The OBD presents a document to promote reponsible access to legal-bioethics data in networks
The Observatory of Bioethics and Law (OBD)–UNESCO Chair in Bioethics at University of Barcelona, based in the Parc Científic de Barcelona, has just released a document entitled «Document on reponsible access to legal-bioethics data in networks» as part of the research project «ADNBIOLAW», funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and supported by the «Bioethics, Law and Society» Consolidated Research Group of the Generalitat of Catalonia. The OBD warns of the negative effects of the lack of update, contextualization, errors and omissions often incurred by the various stakeholders involved in bioethical debates, and their impact on public policy making and the transmission of information.
The document has been coordinated by Blanca Borquez, researcher at the OBD; Maria Jesus Buxó, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Barcelona (UB) and member of the OBD; Itziar de Lecuona, researcher at the OBD; and María Casado, OBD director of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics of the UB, and coordinator of the “Bioethics, Law and Society” Consolidated Research Group of the Generalitat.
The advances made in the field of information technologies provide access to a vast wealth of information, but this availability does not always lead to controlled, verified and updated data. This is particularly relevant with regard to the interpretation of legal regulations, an area where you can easily find deficiencies that in this regard -comparared or non-compared- analyses of regulatory texts tend to present with bioethical implications by not considering the reality of society and the institutional space in which the rules have been dictated.
Nowadays, bioethics plays an undoubtful determining role in generating public opinion, new policies and regulatory frameworks. The lack of reliability and decontextualization, can lead, both authors and readers, to the generation of erroneous opinions and wrong approaches that are detrimental to a dialogue based on sound scientific basis, which has a negative effect and can lead to the adoption of wrong decisions in public policies and new regulations.
“In recent months we have seen several examples in the press of the use of second-hand, not contrasted, decontextualized information sources, and lack of rigor in the use of data, showing how information handled superficially can lead to sensational news on important issues, such as cloning, euthanasia, etc.”, said Blanca Borquez.
In producing this document, the OBD warns against the serious disadvantages of an erroneous handling of information for a proper and responsible bioethical debate, while offering all the professionals working in this field- journalists, researchers, legislators , etc.-, a series of recommendations, in view of the immense amount of available but not controllable information.
“Professionals involved in the creation of new knowledge in the legal and bioethics field, or in the better understanding, foundation and dissemination of existing knowledge, need to be aware that their work can have negative effects on the process of developing new regulatory and public policy frameworks. All stakeholders involved in the generation of information have a responsibility to provide the reader with real data. Objectivity, transparency, reliability and contextualization constitute the basic pillars in this task”, says Dr. Casado.
This works is part of a larger research project sponsored by the OBD-UB UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, in collaboration with the “Bioethics, Law and Society” Consolidated Research Group” of the Generalitat, which aims to develop an online information platform, which allows access to relevant and updated documentation on demographics, political, social, regulatory, and institutional data, and on the development index and belonging at the request of international Human Rights Protection agencies in South American countries, Mexico and Spain.