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Scientific Integrity

NOTE: This course is not currently being taught. For further information, contact the Research Ethics Program.

Contact Information
Dena Plemmons, Ph.D.
Research Ethics Program, 0612
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0612


This course consists of multiple topics. Each topic includes:
  • Background: Summary of key information about the topic

  • Discussion questions

  • Cases for discussion or analysis

  • Resources for further reading

Required Text
This course includes a required text: Macrina FL (2005): Scientific Integrity: Text and Cases in Responsible Conduct of Research. 3rd Edition, American Society for Microbiology Press.
(Available by online ordering from the UCSD Bookstore, Powell Books, or amazon.com.)


  1. Research Misconduct
  2. Data Management
  3. Use of Animal Subjects
  4. Use of Human Subjects
  5. Conflicts of Interest and Commitment
  6. Authorship
  7. Publication
  8. Peer Review
  9. Collaboration
  10. Mentoring
  11. Whistleblowing and Dispute Resolution

Required Assignments

There are three requirements for this course; two are group discussion assignments, and the third is an individual writing assignment.

Two Group Discussion Assignments

For the group assignments, the course instructor will divide the participants in this course into groups of 4-6 members and send an e-mail message about a week in advance of the start date to let you know your group, including names and e-mail addresses of others in the group.

You and the other members of your group should then meet by e-mail to decide which two of the eleven course topics will be assigned to each member of your group. Although some topics may be assigned to two or more group members, at least one member of your group should be assigned to each topic (unless your group has fewer than 6 members). Your group should select one group member to be responsible for summarizing the division of assignments to the course instructor.

Each participant is responsible for:
  1. taking the lead on case discussions for two of the eleven course topics
    [NOTE: For one topic, choose one of the Cases linked on the website page for that topic. For the other topic, choose one of the cases in the Scientific Integrity text for that topic.] and

  2. participating in the discussions with other group members for all of the cases.
When you are taking the lead for your topics, you should prepare an initial analysis of the case (including rationale for and against a chosen course of action). All group members should participate in a discussion of the analysis. The final analysis should be brief, but clear (no more than 500 words). The leader for that topic should submit the final analysis to the course instructor by the deadline.

Once again, all group members are responsible for taking part in e-mail discussions led by the other members of the group and for copying the instructor on all e-mail discussion messages.
  • Before beginning case discussions, please review the:
    Guidelines for case discussions. Discussions and analyses of cases should be carried out in accordance with these guidelines.

Individual Writing Assignment

For the individual writing assignments, each participant will be responsible for:
  • answering two (2) of the discussion questions (found on this site, at the conclusion of the text for each topic) for any three (3) of the eleven topics.

  • crafting an additional discussion question for any three (3) of the remaining 8 topics, and providing a brief rationale for each question.

Due Dates
The required assignments can be submitted at any time; however,
  • The first of the two group discussion assignments must be completed and submitted by e-mail to the course instructor no later than February 11th.

  • The second of the two group discussion assignments must be completed and submitted by e-mail to the course instructor no later than March 4th.

  • The individual writing assignments should be submitted by e-mail no later than March 11th.
Please plan accordingly. These deadlines are designed so that all participants can plan to complete the course in early December.

Credit for the course depends on completion of the course assignments, including readings and e-mail discussions/case analyses, and individual assignments.

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Questions or comments about use of this course should be directed to the RCREC.