RWTH Online Course “Scientific Integrity”



For Students





For Doctoral Candidates, Postdocs and Other Employees



Course Description

Scientific work is based on the honesty of scientists towards themselves and others. This is both an ethical norm and the basis for good scientific practice. Ensuring the validity and application of these rules in practice is therefore a core task of science and universities.

In the context of the Scientific Integrity Online Course, interdisciplinary relevant topics are presented with regard to good scientific practice. Based on the definition and principles of scientific integrity, the course covers aspects such as honesty and quality criteria for good scientific research, ensuring good scientific practice, scientific misconduct, research ethics, research data management, responsibility for supervision, and conflicts of interest as well as diversity and cooperation in science.


Online Course on RWTHmoodle

The online course is offered via a recurring RWTHmoodle learning room. This includes all content (slides, videos, literature) in both German and English.


Participation and Recognition

for students

According to §16 (2) of the General Exam Regulations (Übergreifende Prüfungsordnung/ÜPO) and to §19 (2) of the General Exam Regulations for the Teacher Training Master's Degree Program for Gymnasium and Gesamtschule Teachers as well as Vocational School Teachers (ÜPO M. Ed.) at RWTH Aachen University, successful completion of the Scientific Integrity module component is a prerequisite for registration of the Master's thesis for all students who have enrolled in a Master’s degree program in winter semester 2020/21 or later.

Students register to the Online Course “Scientific Integrity” via the associated RWTHonline course.



for doctoral candidates, postdocs, and other employees

According to the valid doctoral regulations, a prerequisite for admission to doctoral studies is the completion of a course on scientific integrity. In this vein, the completion of the virtual course on scientific integrity or an equivalent achievement is recognized. If this online course or an equivalent achievement has already been completed as part of a Bachelor's or Master's degree program at RWTH, the achievement does not have to be repeated. The respective doctoral committee decides on the recognition of equivalent achievements. Doctoral candidates and postdocs register via Division 12.1 Career Development using RWTH Single Sign-On.

In addition, all employees of RWTH Aachen University who have a TIM login can participate in the course, which they register for via Division 12.1 Career Development using RWTH Single Sign-On.


Intended Learning Outcomes

  1. know the principles of scientific integrity
  2. know the definition, forms, and relevance of scientific misconduct
  3. know relevant normative issues in science, such as conflicts of interest or misconduct, and know possible solutions
  4. understand the relevance of research ethics
  5. understand the relevance of diversity in science
  6. know the tasks of research data management
  7. understand possible types of cooperation in science
  8. reflect on their own responsibility in research and science

Topics Overview

What is Scientific Integrity?

  • Definition of Scientific Integrity
  • Definition of Honesty
  • Research to Gain Findings
  • Principles of Scientific Integrity
  • Criteria of Research and Classical Quality Criteria of Scientific Research

Recommendations for Safeguarding Scientific Integrity

  • Claim for Universality
  • Recommendations to Ensure Good Scientific Practice
  • Principles of Good Scientific Practice at RWTH University

Scientific Misconduct

  • Definition of Scientific Misconduct
  • Types of Scientific Misconduct
  • Joint Responsibility for Misconduct of Others
  • Causes of Scientific Misconduct
  • What to Do about Scientific Misconduct?

Social Responsibility and Research Ethics

  • Research Ethics
  • Freedom of Research
  • Risk Analysis and Impact Assessment
  • Dual-Use-Problem
  • Social Responsibility of Organizations, DIN ISO 26000

Diversity in Science

  • Diversity in the Science System
  • Practical Examples on Diversity
  • Responsibility of Supervisors and Assistants
  • Promotion of Scientific Staff and of Doctoral Projects

Dealing With Research Data and Conflicts of Interest

  • Research Dara
  • Tasks in the Life Cycle of Research Data and Research Data Management
  • Cooperation in Science
  • Conflicts of Interest and their Prevention


The exam will take place via Dynexite and is offered twice per semester, with the dates announced at the beginning of the semester. The duration of the exam is 30 minutes. The minimum pass score is 60%. All contents of the learning room are relevant for the exam unless otherwise announced.

No "final failure” scores apply. The exam is graded on a pass/fail (5.0) basis.

  • for students, the results are recorded in the examination dates of the courses in RWTHonline.
  • for doctoral candidates, postdocs and employees the results are recorded by Division 12.1 – Career Development and in RWTHmoodle. If the exam is passed, the certificate for PhD candidates, postdocs, and employees is deposited in the participant portal of Division 12.1 – Career Development.