Research Ethics and Responsible Conduct in Research

Learning outcomes
Following successful completion of the course, doctoral students should demonstrate:

  • general knowledge and systematic understanding of research ethics and responsible
    conduct in theory and practice,
  • familiarity with key concepts, topics, and developments in research ethics and
    responsible conduct,
  • familiarity with the legal regulation of research ethics in Sweden,
  • skills and capabilities to correctly apply ethical constructs to individual research projects, as well as critically reflect on their application
  • intellectual independence and scientific integrity, as well as insight into the
    responsibility for his/her research and for its publication and dissemination.

Course description
The course introduces doctoral students to the key concepts, principles, debates, and legal
regulations of research ethics and professional conduct. The purpose is to enable doctoral
students to correctly identify ethical risks in research and to apply ethical constructs to
individual research projects, as well as to professional conduct. In addition, the doctoral
students will gain empowering tools and skills that will increase their ability to contribute to
the ongoing debate and development of research ethics and professional conduct.
The course has four topical foci: (1) the historical and analytical basis of research ethics; (2)
ethical risks in different fields of science and technology, including the private sector; (3)
responsible conduct in research; and (4) the legal regulation of research ethics. The following
items make up the content of the course: analytical concepts from philosophy and ethical
theory; research-field-specific ethical risks and solutions, including academy and industry
collaborations; methodology-specific ethical risks; case studies of ethical risks and scientific
misconduct; ethical codes; the legal regulation of research ethics in Sweden; identification of
ethical risks in, and application of legal stipulations to, the doctoral student’s own research
project. On the whole, the course moves from the general to the specific and from the
theoretical to the practical.
Work formats
The following work formats will be used: seminars, interactive lectures, and individual
assignments and presentations. The relevance of the course for the doctoral student’s own
research is to a large extent contingent on the doctoral student’s active participation.
Formats for assessing student performance
Student performances are assessed using three formats: (1) active participation in seminars
and lectures; (2) submitted assignments; (3) one oral presentation given, and one written
report/paper submitted, at the concluding seminar.
Reading list and other teaching materials
ALLEA (2017). The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. All European
Academies, Berlin. [Will be provided.]
Eriksson, S. and Helgesson, G. (2017). The false academy: predatory publishing in
science and bioethics. Health Care and Philos, 20:163–170.
Israel, M. (2015). Research ethics and integrity for social scientists: beyond regulatory
compliance. Second edition. Los Angeles: Sage. [Selected chapters/pages (approx. 40
pages). Available electronically]
Lahman, M. K. E. (2018). Ethics in social science research: becoming culturally responsive.
Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE. [Selected chapters/pages (approx. 25 pages)]
Merton, R. K. (1973). The Normative Structure of Science. In The sociology of science:
theoretical and empirical investigations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 267-
Shamoo, A. and Resnik, D. (2015). Responsible Conduct of Research. (Third edition)
Oxford University Press. Selected chapters. [Approx. 200 pages]
Laws and regulations:
The Act (2003:460) concerning the Ethical Review of Research Involving Humans
In Swedish:
Lag (2003:460) om etikprövning av forskning som avser människor
Other scientific and ethical literature might be added.
All course readings are available via Malmö University’s library, online databases, or other
websites, or will be handed out.
Other recommended resources:
Banks, S. and Brydon-Miller, M. (eds.) (2019). Ethics in participatory research for health
and social well-being: Cases and commentaries. London: Routledge.
Comstock, G. (ed.) (2012). Research ethics: a philosophical guide to the responsible
conduct of research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
D’Angelo, J. (2012). Ethics in science: ethical misconduct in scientific research. Boca Raton,
FL: Taylor & Francis.
Helgesson, G. (2015). Forskningsetik. Lund: Studentlitteratur.
Hermerén, G. (2011). Good research practice. Vetenskapsrådets Rapportserie 3: 2011.
Stockholm: Vetenskapsrådet. (
practice/) (129 pp.)
Macleod, C. I., Marx, J., Mnyaka, P., and Treharne, G. J. (eds.) (2018). The Palgrave
Handbook of Ethics in Critical Research. Palgrave Macmillan US. [Available electronically]
Macrina, F. L. (2014). Scientific integrity: text and cases in responsible conduct of research.
Fourth edition. Washington, D. C.: ASM Press.
Mertens, D. M. and Ginsberg, P. E. (eds.) (2009). The handbook of social research ethics.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. [Available electronically]
Mitcham, C. (2005). Encyclopedia of science, technology and ethics. Farmington Hills, MI:
Rachels, J. and Rachels, S. (2007) (or later editions). The Elements of Moral Philosophy.
McGraw-Hill. [Approx. 65 pages]
Van den Hoonaard, W. C. and Hamilton, A. (eds.) (2016). The ethics rupture: exploring
alternatives to formal research-ethics review. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
[Available electronically]
Transitional regulations
In situations when the course is no longer offered or the course contents have been
significantly changed, the doctoral candidate has the right, during a period of one year
following the change, to be examined on two different occasions in accordance with the
syllabus in force at the date of registration.
Course evaluation
At the conclusion of the course, each student shall submit a written course evaluation based
on the course’s stated learning outcomes. The result of each course evaluation will be
published on the course’s online learning platform together with information on what
measures have been taken to address issues that were highlighted in the course evaluation