Scientific Integrity

This course is not currently being taught, but can be reinstated on request.


This is the home page for the online Scientific Integrity course. The course is designed to provide interaction among the students and the instructor online rather than in person.


Michael Kalichman, Ph.D.
Director, Research Ethics Program

Time and Location

Online only.

Course Objectives

The purpose of this course is to engage researchers in reading about, considering, and discussing the responsible conduct of science. The course is designed as an option for meeting current NIH and NSF requirements for training in the responsible conduct of research. Specific learning objectives with respect to research ethics include:

  1. To know rules, issues, options, and resources for research ethics
  2. To understand the purpose and value of ethical decision-making
  3. To have a positive disposition toward continued learning about research ethics

Course Format

Course topics will be covered by a combination of readings accessible on the Web, and online discussion. In addition to those readings linked below, additional required readings may be sent out. Participation in discussion groups and completion of assignments will be the basis for credit. NOTE: The course schedule or organization may be changed if necessary to better achieve the course objectives.

Resources for Ethics Course

This document is provided as a starting point for resources on the topic of research ethics. While it is not intended to be comprehensive or definitive, it does include many options that should be helpful. 

Course Topics

  1. Animal Subjects
  2. Authorship
  3. Collaboration
  4. Conflicts of Interest
  5. Data Management
  6. Human Subjects
  7. Mentoring
  8. Peer Review
  9. Publication
  10. Research Misconduct
  11. Social Responsibility


Required Assignments

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

Group Discussion Assignments

1. For group assignments, the course instructor will divide course participants into groups of 4-5 members each and send an e-mail message about a week in advance of the start date to introduce your group, including names and e-mail addresses.

2. Your group should meet by e-mail to decide which two of the eleven course topics will be assigned to each member of your group. No two topic assignments should be to the same topic..

3. Your group should select one group member to to summarize the division of assignments and forward to the course instructor.

4. Each participant is responsible for taking the lead on case discussions for two of the eleven course topics.

5. All participants should revew the Guidelines for case discussion before the first discussion.

6. Each topic leader should prepare an initial analysis of an associated case (including rationale for and against a chosen course of action).

7. All group members should participate in the e-mail discussion of all case analyses, and copying the instructor on all messages..

8. Your final analyses should be brief, but clear (no more than 500 words).

9. The leader for each topic should submit their final analysis to the course instructor by the deadline.

Individual Writing Assignment

Each participant is responsible for:
  • answering two discussion questions for two of the eleven topics.
  • crafting an additional discussion question for any two of the remaining topics, and providing a brief rationale for each question.

Due Dates

  • Required assignments can be submitted at any time, but no later than dates to be set so as to ensure all participants can complete the course by its projected end date.
  • Please plan accordingly. These deadlines are designed so that all participants can plan to complete the course in early December. 


This course is not available for academic credit. To receive a certificate of completion for the course or for the purpose of NIH or NSF training requirements, you must complete all assignments. If you need credit for this course, but find that you cannot meet these requirements, then you should contact the instructor as soon as possible.