Ethics and Responsibility in Science

Subject SCIE90005 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 2, Parkville - 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 x one-hour lecture per fortnight and 1x three-hour workshop per fortnight.
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Students are required to have completed 100 points in a Master of Science coursework program.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s programs. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their active and safe participation in a subject are encouraged to discuss this with the relevant subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Assoc Prof Laura Parry, Dr Kath Handasyde


Dr Laura Parry

Dr Kath Handasyde

Subject Overview:

What is conflict of interest? What should a scientist do when he or she finds fraud is occurring on a scientific research team? How does a scientist write and defend on animal ethics submission and get it approved? What are the ethical issues associated with peer review? 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; conflicts of interest; authorship and peer review; animal experimentation and regulations; informed consent; privacy and confidentiality of records; and, finally, research in humans.


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.
  • Three workshop assignments due throughout the semester (each worh 10%, total 30%)
  • a two-hour end-of-semester examination (50%)
  • Class participation (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 Course(s): Master of Biotechnology
Master of Science (Botany)
Master of Science (Chemistry)
Master of Science (Earth Sciences)
Master of Science (Epidemiology)
Master of Science (Geography)
Master of Science (Information Systems)
Master of Science (Physics)
Master of Science (Vision Science)
Master of Science (Zoology)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Environmental Science
Environmental Science

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