From 5 November 2018 10:30 to 7 November 2018 14:45

Maintaining Scientific Integrity in Present Day Academic Reality

Recently, science has increasingly become compromised by issues having to do with the integrity of researchers, research teams and their institutions. Individuals, institutions, and the culture in which science can grow and proliferate seem to have become driven by incentives produced by the need to survive in present day academic reality, such as increased dependency on contract research, output-based financing, impact-factor-based publishing and the need for strategic maximization of Hirsch index, which makes them vulnerable to breaches of integrity. For young scientists in training, but also for established academic scholars, thus the question arises: What are the pitfalls of science and of how to develop and maintain a high ethical standard in the present-day academic reality?

From 5-7 November a course will be offered for PhD-candidates of the Graduate School of Geosciences. In six sessions, key-issues in academic integrity will be explored. Each session starts with a lecture, followed by discussions in break-out groups. The lectures are open to all staff, the in-depth discussions in break-out groups are only for the PhD students that follow this course.

Schedule of open lectures

Monday 5 November

10.30 -11.15: Towards a new Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity
Ellen Moors

This presentation discusses the scope and principles of the new Netherlands Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, the standards for good research practices, duties for the university, and the measures and sanctions in case of non-compliance with the standards.

14.00 – 14.45: Reproducibility in science
Jarno Hoekman

This lecture focuses on contemporary debates in science and society about the reproducibility of scientific research. The starting point of the lecture is the “science in crisis” narrative which postulates that a considerable number of scientific studies are unreliable and difficult or impossible to replicate on subsequent investigations. In a first part, we will trace the origins of the reproducibility principle and examine why it does not seem to deliver on its promise in the current academic climate. In a second part, we focus on how researchers can increase the reproducibility of their own work and how such efforts might be dependent on the scientific methods employed and the disciplinary culture in which the researcher is embedded.

Tuesday 6 November 2018

10.30 – 11.45: Ethics of Quantification
Andrea Saltelli

This lecture starts from the difficulties in the quality control of science. It focuses particularly on the quality of mathematical and statistical modelling, and statistical indicators as quantified evidence. These tools are of paramount importance for policy but also the most prone to degeneration and corruption, as we now witness in conjunction with the trouble of science's own quality control arrangement and reproducibility crisis. We rediscover that in using statistical methods we make normative choices. We need to critically re-examine the power and role of existing models and indicators to inform policy under conditions of uncertainty.

We suggest for a radical redefinition of a grammar for modelling, grounded in 'candid' tools for the appraisal of uncertainty; we thus introduce elements of uncertainty and sensitivity analysis, sensitivity auditing and quantitative story-telling, and provide examples of application. 

14.00 - 14.45: Uncertainties and Quality Assurance in Research
Jeroen van der Sluijs

Science–governance interfaces are characterized by scientific controversies that employ different forms of evidence and stem from the uncertainty and plurality typical of the scientific enterprise. They are also closely interwoven with conflicting interests, values, stakes, and practices of evidence appraisal in institutions. These societal conflicts co-shape the ways in which evidence is produced, communicated and used, and how uncertainty is dealt with, while institutional settings and regulatory frameworks co-define whose evidence counts, e.g. in risk analysis, and under which conditions. The lecture will discuss a novel suite of analytical tools to map deep uncertainty, conflicts of interests, institutional practices and their interactions.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

10.30 - 11.15: The practice of integrity and violations thereof at UU
Pieter Hooimeijer

In this lecture we will discuss the practice of enforcing integrity at Utrecht University. The starting point is the European code of conduct for research integrity and its Dutch version The Netherlands code of conduct for academic practice. The codes provide guiding rules for good conduct which at first sight might be self-evident, but in practice can lead to dilemmas or are still contested (the idea of self-plagiarism). The codes have also grown over time which raises the issue of how to evaluate past conduct. More importantly we should discuss the difference between not complying with the code and violation of research integrity. The two are not synonyms, but where is the border between the two. This will be detailed by the procedures to handle complaints with respect to scientific integrity. Based on four years of experience in the Committee on Academic Integrity we will discuss ‘close to real life’ cases (abstracted not simplified) that illustrate the complexity in terms of the motivations and interest of the complainant and the lines of defence (or lack thereof) of the accused. The rules of the game are just as important as the outcome, e.g. how to avoid a shift to ‘trial by media’ or to deal with asymmetric power relations.

14.00 – 14.45: Hands on ethics: the Moral Case Deliberation model
Floris van den Berg

Everyone deals with ethical dilemmas on a daily level. Usually we do not give much thought on these issues. However, as academics we should also be able to cope with ethical aspects of our work. In order to think rationally, coherently and structurally about ethical issues philosophers have created so-called Moral Case Deliberation Models which is an instruction manual to help to make a well-considered moral judgement.

Start date and time
5 November 2018 10:30
End date and time
7 November 2018 14:45