Research ethics: what it is all about?

Ethics in research has been a hot topic in the past decades. There are countless courses, case-studies, web-sites, regulations, discussions about the ethical principles of the research communities, deontological norms, values in science, rules of conduct in research, work-ethics, plagiarism, citation procedures etc. What is this all about? Do we talk more about ethics in research than previous generations? Is this, perhaps, a sign of a crisis? A sign that we are more aware of the limits and limitations of our activities? Is it signaling problems within the community? Is it general or it refers to certain disciplines?

What I propose in this course is to look at these topics from a diachronic (and Kuhnian) perspective. According to Kuhn, norms and values are intrinsic to the paradigm – they define normal science within a given discipline. However, most of these norms and values are not fully spelled out. They are among the elements of the (mostly) tacit knowledge which is so much part of that mysterious (Kuhn often calls it „esoteric” activity of doing research.

Learning the norms, rules and values of your research community means essentially internalizing the scientific paradigm (in the Kuhnian sense). How does one do that? What does it mean to be (become) a researcher? What does it mean to belong to a scientific community? How does one learn the principles, norms and values of the scientific community?

Here are some topics I would like to address (but I am open to suggestions):