Toward an ethics of analytical support

As the tools of nanoscale detective work become increasingly sophisticated and expensive, teams of researchers and facilities dedicated to analytical study of small worlds will become increasingly the rule rather than the exception. We refer to this kind of collaborative "characterization outreach" as tech-sharing, to distinguish it from the sort of tech-transfer whose focus is the licensing of technology between instituitons.

With collaborative outreach labs of this sort, as in the case of doctor-patient and lawyer-client communications now, ethical as well as contractual guidelines are important to facilitate communication between institutions. Formal development of this ethics, locally and on a national or global basis, also serves to reinforce ethical considerations in student behavior in those cases where the characterization facilities are hosted by a University.