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Belmont Revisited: Ethical Principles for Research with Human Subjects
edited by James F. Childress, Eric M. Meslin and Harold T. Shapiro
Georgetown University Press, 2005
Paper: 978-1-58901-062-8
Library of Congress Classification R853.H8B45 2005
Dewey Decimal Classification 174.2


Research with human subjects has long been controversial because of the conflicts that often arise between promoting scientific knowledge and protecting the rights and welfare of subjects. Twenty-five years ago the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research addressed these conflicts. The result was the Belmont Report: Ethical Principles and Guidance for Research Involving Human Subjects, a report that identified foundational principles for ethical research with human subjects: respect for persons, beneficence, and justice.

Since the publication of Belmont, these three principles have greatly influenced discussions of research with human subjects. While they are often regarded as the single-most influential set of guidelines for biomedical research and practice in the United States (and other parts of the world), not everyone agrees that they provide adequate guidance. Belmont Revisited brings together a stellar group of scholars in bioethics to revisit the findings of that original report. Their responses constitute a broad overview of the development of the Belmont Report and the extent of its influence, especially on governmental commissions, as well as an assessment of its virtues and shortcomings.

Belmont Revisited looks back to reexamine the creation and influence of the Belmont Report, and also looks forward to the future of research—with a strong call to rethink how institutions and investigators can conduct research more ethically.

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