The Rock Ethics Institute has created interactive, open-access online modules to teach first-year graduate students about an expanded understanding of the role of ethics in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields.
The focus of traditional research ethics training has been responsible conduct of research (RCR) issues, which include topics such as preventing falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism; good data management strategies; and understanding how to avoid or manage conflicts of interest. While these are certainly important components of ethics training, the Rock Ethics Institute developed an expanded understanding of ethics in order to indicate that these issues are not the only ones that arise during the process of STEM research.
The research conducted at the Institute has made visible the need for an understanding of research integrity to include issues in the broader impacts of science and in embedded ethics.
The broader impacts of science examine the effects of the choice of research questions in science and engineering, the impacts of knowledge on society, issues related to communication of science to the public, and issues related to expanding diversity within the science and engineering fields.
Embedded ethics targets ethical and value issues that arise in the course of the practice of science or engineering.
All of these modules [LINK TO MODULES] present training in the three domains of ethics relevant to STEM research: research integrity, broader impacts, and embedded ethics. Those using the modules are provided with opportunities to develop skills in “ethics spotting” and ethical analysis through case-based learning.
Ethical Dimensions of STEM Research
The introductory modules present researchers with an overview of ethics, moral literacy, an ethical analysis decision framework, and an introduction to the ethical dimensions of STEM research.