TRIZ Forum (Paper)

A Review of Japanese References on Scientists’ Responsibility

Kana Okawa (Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), PhD Student)
Presented at 3rd Forum on Knowledge Co-Creation, Held on March 2-3, 2013 at JAIST Tokyo Office, Tokyo

Published in "Forum on Knowledge Co-Creation" on Jul. 26, 2013,

[Posted: Aug. 4, 2013]

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Editor's Note (Toru Nakagawa, Jul. 30, 2013)

This paper was presented at the 3rd Forum on Knowledge Co-Creation last March and was officially published in the Web site of "Forum on Knowledge Co-Creation" last week .  I am very grateful to the author and the Forum for their kind permission of posting the paper in this site "TRIZ Home Page in Japan". 

After the March 11 Disaster in Japan due to the M9.0 earthquake, tsunami, and the nuclear power plant acceident at Fukushima in 2011, Ms. Kana Okawa, a PhD student at JAIST, started this study.  She wanted to reconsider "What scientists, and myself, should do?". 

She collected books and papers (written in Japanese) which contain the keywords such as 'scientists', 'responsibility', 'ethics', etc. in their titles or abstracts.  Reading over 140 such references she wrote this review paper.

Attending at her presentation I was much impressed with her large-scale and intensive work and her serious attitude.  We were thankful for her efforts for addressing and struggling with the important issue and reporting with criticisms to the present references and some suggestions for the future.  The paper obtained the Encouragement Award of the Forum.  I wish the "TRIZ Home Page in Japan" may be of some help for her work to be known to wider audience in Japan (and possibly in the world in future).

The author, Mrs. Kana Ariga (Okawa), having married last April, is introducing herself in her blog as "I am doing research on the themes of 'how to illustrate and communicate on science' from a sociological approach".  And she is operating a not-for-profit Web site for the purpose of "delivering with various information on 'Scientific Illustration' for illustrating useful information/concepts in science".  I am amazed with her so much talent in different areas. 

The paper  and presentation slides are posted in Japanese, while only the abstract  here in English.


  Abstract of the Paper

A Review of Japanese References on Scientists’ Responsibility


Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST)



This paper reviews about 140 papers/books which were written in Japanese for these several decades and refer to the keywords including “scientists,” “responsibility” and “ethics” in their titles or abstracts.

There have been two major themes in discussions about scientists’ responsibility. The first discusses on the responsibility ‘inside’ the academia and mostly related to research misconducts. The second deals with the responsibility ‘outwards’, i.e., towards society. Corresponding to various historical situations and changes in society, there have been different topics and threads of discussions in the two themes.

It is noticed, and confirmed in the present study, that different threads of discussions are apt to have little relationship with one another, and papers are often written without referring to the preceding discussions even in the thread. It is also pointed out that scientists tend to delay in practical actions such as institutional and educational reforms, while the requirements from society are constantly changing.

For scientists to respond to social requirements, the present author points out the importance of “reflection,” which is a part of transformative theory by J. Mezirow. The suggestion is that scientists should “reflect” on themselves, in order to appreciate social situations and values and to redefine their responsibility as scientists.



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Last updated on Aug. 4, 2013.     Access point:  Editor: