Legal and Ethical Aspects of ResearchUNIVERSITÀ DELLA SVIZZERA ITALIANA
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- Mendrisio (Svizzera)
In the wake of recent scandals in some European and American Universities, academic misconduct is now high on the agenda.
The course will create awareness towards academic integrity by presenting the legal and ethical issues in research and publication.
The class will focus on different aspects of academic integrity such as truthfulness, plagiarism, non- discrimination and specific legal issues like freedom of research, copyright and data protection. The course will combine lecturing and case studies.
Law and ethics are intertwined. Thus, the best approach is co-teaching: a professor of ethics and a professor law will address the different issues together.
The course will combine lecturing, group work and case studies.
After a short introduction devoted to freedom of research in open democratic societies, the first workshop deals with a case of plagiarism and ethical misconduct. Starting from a real case, we will examine the consequences not only for the person who committed plagiarism, but also for the university in general and the consequences of plagiarism on the other researchers in that particular department. The discussed case prepares for the next topic dealing with the legal framework of copyright. We will then discuss whistleblowing in academia providing different settings and strategies how do deal with misconduct in an organization once discovered without adverse effects for the whistleblower and the organization in general.
The following topic will discuss access to information and open data in a Swiss and European law perspective.
Furthermore, we discuss how to protect privacy in conducting research (data protection, anonymisation etc.). This unit includes a group work on a case that lead to a controversial decision of the European Human Rights Court.
On the basis of the legal framework and the awareness of the ethical challenges to engage in misconduct the core of the course is the development of a specific Code of Ethics, based on the 8-step program of the Academy of Management and its “The Ethics of Research and Publishing” material. Students not only learn how to engage in research in accordance with the law and in appropriate conduct, but also strategies on how “thin” to “slice the salami” with regard to data samples and research questions in order to learn how to get the maximum out of the research without getting into trouble. The code also discusses the sometimes problematic relation between conference proceedings and journal publications, as well as the question of how to determine an appropriate authorship of lead- and co-authors without creating hierarchical and sometimes imbalanced constellations.
The course ends with a discussion and counseling of specific challenges raised by the PhD students in group discussions or if required in confidential settings in order to offer advise not only on a theoretical level but also on a case-specific and personal level.
Carlos Cabral-Cardoso: Ethical Misconduct in the Business School: A Case of Plagiarism That Turned Bitter. In: Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 49, No. 1 (Jan., 2004), pp. 75-89
Claude Almansi, Marcello Baggi, Raphaël Contel, Bertil Cottier, Jacques de Werra, Copyright in Education Handbook, http://www.diceproject.ch/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Handbook_web_en_2.pdf
Whiteman, N. (2012): Undoing Ethics. Rethinking Practice in Online Research. Berlin. Springer
Sana Loue (1999): Textbook of Research Ethics. Theory and Practice. NY: Kluwer.