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Film: How to become an ethical scientist

Scientists are regularly confronted with questions of integrity. A new film teaches students how to handle this issue.

On being a scientist will première on 7 April. This fictional film aims to raise students' awareness of academic integrity, an issue that is by no means always clearly understood. Scientists are regularly suspected of committing plagiarism or fraud,  because they misrepresent research findings, for example. 

Food for discussion

In the film, the main characters come up against these kinds of dilemmas. When a group of researchers makes an important scientific discovery, all the scientists want to claim the glory: the PhD candidate who has done the spadework as well as the eminent proffessor who heads the group. It's a difficult situation to handle. The film doesn't give any ready-made solutions, but it does provide food for discussion. 

Making dilemmas more palpable 

According to Bas Haring, professor and project leader for the film, this was precisely the intention. He will use the film On being a scientist in the series of lectures of the same name that he is giving with Frans van Lunteren. ‘You can talk about integrity by discussing the written rules, but with film - and in particular fiction - you can make the dilemma's more palpable. That adds weight to the discussion.' 

Experiment

According to co-producer Remco van Schadewijk, the film is also intended as an experiment with new forms of knowledge transfer. 'Film techniques and fiction should be used a lot more in education. We want to use this film to show what's possible.'  

Watch free

The film On being a scientist and the course information will be made available online via Coursera, where they will be freely available for students in the Netherlands and internationally. 

Trailer

The film 'On being a scientist' has been funded in part by a contribution from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. 

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