Max Planck Institut for the History of Science

Regulating Research

A Workshop at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

March 16-17, 2012

Flyer Regulationg Research (March 2012) MPIWG

Organized by Etienne Benson

Held at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstr. 22, D-14195 Berlin

Contact: mail

PDFLink to the program PDF – PDF-File, 1.3 MB

Few scientists today are exempt from regulatory oversight of one kind or another. Physicists and chemists must meet safety standards for hazardous materials, biomedical researchers must seek informed consent from human subjects and satisfy animal welfare regulations, field biologists must apply for permits to capture or kill members of endangered species or to work in protected areas, and anthropologists and archaeologists must often obtain approval from their research subjects or their descendants before conducting ethnographies or collecting artifacts.  

But it has not always been thus. The regulatory schemes that implement ethical and safety requirements for scientific practice – and the adaptations and resistances they have produced within the scientific community and in its relation to external sponsors and critics – arguably represent a major shift in the practice of science over the past half-century.  

While a number of scholars have studied what might be described as the regulatory turn in the governance of science within particular disciplines, comparative or synthetic work is rare and many questions remain unanswered. This interdiscplinary workshop brings together historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and legal scholars to address the following questions about the regulation of science across a diversity of disciplines and national contexts:


The conference is free and open to the public but pre-registration is requested; please email Etienne Benson ( if you plan to attend.