Ethics of research and research communication for researchers

Professors involved: Daniela Ovadia

Course learning outcomes/abstract:Teaching Ethics of research and research communication at doctoral level in Universities is mandatory in most European countries. The interdisciplinary course in Ethics of Research and research communication for doctoral students at University of Pavia was a pioneer in this field in Italy, and reached now the 7th edition. The 2023-2024 course will be organized in collaboration with the Center for Ethics in Science and Journalism (CESJ, Milan, and will involve lecturers from the EC2U Alliance ( The course is open to doctoral students from any field, from life sciences to humanities, from social sciences to hard sciences and engineering. The more diverse is the audience, the better is the result. Main topics addressed: • The basic ethical concepts; from ethics to bioethics; codes of conduct; ethics in research in life sciences vs ethics in humanities and hard sciences • Who evaluate ethics, informed consent, empowered citizen; the European Framework for Ethics of Research • Ethical issues in EU Research: embryo and stem cells, vulnerable groups, tissues and cells property, environment, safety, dual use and military research • Pubblication ethics: authorship, pubblication models, Open access and the use of Artificial intelligence • Data management and GDPR • The role of universities in the ethics of research • Technology assessment and future studies, big data, social impact assessment of science • Science and racism, science and gender; the “cultures” of science. • Fraud and misconduct, researchers’ behaviors; courts and criminalization of research misconduct • Sexual harrassment in science. • Science communication: roles and functions; the expert role and ethics • Citizen science and Scientific citizenship; Third Mission and the duty to communicate science

Goals: Our teaching goals for ethics of research fit into one of the following four general categories: knowledge, skills, attitude and behaviors. Knowledge about the responsible conduct of research will include the facts, guidelines, policies, data and other sources of information. Among the core competencies that we want our students to acquire there are:

• Knowledge of, and sensitivity to, issues surrounding the responsible conduct of research and research misconduct.
• Appreciation for accepted, normative scientific practices for conducting research.
• Awareness of the grey areas and ambiguities of ethical issues, including differences between compliant and ethical behaviour in the conduct of research, or the range of acceptable and unacceptable practices.
• Awareness that rules change over time and vary across disciplines or nations.
• Information about the regulations, policies, statutes, and guidelines that govern the conduct of research.
• Collection, use, and interpretation of research data Skills to promote ethical practice in science include specific proficiencies, for example:
• Ethical decision-making, including recognizing problems, identifying and examining assumptions underlying practices, using analytical skills and strategies in addressing issues and problems, and exploring implications of different courses of action.
• Critical thinking and problem solving • Communication skills Attitudes and behaviors, defined by an acceptance of the value of acting in ways which foster responsible conduct. This area of the course will focus on: • Relationships among researchers with one another
• Relationships between researchers and those that will be affected by their research
• Options for promoting ethical conduct in research In our course we will use frontal lessons and case studies approach, that will involve all the students and foster interaction and participation.

Number of hours and planning:  The 21-hours course will be held during the second semester of the academic year, every Monday from February 5, 2024 to March 18, 2024 from 4 PM to 7 PM CET (tentative dates). It will deliver 5 CFU

Period:Every Monday from February 5, 2024 to March 18, 2024

Delivery mode and location ( in presence, on line, ecc):The course will be held online at


Language: english

Evaluation criterial: 75% of attendance; final short essay on the lesson learnt

Credits (CFU): 5