The Importance Of Autonomy In Scientific Ethics

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Autonomy in a Scientific Context When it comes to the scientific field, the nature of scientific work elicits a different interpretation on the concept of autonomy. According to Meiksins, and Watson (1989), autonomy in its scientific context is defined as “the ability to initiate and conclude an action and control the speed with which a task is done” (p.26). They outlined two types of autonomy in scientific works which include; the strategic autonomy and operational autonomy. In addition, they defined strategic autonomy as the ability to set up one’s own agenda for research, and operational autonomy as the freedom to attack a problem by self-determined means. It is also appreciated that the context in which the scientist works, plays a significant role in emphasizing on how the concept is actualized in the scientific community. Scientists working on basic researches in an academic setting are likely to have more autonomy than those doing research in the industry where the research agenda is largely set by the employer or industry. Seen as significant in the pursuit of science, it has also been argued that without autonomy, scientists are unlikely to commit to work; thus, hindering their work proficiency (Fitzpatrick & McCarthy, 2016). Attributes of Autonomy Self-governance is an important attribute of autonomy and it encompasses the method of laws and principles. “It is the right to keep control over self, make decisions as to one’s profession” (Dayani, 1990). Other
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