OBaS – Introduction

Upright is a course on scientific integrity. However, what does scientific integrity entail precisely? Concrete definitions of scientific integrity are sparse and many different interpretations exist.

Upright’s approach is broad in the sense that scientific integrity is more than simply not committing scientific misconduct and more than blindly following rules. The vision embraced by Upright is that scientific integrity is an essential part of being a ‘good’ scientist and, vice versa, quality in research is an essential part of acting with scientific integrity. Hence, we employ a notion of research integrity that is broader than just avoiding plagiarism or data fraud.

On Being A Scientist is a fictional film produced by Leiden University. This film’s main underlying question is, as the name of the film suggests: What does it mean to be a (good) scientist. Starring famous Dutch actors and professionally directed, this film serves as a proper introduction to being a good scientist and, as a result, as a proper introduction to scientific integrity.

The broad approach we embrace can also be found in the principles mentioned in the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity (ALLEA, 2017). Four principles of good research practices are mentioned:

“• Reliability in ensuring the quality of research, reflected in the design, the methodology, the analysis and the use of resources.
• Honesty in developing, undertaking, reviewing, reporting and communicating research in a transparent, fair, full and unbiased way. 
• Respect for colleagues, research participants, society, ecosystems, cultural heritage and the environment. 
• Accountability for the research from idea to publication, for its management and organisation, for training, supervision and mentoring, and for its wider impacts” (ALLEA, 2017, p. 4).

The film On Being A Scientist can be split up into nine episodes. In this lesson we will watch these episodes and reflect on various aspects of scientific integrity and good research practices. Links to these four principles will be made continuously and we recommend that you, as a viewer, try to evaluate the situations from the film according to these four values.