About this Course
On Being a Scientist will provide you with an overview of scientific practice, what it means to be a scientist and allows you to become acquainted with academic conduct, thus meeting a demand for increased awareness in scientific integrity. This course is designed to inform you on topics as scientific integrity and social responsibilities of scientists. Broad questions, which are inseparably linked to these topics are discussed: namely regarding the nature of science and the societal role it fulfills. Course objectives: After this course you will: 1) Understand the basic principles of science, and know what is "not done". 2) Have a realistic image of science and scientists. 3) Recognize integrity dilemmas, know how to respond in clear cases, and have the skills to respond prudently in unclear cases. 4) Know and understand the differences and similarities of various disciplines. 5) Have a basic understanding of the role of science in society, realise your own societal responsibilities, and are able to take a position in societal issues where science plays a role. The course consists of a feature film, supported by short lectures, set to serve as a starting point for the discussions and assignments.
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Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Approx. 28 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 hours/week
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Approx. 28 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 hours/week
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Introduction

Welcome! Before you start we invite you to first go through our introduction module and introduce yourself in the forum to meet your fellow learners. If you encounter any difficulties while studying, please let us know in the forum. For technical difficulties or questions regarding the course certificate, you can always contact the Coursera Learner Helpdesk. Good luck & we hope you will enjoy this course! ...
Reading
1 video (Total 2 min), 8 readings
Reading8 readings
Meet the instructors & the team5m
Welcome to Leiden University5m
Complete our short survey5m
Graphic content warning1m
Tips for studying online10m
Being successful in an international virtual learning environment10m
Behaving in an academic way10m
Study guide10m
Clock
1 hour to complete

What is Science?

This module discusses the nature of science, in particular the attempt by the philosopher Karl Popper to demarcate science from other kinds of knowledge. It also raises the question whether history is a science....
Reading
4 videos (Total 19 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video4 videos
On Being A Scientist Episode 17m
What is science? Part I6m
What is science? Part II4m
Reading1 readings
Readings module 130m
Quiz1 practice exercises
What is Science?20m

2

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Scientific questions

This module discusses the importance of posing the right scientific questions, as well as the nature of a good question. It also queries whether al scientific questions or research topics are allowable for an ethical point of view....
Reading
3 videos (Total 15 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video3 videos
On Being A Scientist Episode 29m
Scientific questions5m
Reading1 readings
Readings Module 20m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Scientific questions15m

3

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Scientific results

This module discusses the scientific publication culture. It focuses on issues like authorship, choice of journal, the review process and citation scores as markers of scientific quality....
Reading
4 videos (Total 22 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video4 videos
On Being A Scientist Episode 37m
Publish or perish. Part I6m
Publish or perish. Part II6m
Reading1 readings
Readings module 340m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Scientific results20m

4

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Scientific activities

This module questions the notion of a single scientific method. It also discusses such issues as publication bias, confirmation bias and questionable research practices....
Reading
4 videos (Total 17 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video4 videos
On Being A Scientist Episode 45m
The scientific method. Part I5m
The scientific method. Part II5m
Reading1 readings
Readings module 40m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Scientific activities15m

5

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Academic differences

This module discusses some differences between different academic disciplines. Apart from studying different subjects, using different methods, disciplines are also characterised by specific cultures (e.g. values, presuppositions and habits)....
Reading
3 videos (Total 13 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video3 videos
On Being A Scientist Episode 57m
Academic differences4m
Reading1 readings
Readings module 520m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Academic differences15m

6

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Academic careers

This module discusses the different stages of an academic career and some of the major hurdles an aspiring academic may encounter....
Reading
3 videos (Total 13 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video3 videos
On Being A Scientist Episode 68m
Scientific careers4m
Reading1 readings
Readings module 650m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Academic careers20m

7

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Scientific misconduct

This module discusses the three main types of scientific misconduct or fraud: plagiarism, and the falsification and fabrication of research data....
Reading
4 videos (Total 20 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video4 videos
On Being A Scientist Episode 77m
Scientific misconduct. Part I5m
Scientific misconduct. Part II5m
Reading1 readings
Readings module 70m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Scientific misconduct20m

8

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Science & the industry

This module discusses the benefits and dangers of collaborations between science and industry....
Reading
3 videos (Total 11 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
Video3 videos
On Being A Scientist Episode 85m
Science & the industry4m
Reading1 readings
Readings module 810m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Science & the industry15m

9

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

Science & society

This module discusses the social responsibilities of scientists, as well as the question whether in certain cases social activism is a possible or even proper stance for scientists....
Reading
3 videos (Total 13 min), 2 readings, 3 quizzes
Video3 videos
On Being A Scientist Episode 98m
Societal problems and activism3m
Reading2 readings
Readings module 90m
Complete our short survey5m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Science & society10m

Instructors

About Universiteit Leiden

Leiden University is one of Europe's foremost research universities. This prominent position gives our graduates a leading edge in applying for academic posts and for functions outside academia. Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands. It was founded in February 1575, as a gift from William of Orange to the citizens of Leiden after they had withstood a long siege by the Spanish. Our motto is: Praesidium Libertatis — Bastion of Liberty....

Frequently Asked Questions

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