Ethics and Responsibility in Science

Subject 600-618 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours comprising 1 one-hour lecture per fortnight and 1 three-hour workshop per fortnight.
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Laura Parry
Subject Overview:

What is scientific fraud? What should a scientist do when he or she finds fraud is occurring on a scientific or medical research team? How does a scientist write and defend an ethics submission and get it approved? How can a scientist ensure compliance with international scientific community standards for commercial or research studies? This subject is intended to give students a broad overview of research ethics in a scientific context. It will include topics on scientific integrity; plagiarism; whistle blowing; conflicts of interest; publication and authorship; human experimentation and regulations; informed consent; privacy and the confidentiality of records; and, finally, research on animals.


Upon completion of this subject students should:

  • be aware of the different ethical responsibilities of individuals in the scientific workplace;
  • be able to implement the processes involved in obtaining appropriate ethical approval to conduct human and animal research;
  • be aware of the procedures to identify and report scientific fraud;
  • develop first-hand experience in critical thinking and appraisal related to ethics.

One 2000 word written assignment (50%), due mid-semester; three workshop task sheets, due throughout the semester after the workshop (each worth 10%, total 30%); one peer review assignment of between 2000-5000 words, due at the end of semester (20%).

Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:

Relevant reading material will be recommended for background reading in each topic area.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

The subject will provide students with the opportunity to develop their own sense of intellectual integrity and ethics of scholarship.

They should build upon generic skills including:

  • the ability to critically assess and assimilate new knowledge through a range of information and communication technologies;
  • high level ability to engage in collaborative learning and confront unfamiliar problems in an academic environment.

They will learn how to apply these skills and be able to use them effectively in their professions and workplaces.


Students will be expected to regularly access an internet-enabled computer.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: R05 PB Master of Science (Biotechnology)
R05 PE Master of Science (Environmental Science)
R05 PM Master of Science (Management Science)
R05 PN Master of Science (Nanotechnology)
R05 RA Master of Science - Geography (not offered until 2010)
R05 RB Master of Science - Botany
R05 RC Master of Science - Chemistry
R05 RH Master of Science - Biomedical and Health Sciences
R05 RI Master of Science - Information Systems
R05 RM Master of Science - Mathematics and Statistics
R05 RP Master of Science - Physics
R05 RZ Master of Science - Zoology

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