An award-winning professor is welcomed back to the university. But is it really he who should have received the prestigious award? This is the starting point in the film "On Being a Scientist", published online last year.

The movie "aims to raise students' awareness of academic integrity and to prepare them for the problems and dilemmas they could encounter as scientists", according to the Netherlands Research Integrity Network (NRIN), which also provides suggestions for how to use the film in education.

"We wanted to see if a movie could work for this kind of education, and we were lucky to have one of our greatest directors, Gosja Klivtonne, join in", said Remco van Schadewijk, one of the film producers.

Van Schadewijk presented the movie at the 5th World Conference on Research Integrity (WCRI) in Amsterdam in May.

Sheds light on grey areas

Besides dealing with big questions like "what is science", the movie aims to be a starting point for discussions regarding the "grey areas" of science ethics on topics such as authorship and use of scientific methods.

"It does not provide clear-cut answers or step-by-step solutions but instead invites students to reflect upon these cases themselves", NRIN points out.

The Manuscript is developed from certain learning goals, and the movie is divided into nine parts so one can choose to see it in episodes, each addressing different topics. It is openly available on youtube.

At Leiden University the movie is now used to introduce students to challenges they may face as scientists. And the teaching method itself is being subjected to research into its effectiveness.

For more teaching resources, check out our Research Ethics Library.