Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Agenda

Research integrity: How to conduct responsible research in a rapidly changing research environment

Date: 11 January 2021 - 15 January 2021
Location: Online

The integrity of scientific research has received an increase in attention in recent years. Researchers, policy makers, politicians as well as universities at large have raised concerns about the way academic research is organized and about the influence of the research culture on research practice.

Course levelMaster, PhD candidates and professionals from all disciplines
Prior knowledgeNo prior knowledge is assumed
Intended credits2 ECTS
Course organisationVrij Universiteit Amsterdam
More informationhttps://www.vu.nl/en/programmes/short/winter-school/courses/research-integrity.aspx

Course content

The integrity of scientific research has received an increase in attention in recent years. Researchers, policy makers, politicians as well as universities at large have raised concerns about the way academic research is organized and about the influence of the research culture on research practice.

Academia is currently facing a challenging set of problems: first, the prevalence of research misbehaviour was found higher than desirable; second, the reproducibility crisis and the factors contributing to the impossibility to replicate a large set of research results; and third, the issue of research waste, which is mainly due to poor reporting and the failure to publish negative or ambiguous results.

By making PhD candidates or master students who are preparing for a career in research aware of these issues, and by training them in the required skills and tools needed to address these issues, we prepare them to remain responsible researchers in an environment that might lure them into sloppy science, even unintentionally.

This course reviews research integrity in academia in both the conduct of science, the evaluation of science, the peer review system and in the academic community at large. It is a highly interactive course where participants engage with different issues such as replication, the peer review crisis, and what a responsible research culture looks like. We also look into the future of academia and specifically open science.

Next to knowledge transfer and raising awareness, we deem it just as important that PhD candidates or master students develop their moral sense of research conduct and train their skills to put responsible research into practice. Therefore, the various parts of this Winter School have different goals: the reading materials and lectures focus on knowledge transfer and raising awareness; the tutorial and working groups focus on practicing skills. The moral case deliberation focuses on reflection, delaying judgement and conducting an explorative dialogue rather than discussion on sensitive issues in research. The participants bring the acquired knowledge and skills to practice in the assignments and reflection, which will be aligned with the exercised skills in the working groups.

Learning objectives

In this course, students will learn:

  • What the current status of academic research requires;
  • Whether there is a replicability crisis and what remedies are coined to improve science;
  • How to apply the code of conduct for research integrity within student’s own work;
  • How to reflect on research integrity dilemmas within specific fields;
  • How one can spot unprofessional conduct of research;
  • What research integrity will look like in the future and how experts expect academic research to be organized.