Sheldon Krimsky

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Sheldon Krimsky is Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University, and adjunct professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at Tufts University School of Medicine.[1] He is a fellow of the Hastings Center, an independent bioethics research institution.[2]

Krimsky received his bachelors and masters degrees in physics from Brooklyn College and Purdue University respectively, and a masters and doctorate in philosophy at Boston University.


Science in the Private Interest[edit]

In his 2003 Science in the Private Interest, Krimsky points out that conflicts of interests are perceived and regulated very differently in public affairs and in science:

The prophylactic measures that are taken to prevent conflict of interest in public affairs are considered irrelevant in science precisely because scientists view themselves as participating in a higher calling that that of public officials—namely, the pursuit of objective knowledge. While senior public officials (elected or appointed) are prohibited from managing their portfolios during their tenure in office, scientists with patents and equity in companies that fund their research are at most simply asked to disclose their interests.[3]

Krimsky raises the concern that conflicts of interest may compromise the scientific norm of disinterestedness, which "requires that scientists apply the methods, perform the analysis, and execute the interpretation of results without considerations of personal gain, ideology, or fidelity to any cause other than the pursuit of truth."[4]

Blurred boundaries between public interest science and pursuit of private gain have, Krimsky claims, severely compromised the integrity of university science:

The evolving academic universe is no longer as nurturing an environment for public-interest science as it once was. To a large degree, universities have been taken over by money managers and academic entrepreneurs who are looking for financially lucrative research.[5]

Editorial and Advisory Positions[edit]



  • Genetic Alchemy: The Social History of the Recombinant DNA Controversy (MIT Press, 1982)
  • Biotechnics and Society: The Rise of Industrial Genetics (Praeger, 1991)
  • Hormonal Chaos: The Scientific and Social Origins of the Environmental Endocrine Hypothesis (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000)
  • Science in the Private Interest: Has the lure of profits corrupted biomedical research? (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2003)

Co-authored Books:

  • Environmental Hazards: Communicating Risks as a Social Process (Auburn House, 1988)
  • Agricultural Biotechnology and the Environment: Science, Policy and Social Values (University of llinois, 1996)

Co-edited Books:

  • Social Theories of Risk (Praeger, 1992)
  • Rights and Liberties in the Biotech Age: Why We Need a Genetic Bill of Rights (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Council for Responsible Genetics", Board of Directors. Accessed June 2, 2009.
  2. ^ The Hastings Center Hastings Center Fellows. Accessed November 6, 2010
  3. ^ Science in the Private Interest: Has the Lure of Profits Corrupted Biomedical Research? (2003), p. 130
  4. ^ Science in the Private Interest: Has the Lure of Profits Corrupted Biomedical Research? (2003), p. 77
  5. ^ Science in the Private Interest: Has the Lure of Profits Corrupted Biomedical Research? (2003), p. 179
  6. ^ "Krimsky's Bio", Tufts University, Accessed June 17, 2009.