Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics (CRB)

What you will learn

You need skills to manage the ethical aspects of your research. The Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics offers some of the practical tools you need. And as a bonus for your own career, you can include research ethics training in your professional profile.

There is growing concern about research integrity. Scientists need formal training in research ethics to meet demands from universities and funding agencies. This interactive online training will give you the tools to manage ethical dilemmas.

We present the central guidelines that regulate research, and teach you how to:

  • Deal with publication ethics, competing interests and other issues that can help you manage research collaborations.
  • Improve your own capacity to reflect on preconceptions and values in relation to ethical problems.
  • Improve your ability to mobilize a sense of responsibility when you face ethical dilemmas.

In short

  • This is a 10 week part time training (around 10 hours per week) that gives you 4 credits (equivalent to ECTS).
  • The course runs over ten weeks and covers nine themes.
  • During the last week, you share what you have learned with your colleagues at your home institution.

What to expect

Research ethics and research integrity is not just following regulation. Researchers need to be able to identify ethical problems in their own research. Even in the absence of rules!

This training will develop your own ability to identify ethical aspects of your work, and to do something about them. If you are a professional working with researchers, you will receive the basic tools to identify and assess central ethical aspects in scientists’ work.

We offer some of the practical tools you need: Updated and research-based
information, important issues and concepts. We will also provide you with a
resource bank of instructions, forms, guidelines and principles.

what you learn

  • Data acquisition, management, sharing, and ownership
  • Mentor/trainee responsibilities
  • Publication ethics & peer review
  • Collaboration in research
  • Biosafety and biosecurity
  • Research involving human subjects
  • Research involving animals
  • The scientist in society
  • Research misconduct
  • Conflicts of interest and commitment
  • Scientific and professional values

We have divided these themes in nine lessons, one every week. The last week is about sharing what you have learned with your colleagues.

Nine lessons in ten weeks

We cover nine themes over ten weeks. During the last week, you will return what you have learned to your workplace.

Each week starts with a video lecture, followed by an online quiz. If you have time, there are more readings. In the middle of the week we ask you to do some readings and discuss with the other students in an online forum. The week ends with a challenge.

There are three e-meetings where you meet your fellow students and discuss face to face. The final week is for working on a project at your home institution. 

We cover a new theme every week. We start with the development of research ethics and end with a practical task at your workplace

1. History and development of research ethics

Ethical guidelines are often created in response to research scandals. We discuss the background and some of the most important guiding documents in research ethics today, and the roles they play in different kinds of research contexts.

2. Human subjects research

Research on human subjects is not always invasive: sometimes researchers collect data or use existing data. What makes clinical research on humans ethical? When should a researcher strive to improve the consent process? And can we put too much emphasis on consent?

3. The scientist in society

The decision to develop and use the atom bomb created and ethical crisis among scientists. But do scientists have political and social responsibilities? How do we view justice when it comes to distribution of benefits from research that profit from indigenous knowledge?

4. Scientific and professional values

s science value free or are values embedded in the scientific endeavor? Are there some core values for scientists? How do we practice good research? What is the role of values such as honesty, skepticism, fairness, collegiality and openness?

5. Animals as research models

Do humans have a higher moral standing than other animals? Or do we have special capacities that give us special rights? Should the genetic integrity of a species stop us from altering it? Can we move forward with the 3Rs (replacement, reduction, and refinement)?

6. Collaboration in research

How can we work together in a good way? What are the pitfalls? We give you tools for dealing with authorship disputes, sharing of data and results, and conflicts of interest.

7. Scientific misconduct

Gift authorship and some other questionable practices are widely accepted, but that doesn't mean they are ok. You will learn about whistleblowing and how not to falsify or fabricate data, alter images, remove outliers, or engage in salami-slicing to increase the number of publications.

8. Publication ethics

The way we publish and review is rapidly changing. You will learn about the fraud industry that has risen as the number of publications increase. You will also find out how new models for peer-review tries to meet this challenge, what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it.

9. Dual use research

Research on anthrax, smallpox and other biological agents can be used to create biological weapons. Do scientists have a responsibility for research that can be used to harm others? And who has to prove that the research is safe? We discuss dual use dilemmas, biosafety, biosecurity, and the precautionary principle

10. Sharing what you have learned

After the course you will return what you have learned to your workplace. This could mean many different things, depending on what is suitable for you: You could create an ethics code, give a lecture, organize a public debate on research ethics, a symposium, make an empirical study, write a policy paper on research and ethics at your institution, create a yearly ethics day or a website addressing ethical issues for your workplace, create an essay contest on research ethics for students.