About the Online Ethics Center

The Online Ethics Center (OEC) is a resource maintained by the Center for Engineering Ethics and Society (CEES) at the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).


The OEC mission is to

  • provide engineers, scientists, faculty, and students with resources for understanding and addressing ethically significant issues that arise in scientific and engineering practice and from the developments of science and engineering; and
  • serve those who promote learning and advance understanding of responsible research and practice in engineering and science.


The OEC owes its existence to the founding leadership of Professor Caroline Whitbeck. She and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf, past president of the NAE, were the motivating forces for its transfer to the NAE in 2007. A gift from NAE member Harry E. Bovay, Jr. enabled the NAE to launch CEES and begin hosting the OEC. With this support and further substantial support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the first director of CEES, Rachelle Hollander, oversaw the revamping and expansion of the site. NAE program director Simil Raghavan managed its technical enhancements. The History of the OEC reports on prior contributions to the inception and evolution of this resource.

CEES promotes activities to resolve issues, disseminate knowledge, and broaden perspectives about ethics and science, engineering, and technology, under the direction of the CEES advisory group, which also provides oversight for the OEC.

CEES is staffed by director Dr. Rosalyn Berne, program officer Dr. Beth Cady, and website & community manager Mary Mathias. They can be reached individually by email or at OnlineEthics@nae.edu.

Financial Support

Two primary grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) have made it possible to expand the resources and functionality of the OEC. The first grant (#0936865) specifically supported OEC efforts to assist individuals and institutions in complying with the America COMPETES Act requirement to provide “appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research.” This was achieved through the restructuring of the website to facilitate searches and provide a more user-friendly interface.

The second grant (#1355547) is enabling the OEC to become the Online Resource Center for Ethics Education in Engineering and Science, a significant expansion to include resources for all of the sciences that NSF supports.

The NSF grant proposal and award administration guides specify its requirements concerning responsible conduct of research.  We provide a summary here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the OEC pages are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Additional Information

Contribute to the OEC's Resources
User's Guide
Resource Collection Plan
Disclaimer, Permissions, and Citations

Cite this page: "About the Online Ethics Center" Online Ethics Center for Engineering 1/31/2006 OEC Accessed: Friday, December 14, 2018 <www.onlineethics.org/about.aspx>