2020 Ethics of Scientists (Master Course) D

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Akagi Hirofumi  Fudano Jun 
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Course description and aims

In this course, the word “scientists” is used in a broad sense. According to the Science Council of Japan, the word "refers to researchers and specialists engaged in activities that create new knowledge, or in the use and application of scientific knowledge, in all academic fields ranging from humanities and social sciences to natural sciences, regardless of which institution they belong to." (The Code of Conduct for Sceintists) The first aim of this course is to examine the values which scientists have to share through careful reading of various codes of conduct including those at Tokyo Institute of Technology. Then, by examining real cases of research misconduct and through e-learning (CITI Japan), students learn and understand basic terms and concepts such as "Responsible Conduct of Research," "Questionable Research Practice," and "Research Misconduct," and they not only raise their ethical sensitivity but also acquire problem solving skills by learning the ethical decision-making method called "Seven Step Guide." In addition, through case studies, they examine causes of research misconduct and obtain knowledge and skills to design "research ethics programs" which can be implemented in their respective research environments in order to prevent misconducts and questionable research practice and to promote responsible conduct of research.

Student learning outcomes

By successfuly completing this course, students will be able to
1) explain basic concepts such as "Responsible Conduct of Research," "Questionable Research Practice," and "Research Misconduct" by using concrete cases
2) demonstrate to have fundamental knowledge on responsible conduct of research by completing the e-learning "CITI Japan" course.
3) propose solutions for ethical problems using decision-making methods such as "Seven Step Guide."
4) explain major causes of research misconduct illustrating with real cases.
5) explain the necessity of "research ethics program" and propose such programs which are appropriate to their own research context.


Code of Conduct for Scientists, Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR), Questionable Research Practice (QRP), Misconduct, Research Ethics Program

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

This course is conducted in the mode of active learning incorporating group discussions and indivisual presentations. Thus, active participation in course activities is inevitable for successful completion of the course. A hybrid-type e-learning, i.e. combination of e-learning and group discussions, is an important component of the course.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 December 7 (Monday) 8: 50-10: 30 Zoom 1) Course guidance (contents, assignments, and so on) 2) Code of Conduct for Researchers at Tokyo Tech, and other rules and regulations having to do with research ethics at Tokyo Tech 3) Video on research misconduct Careful reading of the Code of Conduct for Researchers at Tokyo Tech and other documents
Class 2 December 14 (Monday) 8: 50-10: 30 Zoom 11 Lecture on values which scientists should share 2) Lecture on research ethics program Submit a preliminary report on research ethics program including a candidate institution which will be examined in terms of its research ethics program
Class 3 December 21 (Monday) 8: 50-10: 30 Zoom 1) Group discussion on the above case 2) Video on the misconduct case at Bell Research Lab. 3) Group discussion on the above case Submit a report on the misconduct case at the Bell Research Lab
Class 4 January 14 (Thursday) 8: 50-10: 30 Zoom 1) Lecture on codes of conduct, rules, regulations, procedures with regard to research ethics at Tokyo Tech as well as safety assuarance in labs and use of plagiarism cheking software 2) Lecture on dual-use issues of science and technology 3) Group discussion on dual-use issues Submit a report on "The Lab"
Class 5 January 18 (Monday) 8: 50-10: 30 Zoom 1) Student presentations on "Good Work" 2) Group discussion on "Good Work" 3) Lecture on RCR education Submit a certificate to show the completion of the CITI Japan course
Class 6 January 25 (Monday) 8: 50-10: 30 Zoom 1) Video on Research misconduct (the ES Cell Case in Korea) 2) Group discussion on the above case Submit a draft on research ethics program report
Class 7 February 1 (Monday) 8: 50-10: 30 Zoom 1) Presentation on research ethics programs 2) Group discussion and presentation on the state of research and academic integrity at Tokyo Tech Submit an evaluation form on research ethics programs of other students Submit a report on research ethics program


JSPS, For the Sound Development of Science -The Attitude of a Conscientious Scientist-, 2015

Reference books, course materials, etc.

CITI Japan
JSPS e-learning Course
Japan Science and Technology Agency, "The Lab"
The Report on the Dual Use Issues of Science and Technology by the Science Council of Japan

Assessment criteria and methods

1) Response Sheets and other assignments (40%)
2) Report on Research Ethics Program (30%)
3) CITI Japan(30%)

Related courses

  • Other career courses.
  • Essence of Humanities and Social Sciences2:Ethics in Engineering
  • Science and Engineering Ethics A
  • Science and Engineering Ethics B
  • Science and Engineering Ethics C

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

A person who takes the lecture "Ethics of scientists and engineers (course)" needs not attend this lecture.

Contact information (e-mail and phone)    Notice : Please replace from "[at]" to "@"(half-width character).

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Office hours

Weekday, 9:00-10:30, 15:00-17:00

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