nl en

Fact or Fiction: the human factor


Admission requirements

The student has to have followed the Reflection Course Scientific conduct.
Number of participants: maximum of 15.


Period: October 12 – 16, 2015

In the course Scientific conduct you have become aware of subjectivity and temptations in scientific research, which is a first step in prevention. You have learned about written and unwritten rules of good scientific conduct and discussed scientific (mis)conduct in your own research environment. In this course we will take another look at this and in particular at scientific misconduct. We will ask ourselves: Why do people deceive or mislead colleagues and fellow scientists? Can we find a basis for this conduct in philosophy? When do facts become fiction? Where does reality end and fiction begins? Can we find an explanation for this behaviour? Is this behaviour typical human? Is it driven by biological, economical or social factors? You’ll explore some of the intriguing stories of (scientific) fraud and look for the human factor.

Course objectives

The student:

  • will study the human factor in examples of (scientific) misconduct

  • will be able to define biological, economical or psychological factors that play a role in (scientific) fraud

  • will try to define his/her personal line between fact and fiction

Mode of instruction

Lectures and work groups.

Assessment method

Assessment of a presentation and of an essay that the student has to write. Assessment is pass/no pass.

Reading list

Will be distributed and/or assigned by the teachers during the course.