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On being a Scientist



Students taking the complete (3 EC) course need to enroll in uSis for both part 1 and part 2 separately!

Admission requirements



Science and in particular the natural sciences play an integral part in our society. However, due to incidents concerning integrity the societal credit has diminished.
This course is designed to inform bachelor students on topics as scientific integrity and social responsibilities of scientist. Broad questions, which are inseparable linked to these topics are discussed. Namely regarding the nature of science and the societal role it fulfills.

On Being a Scientist will comprises the following subjects:

  • What is science

  • Which questions do scientists ask

  • What do scientists do

  • What do scientists contribute

  • Alpha, beta & gamma; how do scientists differ

  • How is science organised

  • Scientific fraud and indecency

  • Science & Industry

  • Science and societal problems

  • Scientific activism

Course objectives

  • Students will be familiar with the preconditions and principles of science and “knows what is and isn’t acceptable”.

  • Students will have a realistic view of what science is and what scientist do.

  • Students will recognise integrity dilemmas; knowing how to handle themselves in clear cut situation, and have a sufficient basis to be able to handle unclear situations.

  • Students know and recognise similarities and differences between their own discipline and other disciplines in- and outside the faculty of Science.

  • Students will know the role of science in society; will realise their own social responsibility; and will be able to independently take position regarding social issue in which science plays an important role.


Lectures Friday February 05, 2016 09:00-11:00 Gorlaeus 04/05 February 12, 2016 09:00-11:00 Gorlaeus 04/05 February 19, 2016 09:00-11:00 Gorlaeus 04/05 February 26, 2016 09:00-11:00 Gorlaeus 04/05 March 04, 2016 09:00-11:00 Gorlaeus 04/05 March 11, 2016 09:00-11:00 Gorlaeus 04/05 Examination, part 1 March 18, 2016 09:00-12:00 USC Lectures April 01, 2016 09:00-11:00 HL 204 April 08, 2016 09:00-11:00 HL 204 April 15, 2016 09:00-11:00 HL 204 April 22, 2016 09:00-11:00 HL 204 Examination, part 2 April 29, 2016 10:00-13:00 Huygens 2.04 and 2.07 Re examination, part 1 July 5, 2016 09:00-12:00 Huygens 2.04 Re examination, part 2 July 7, 2016 13:00-16:00 Huygens 2.04 ### Mode of instruction

Lectures and group discussions

Assessment method

Written examination and group assignments.


Because of technical difficulties we will not be using the platform Coursera for this course after all.
The Blackboard-course ‘On Being a Scientist [2015-16]’ (Blackboard Course-ID 4602OBAS-1516FWN) will be available to students on Thursday 4 February at the latest.
Students who had enrolled for this subject in Usis before Monday 1 February, will be enrolled in Blackboard by the administration, others will have to enroll in Blackboard themselves as well as in Usis on Friday 5 February at the latest.

Reading list

Suggested reads (not compulsory):
On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research: Third Edition (2009). National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. – available as free download
John Hatton & Paul Plouffe (1997) Science and its ways of knowing.


This course is offered to all students of the Faculty of Science.
The course ‘On being a Scientist’ is offered in 2 parts; part 1 (2 EC) and part 2 (1 EC).
The programmes Biology offers part 1 in year 2 and part 2 in year 3 (as part of General Research Skills).
The programme Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences offer part 1 in year 2 (as part of Academische Vorming 2) and part 2 in year 3.
All other programmes offer the complete course (3 EC) in year 3 of the bachelor programme.


Students taking the complete (3 EC) course need to enroll in uSis for both part 1 and part 2 separately!
Register for this course via uSis
For more information on how to sign up for classes