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    Alexander Skutch

    Alexander Skutch

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    Alexander Frank Skutch

    Born May 20, 1904 Baltimore, Maryland

    Died May 12, 2004 (aged 99)

    San Isidro de El General, Costa Rica

    Alma mater Johns Hopkins University

    Spouse Pamela Lankester

    Scientific career

    Fields Ornithology Botany Philosophy

    Author abbrev. (botany) Skutch

    Alexander Frank Skutch (May 20, 1904 – May 12, 2004) was a naturalist and writer. He published numerous scientific papers and books about birds and several books on philosophy. He is best remembered ornithologically for his pioneering work on helpers at the nest.


    1 Biography

    2 Selected publications

    3 Skutch Award 4 References 5 External links


    Alexander Skutch was born in Baltimore, Maryland.[1] He received a doctorate in botany from Johns Hopkins University in 1928. He then found employment with United Fruit Company, which had a problem with banana diseases, for which it needed the expertise of a botanist. After an initial stay in Jamaica, Skutch traveled to Guatemala, Panama and Honduras. During this time he fell in love with the tropics and also acquired a deep interest in birds. He began studying their habits. Skutch collected plants for museums to make money, but observing birds remained his life's main focus.

    In 1941 Skutch purchased a farm in Costa Rica.[2][3] There, as an author of one of his obituaries wrote:[4]

    A lifelong vegetarian, Skutch grew corn, yucca and other crops, and, without running water until the 1990s, bathed and drank from the nearest stream. He believed in "treading lightly on the mother Earth". With his wife Pamela, daughter of the English naturalist, botanist, and orchidologist Charles H. Lankester, whom he married in 1950, and their adopted son Edwin, he stayed there for the rest of his life.

    Skutch wrote over 40 books and over 200 papers on ornithology, preferring a descriptive style and eschewing statistics and even banding.[4] He died eight days before his 100th birthday, in the same year that he received the Loye and Alden Miller Research Award. He is universally regarded as one of the world's greatest ornithologists.[5]

    Selected publications[edit]

    As well as numerous contributions to the scientific literature, books and book-length papers authored or coauthored by Skutch include:

    1954 – . ( No.31). Cooper Ornithological Society: Berkeley. PDF

    1960 – . ( No.34). Cooper Ornithological Society: Berkeley. PDF

    1967 – . ( No.7). Harvard University: Cambridge. BHL

    1969 – . ( No.35). Cooper Ornithological Society: Berkeley. PDF

    1970 – . Holt, Rinehart and Winston: New York. ISBN 0-03-085082-7

    1971 – . University of Florida Press: Gainesville. ISBN 0-8130-0312-1. Internet Archive, 1992 2nd edition, registration required

    1972 – . ( No.10). Harvard University: Cambridge. BHL

    1973 – . Crown Publishers: New York. ISBN 0-517-50572-X. Internet Archive, registration required

    1976 – . (Corrie Herring Hooks series, No.2). University of Texas Press: Austin. ISBN 0-292-76424-3

    1977 – . (Corrie Herring Hooks series, No.3). University of Texas Press: Austin. ISBN 0-292-70722-3

    1979 – . University of Florida Press: Gainesville. ISBN 0-8130-0579-5

    1980 – . (Illustrated by Dana Gardner). University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-03802-9. Internet Archive, registration required

    1981 – . (Illustrated by Dana Gardner). (Publications of the Nuttall Ornithological Club No.19). Harvard University: Cambridge. ISBN 1-877973-29-7. BHL

    1983 – . (Illustrated by Dana Gardner). (Corrie Herring Hooks series, No.5). University of Texas Press: Austin. ISBN 0-292-74634-2

    1984 – . (Illustrated by John S. Dunning). Editorial Costa Rica: San Jose. ISBN 9977-23-108-7

    1984 – . University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-04745-1

    1985 – . (Illustrated by Dana Gardner). Libro Libre: San Jose, Costa Rica. ISBN 9977-901-20-1

    1985 – . University of Texas Press: Austin. ISBN 0-292-70374-0

    1985 – . (Illustrated by Dana Gardner). Ibis Publishing: Santa Monica. ISBN 0-934797-00-5

    1987 – . (Illustrated by Dana Gardner). (1st edition). University Of Iowa Press. ISBN 0-87745-150-8. Internet Archive, registration required

    1987 – . (Illustrated by Dana Gardner). University of Iowa Press. ISBN 0-87745-163-X

    1989 – . (With F. Gary Stiles. Illustrated by Dana Gardner). Comstock Publishing Associates/Cornell University Press: Ithaca. ISBN 0-8014-2287-6. Internet Archive, registration required

    1989 – . (Corrie Herring Hooks series, No.14). University of Texas Press: Austin. ISBN 0-292-70773-8. Internet Archive, registration required

    1989 – . (Illustrated by Dana Gardner). Comstock Publishing: Ithaca. ISBN 0-8014-2226-4

    1991 – . (Illustrated by Dana Gardner). Comstock Publishing: Ithaca. ISBN 0-8014-2528-X

    1992 – . (Corrie Herring Hooks series). University of Texas Press: Austin. ISBN 0-292-76037-X

    1996 – . (Illustrated by Dana Gardner). University of Texas Press: Austin. ISBN 0-292-77705-1

    1996 – . (Illustrated by Dana Gardner). University of Arizona Press. ISBN 0-8165-1601-4

    स्रोत : en.wikipedia.org

    A question of method. The ethics of managing conflicts of interest

    EMBO Rep. 2008 Feb; 9(2): 119–123.

    doi: 10.1038/sj.embor.2008.4

    PMCID: PMC2246405 PMID: 18246102

    A question of method. The ethics of managing conflicts of interest

    Samia A Hurst1,a and Alex Mauron1

    Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer

    Conflicts of interest in biomedical research can endanger the independent judgement of researchers and, in a worst-case scenario, can result in harm to humans, animals or the environment, or avoidable damage to scientifically validated truths. Highly publicized cases of scientists who have downplayed the risk of passive smoking—while receiving funding from the tobacco industry—or researchers who have questioned anthropogenic global climate change—yet are supported by the coal or oil industries—(LaDou et al, 2007) have attracted persistent, and often appropriate, criticism.

    A conflict of interest occurs when someone in a position of trust—for example, an academic researcher, lawyer or physician—has competing private and professional interests that make it more difficult to fulfil his or her professional duties without bias. However, a conflict of interest in itself is not necessarily bad, as long as the ‘right' interests prevail.

    Nevertheless, conflicts of interest can create an impression of impropriety that, in the long run, might undermine the credibility of an individual or even an entire profession. At a time when policy-makers, politicians and the public increasingly rely on scientific advice about controversial issues—for example, human embryonic stem cells, genetically modified crops or global climate change—conflicts of interest diminish the public's trust in the independence and unbiased judgement of academic scientists. To maintain trust, researchers must remain visibly trustworthy, which requires a careful and explicit management of conflicts of interest. Amidst growing concerns about the rising prevalence of conflicts of interest (Bekelman et al, 2003) and the attendant risks, various commentators and scientists have proposed several measures to handle conflicts of interest, which range from injunctions for more systematic disclosures to outright bans (Kaiser, 2005).

    …a conflict of interest in itself is not necessarily bad, as long as the ‘right' interests prevail

    Yet, research funding from private benefactors—who often pursue their own interests when they finance research or collaborate with academic scientists—contributes considerably to and benefits research. Therefore, should scientists regard these sources of funding as opportunities or moral problems? It is necessary to find a sensible way of regulating conflicts of interest that both allows research to benefit from private contributions and collaborations, and protects the independence and unbiased judgement of research scientists.

    An example of the difficulties represented by conflicts of interest and regulation is the question of selective bans on funding from tobacco companies in medical research (Cohen, 2001). A few years ago, the University of Geneva was affected when a public health researcher with whom it was associated was accused of scientific fraud. For decades he had been secretly paid as a consultant for the tobacco company Philip Morris (Richmond, VA, USA) and his research had disingenuously entertained a controversy on the health risks of passive smoking (Diethelm et al, 2005). Pressing libel charges, the researcher initiated legal proceedings that eventually came before the Federal Tribunal, Switzerland's highest court of appeal. Simultaneously, the University conducted an inquiry into his scientific misconduct. Both proceedings concluded that he could not be considered to be independent from the tobacco industry, that his involvement was part of a deliberate strategy by the tobacco industry to raise doubt about the health risks of passive smoking, and that the interests of the industry were in contradiction to those of public health and medical science (Mauron et al, 2004; Anon, 2006).

    New regulations—or modifications to existing regulations—that deal with conflicts of interest usually come in the wake of scandals or attacks on scientific integrity (Check, 2004). Not surprisingly, these are often heavily influenced by the particular details of a given case. For example, in a press release issued in December 2001—shortly after its internal committee concluded its investigation—the University of Geneva announced that it was asking its members to no longer accept funding from the tobacco industry, and instructing its researchers to systematically declare the source of funding in their publications and when presenting results (University of Geneva, 2001). It thus joined a growing list of academic institutions that prevent their faculty from obtaining funding from the tobacco industry (Cohen, 2001). However, it is difficult to decide how to regulate funding and the potential conflict of interest it entails. Given the strong particular interests that usually lead to detailed rules on the subject, such regulations are often vulnerable to allegations of partiality. Conversely, to advocate no regulation at all downplays or disregards the problem (Stossel, 2005). In addition, an outright ban on private funding would be misguided because it would not allow academia and industry to join forces when both have a genuine convergence of interest (Korn & Ehringhaus, 2005).

    Selective bans on certain collaborations—for example, with the tobacco industry—have been criticized both as too strict and too lenient (Cohen, 2001). Such bans have been regarded as inequitable both to researchers and to sponsors—contrary to the neutrality of research (Glantz, 2005)—and some fear that they could be the first steps down a slippery slope that would eventually lead to intrusive regulations and prevent financial partnerships that are necessary for academia (Jones, 2005; Stossel, 2005). Some are also concerned that selective bans would merely act to evade debates about more prevalent conflicts of interest: for example, funding by pharmaceutical companies and the risk that it could distort the priorities of medical research.

    स्रोत : www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

    Understanding Conflict of Interest

    Understanding Conflict of Interest Conflict of interest is a common issue in the workplace. Most of us have heard someone say, “It’s who you know, not what you know.” We have heard co-workers complain that a manager’s relative always gets the biggest raise or the best assignment. We might have seen colleagues accept gifts from […]

    Understanding Conflict of Interest

    Understanding Conflict of Interest

    Conflict of interest is a common issue in the workplace. Most of us have heard someone say, “It’s who you know, not what you know.” We have heard co-workers complain that a manager’s relative always gets the biggest raise or the best assignment. We might have seen colleagues accept gifts from potential vendors. Maybe a co-worker leaves work 20 minutes early every day so she can get to her second job. A supervisor may give a co-worker time off from work to do volunteer work or might allow employees to solicit donations and funds in the workplace, whether for the Girl Scouts or a local school function. Even though these situations are very different, they all fall under the heading of “conflict of interest.”

    What is a Conflict of Interest?

    A conflict of interest occurs when an individual’s personal interests – family, friendships, financial, or social factors – could compromise his or her judgment, decisions, or actions in the workplace. Government agencies take conflicts of interest so seriously that they are regulated. Industry organizations, corporations, and universities, including our university, follow that lead by including conflicts of interest in our policies, regulations, and standards of operating procedures. For our university, we must follow Florida’s Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees that includes standards of conduct and reporting requirements.

    Conflicts of interest are a clash that most often occurs between requirements and interests. Various types of conflicts of interest can occur because of the nature of relationships versus rules of organizations or federal and state laws. People can easily become biased (have an unfair preference) because of small things like friendship, food, or flattery, or they may be influenced to make a decision because of the potential to gain power, prestige, or money. Conflicts can occur when an individual makes or influences a decision and does so for some personal gain that may be unfair, unethical, or even illegal. The important part is what you do in each of those situations. Do you allow your family, friendship, financial, or inside knowledge affect your actions? If you do, you could be violating state statute and university policy.

    In our work lives, we also have interests that could influence the way we do our jobs and the decisions we make. Even if we never act on them, there may be an appearance that a conflict of interest has influenced our decisions. Consider this example. Your supervisor is promoted to department director. His daughter-in-law is hired as a new supervisor within the college but is not reporting to him. Maybe the new supervisor is the best candidate for that position, and maybe the new department director had nothing to do with her hire. Even if this hire met all of the requirements under our Employment of Relatives policy, the situation appears suspicious and employees may think that something was unfair or unethical about her hire.

    Transparency (being completely open and frank) becomes important when dealing with both actual and potentially perceived conflicts of interest. Perception happens when an individual observes something (behavior or activity) and comes to a conclusion. Perceiving a conflict of interest does not make it a conflict of interest. The true test of verifying whether a matter is just a potentially perceived conflict of interest, or an actual conflict of interest, is disclosure.

    When it comes to conflicts of interest, appearance is as important as reality. This is why disclosing conflicts of interest is important. Disclosure is typically a more formal and documented process that most organizations have adopted in policy to address conflicts of interest. The disclosure process is intended to help the work force be transparent and accountable for (explain or justify) their actions and decisions. Disclosure of a potential conflict of interest does not make it an actual conflict, but may help eliminate the perception. On the other hand, disclosure of an actual conflict of interest does not remove the conflict, but helps get it in the open to be properly addressed. It’s important to disclose both potentially perceived and actual conflicts of interest to allow others to evaluate the matter and make the decision, rather than keep it to oneself and then create an ethical or legal situation. The individual cannot make the determination as to whether it is a conflict or not because he or she does not have an independent or objective point of view.

    When you identify a situation that may be a conflict, or could be perceived as a conflict, notify your supervisor or University Compliance, Ethics, and Risk at [email protected] They can help advise you on how to either remove the conflict by recusing yourself from the situation altogether, or develop a management plan to manage the conflict.

    Final Point to Consider

    “When in doubt, ask” is an old saying that makes a great deal of sense when working through conflicts of interest. There is no harm in asking, but there could be a great deal of harm to an individual, the organization, or both, by not asking. It is always best to be transparent and accountable to ensure we eliminate either the perceived or actual conflict of interest.

    स्रोत : compliance.ucf.edu

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