Deadline: November 02, 2015

Annette Rid

Seema Shah

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The Editors of Bioethics are pleased to announce a special issue in 2016 on the social value of research. Social value is widely accepted, but rarely questioned as a benchmark of ethical research. International and national research ethics guidelines and regulations presume that the value of research to society is critically important for selecting study populations, justifying risk imposition, and determining the acceptable level of net risk. Yet, there is a limited amount of scholarship exploring what the “social value requirement” entails or what its normative status should be in research ethics.

We invite submissions on all aspects of this topic. Questions include but are not limited to:

  • What makes research socially valuable?
  • How does the social value of research relate to its scientific value? 
  • Does the social value of research pertain to the potential value of study interventions, research studies or research programs?
  •  Is social value a necessary requirement for ethical research?
  • Should social value be considered as a threshold condition for research to proceed, or should a given project’s social value be reasonable in relation to other considerations, such as the risks to participants?
  • Are there different types of social value that have more or less moral weight?
  • How should the inherent uncertainty about research outcomes be factored into social value judgments?
  • Should social value judgments reflect both the potential positive and negative social value of research? If so, how should the two be balanced?
  • When conducting research in low- and middle-income countries or with vulnerable populations, is social value for the study population necessary? Or is social value for the study population a universal requirement for research?
  • Who should make judgments about the social value of research?

The editors welcome early discussion of brief proposals and/or abstracts by email to: Annette Rid, Department of Social Science, Health & Medicine, King’s College London, or Seema Shah, Department of Bioethics, The Clinical Center, U.S. National Institutes of Health,

Upon submission authors should include full contact details and a few lines of biographical information in a separate electronic file. We discourage papers of more than 5000 words.

For further submission requirements, format and referencing style, refer to the Author Guidelines on the Bioethics website:

Manuscripts should be submitted to Bioethics online at

Please ensure that you select manuscript type 'Special Issue' and state that it is for the Social Value Special Issue when prompted.

bioethics call for submissions human subjects research research