Center for Bioethics Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

June 2001


Federal policies on human research subjects have undergone a progressive transformation. In the early decades of the twentieth century, federal policies largely relied on the discretion of investigators to decide when and how to conduct research. This approach gradually gave way to policies that augmented investigator discretion with externally imposed protections. We may now be entering an era of even more stringent external protections. Whether the new policies effectively absolve investigators of personal responsibility for conducting ethical research, and whether it is wise to do so, remains to be seen.


© The Hastings Center. Reprinted by permission. This article originally appeared in the Hastings Center Report, Volume 31, Issue 3, June 2001, pages 9-17.
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NOTE: At the time of publication, author Jonathan D. Moreno was affiliated with the University of Virginia. Currently March 2007, he is a faculty member in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania.



Date Posted: 20 March 2007