Ethics and Legal Aspects of Scientific Research
Study plans 2016-2017 - IMT6001 - 5 ECTS



Expected learning outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes:
 The module (mandatory for doctoral students in the programme) is intended to provide students with a firm grounding in understanding of aspects of research ethics, academic integrity, and the possible interactions with
 the law as part of the research, dissemination, and exploitation processes that students are undertaking.

Most importantly, students will be strongly encouraged to reflect on the aforementioned areas critically both as a researcher and in relation to their own current and future research.
 Students will engage with the course responsible to elect two sub-areas from the topics identified below and to prepare two distinct seminar papers comprising a synopsis of the chosen sub-area combined with the students' perspective and reflection.

 On concluding the module, candidates

  • can identify and analyse primary and secondary research literature in the areas of research ethics and legal aspects of research
  • can synthesise a cogent position on research ethics questions based on findings in the primary and secondary literature
  • are able to express and analyse ethical and research integrity questions related to their own area of research

 On concluding the module, candidates

  • will have an overview of core questions of ethics in research in natural sciences and engineering
  • have developed an in-depth understanding of problems in research ethics, academic integrity, and legal aspects of research in accordance with the topics chosen at the outset of the module
  • will have in-depth knowledge of requirements and best practices for the creation, stewardship, and retention of research data and outcomes ensuring reproducibility

General Competence:
 On concluding the module, candidates

  • will be able argue the ethical merits, limitations, and possible impact of research in Computer Science
  • will be able to articulate legal and ethical bounds for research in Computer Science and identify and assess the impact such research may have on society


  • Academic integrity including plagiarism, self-plagiarism
  • Research data and result bias, manipulation, and fabrication
  • Research methods and requirements for verifiability and reproducibility
  • Legal aspects of research including intellectual property issues
  • Open access data and research outcomes

Teaching Methods


Teaching Methods (additional text)

  • Individual discussions
  • Seminars
  • Literature study

Form(s) of Assessment


Form(s) of Assessment (additional text)

Two seminar papers are to be provided by the candidate and are marked separately by the examiner on a Pass/Fail scale. Both papers must be completed successfully to secure an overall Pass grade.

Grading Scale


External/internal examiner

Internal examiner, external examiner every 3 years, next time (at latest) in 2017.

Re-sit examination

New seminar papers must be provided.

Examination support

Not applicable

Coursework Requirements

Students are required to prepare a term paper on one of the subject areas covered in the course in coordination with and approved by the lecturer and must provide a presentation of results and findings in a seminar. The delivery date for the term paper is arranged individually to match the seminar schedule.

Teaching Materials

Suggested textbooks:

J.E. Stern, D. Elliott:
 Research Ethics: A Reader
 Institute for the Study of Applied and Professional Ethics, 1997

R.E. Spier:
 Science and Technology Ethics
 Routledge, 2001

P.A. Griffiths (ed.):
 On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research.
 National Academy Press, Washington D.C., USA (1995)

Additional reading:

C. Whitbeck:
 Ethics in Engineering Practice and Research, 2nd ed.
 Cambridge University Press, 2011

U.S. National Academy of Sciences:
 Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and Stewardship of Research Data
 in the Digital Age.
 National Academies Press, 2009

S.L. Elliott, B.A. Fischer, F. Grinnell, M.J. Zigmond:
 Perspectives on Research Integrity
 ASM Press, 2015

D. Closa, A. Gardiner, F. Giemsa, J. Machek:
 Patent Law for Computer Scientists: Steps to Protect Computer-Implemented
 Springer-Verlag, 2014

P. Leith:
 Software and Patents in Europe
 Cambridge University Press, 2007

Journal of Academic Ethics

Further reading is discussed on an individual basis with students
 to match the chosen topics for seminar papers.

Additional information

Students must choose two areas for preparing seminar papers at the beginning of the semester in co-ordination with the course responsible; abstracts must be submitted to Fronter no later than five weeks after the
start of the semester. Final versions of both papers must be submitted at the end of the semester via Fronter. Both seminar papers must be submitted and successfully passed to complete the module successfully overall.

The course will be limited to 12 students except by arrangement with the lecturer.