Ethical Challenges of Simulation-Driven Big Neuroscience
Christen M., Biller-Andorno N., Bringedal B., Grimes K., Savulescu J., Walter H.
© 2016, Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Research in neuroscience traditionally relies on rather small groups that deal with different questions on all levels of neuronal organization. Recent funding initiatives—notably the European “Human Brain Project” (HBP)—aim to promote Big Neuroscience for integrating research and unifying knowledge. This approach is characterized by two aspects: first, by many interacting researchers from various disciplines that deal with heterogeneous data and are accountable to a large public funding source; and second, by a decisive role of information and communication technology (ICT) as an instrument not only to perform but also to structure and guide scientific activities, for example, through simulations in the case of the HBP. We argue that Big Neuroscience comes along with specific ethical challenges. By examining the justification of Big Neuroscience and the role and effects of ICT on social interaction of researchers and knowledge production, we provide suggestions to address these challenges.