Good Research Practices and Research Ethics (GRP)

Good Research Practices and Research Ethics (GRP)

The goal of the course is to provide PhD students with an understanding of the main perils that researchers can face during their careers. Specifically, the course will support students in developing a critical mind necessary to spot issues affecting reproducibility and research integrity in the context of (preclinical and fundamental) research with both humans and animals.

The course will tackle three main areas of the contemporary debate on research excellence: research ethics, scientific integrity, and reproducibility. One of the aims of the instructors is to show how these topics are tightly interlinked. Another objective of this course is to provide students with practical tools and strategies to prevent experimental design mistakes, improve their scientific rigor, and conduct reproducible research.

The course will be taught using contrasting case studies: each core topic of the course will be presented through two case studies that reveal different facets of the same topic. Students will be asked to study the case studies, and prepare summaries highlighting the major ethical issues identified that will be presented and discussed in class.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  1. Recognize design flaws of scientific studies that might lead to irreproducible research
  2. Refer to and integrate experimental designs that will lead to valid research results
  3. Provide necessary elements in their scientific reporting that will allow their research to be reproducible and replicable.
  4. Use commonly accepted Open Research repositories and software.

Course structure

This course is a studio/seminar. The course is organized in a reversed classroom format: each week students will have to watch a few videos detailing the theoretical content. Class time will be devoted to discussing theory, answering students’ questions, practical activities, etc. The last class of the course is a workshop: students will be invited to bring their own experimental designs and discuss how their experiments could be improved by including and considering reproducibility and ethical elements in their setups.

Students will be asked to review readings before each class and present a critique of the articles in class. The students will have to demonstrate knowledge of topics, and design and research methodologies presented during the course.

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