Ethics and Responsibility in Science

Subject SCIE90005 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 26 hours comprising 8 x one-hour lectures, 6 x three-hour workshops.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


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.


Prof Laura Parry


Assoc Prof Laura Parry
Phone: 8344 4379

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 an 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; conflicts of interest; data recording management; authorship and peer review; animal experimentation and regulations; privacy and confidentiality of records; and, finally, research in humans.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this subject students should:

  • be aware of the different ethical responsibilities of individuals in scientific workplace;
  • understand the ethical issues associated with data recording and storage and
  • reporting of research findings: develop first-hand experience in critical thinking and apprasial related to ethics

Two workshop assignments (500-1500 words) due between weeks 2 and 6 of the semester (each worth 10%, total 20%); a 2500-word essay due mid-semester (50%); a peer review on either an animal or human ethics application (1000-1200 words) due at the end of the semester (20%); attendance and participation in class discussions (10%).

Prescribed Texts:

No specific text will be prescribed for this subject but recommended reading material will be prescribed for each topic covered in the subject.

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 Biomedical Science
Master of Science (Biomedical and Health Sciences)
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
Tailored Specialisation

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