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Ethics courses to prevent future Penkowa scandals

University of Copenhagen to set up mandatory ethics courses for PhD students in the wake of scientific fraud scandal. Deans support the initiative, but PhD student says the course may not be completely necessary

The University of Copenhagen will pre-empt future scientific fraud with courses on ethics and good scientific behaviour. This is just one of several initiatives outlined at the recent hearing on what to do after the Penkowa scientific fraud scandal..

Ethic courses are a good and necessary initiative, the Dean of Health at Aarhus University Allan Flyvbjerg stated to media recently, and the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Copenhagen Ulla Wewer agrees.

»Here at the University of Copenhagen, we have had a special focus on this after the Penkowa case« she says in response to a University Post query.

Too much of a good thing

Apart from giving students insight into the ethics of good scientific research, the courses will also teach what to do with cases of possible scientific malpractice.

Not all PhD students are enthusiastic about the initiative. Ethics are already covered in the introductory course to PhD programmes, and PhD student at the Faculty of Life Sciences, Gerrald Starr, feels that such a course will be a repetition of what already exists.

»Well, of course this is relevant to what we are doing. Too much ethics can never be a bad idea,« he says, before adding: »But we already have a lot about ethics in our introductory course, so this initiative does feel a bit redundant.«

Read other articles from the Penkowa hearing here: Students to get complaints officer and Penkowa hearing: Avoiding the P-word

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