Program NMBU Research Ethics forum

Read more about the forum here. Meetings are held in English.

Program spring 2023

Meetings will take place in 'Innsikten' (University Library, Veterinary building) FROM 12:15 - 13:00. All metings are followed by a 1 hour discussion session open for all NMBU PhDs and Postdocs, 13:00-14:00. See also MINA400). Details about the program below.

  • Tuesday 31. January 12.00 - 14.00 Causality and scientific methods: a source of expert disagreement, with Rani Anjum (Philosophy of Science)
  • Thursday 16. February 12:00 - 14:00 Ethical assessment of research - what and how? with Deborah Oughton (Research Ethics)
  • Thursday 16. March 12:00 - 14:00 Building a culture for research ethics - the role of the supervisor and project leader (Research Ethics)
  • Thursday 20. April 12:00 - 14:00 Ethical dilemmas in research (Research Ethics)
  • Tuesday 23. May 12:00 - 14:00 Commissioned research or consultancy? Is there a clear-cut difference? (Research Ethics)
  • Thursday 8. June 12:00 - 14:00 Can AI technology mimic human intelligence, creativity and learning? with Solve Sæbø, Ulf Geir Indahl and Niklas Pettersen Mintorovitch (Philosophy of Science)

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Coming up next:

Thursday 20. April 12:00 - 14:00

Ethical dilemmas in research

We discuss some dilemmas that junior and senior researchers might encounter. To help us, we use cases from the Dilemma Game.

Thursday 8. June 12:00 - 14:00

Can AI technology mimic human intelligence, creativity and learning? 

In light of the fast development within artificial intelligence, where machines become increasingly more intelligent, creative and able to learn. In this meeting we ask some questions: In what sense are machines intelligent? What does it mean that they learn? And can they ever be characterised as creative? These are big questions within philosophy, where some argue that cognitive processes in humans and machines are essentially different. How exactly are they different, and does this difference disappear with technological advances? To introduce this session, we have invited Solve Sæbø, Ulf Geir Indahl and Niklas Pettersen Mintorovitch.


Previous meetings:

Tuesday 23. August 2022

Questionable practice, sloppiness or misconduct? What is what, and why does it matter in research ethics?

Local and national commissions (granskingsutvalg) are responsible for carrying out investigations of possible scientific misconduct in research institutions. But what exactly falls under that category? It possible that poor execution of research is mistaken for misconduct? In this meeting we discuss some important distinctions within research ethics and ask whether it is always clear what is what. To join us, we have invited Vidar Enebakk, Director of the National Committee for Research Ethics in the Social Sciences and the Humanities (NESH).

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Help! They asked me for ethical approval of my research project

What is an ethical approval? Who should approve a project? What should it contain? How can we make better procedures for ethical approval at NMBU?

In this meeting, we will discuss an issue that researchers face to an increasing degree when submitting a project proposal or submitting their results to journals. Whether one is a new or experienced researcher, the request for ethical approval is one that many have questions about how to address and what is the best procedure. With us, we got Ingunn Andersen, Senior Advisor for Research at LandSam, and Ingrid Nyborg, an experienced researcher and PI of a large EU project, who will share their experience with the ethical approval process.

Tuesday 18 October 2022

How to think about ethical publishing in the age of open access, predatory journals, and career evaluation?

Why do we publish? How does publishing advance science? What does open access actually mean and how did it get started? Is the initial vision for open access publishing still relevant or has our focus changed? What are predatory journals and how can we distinguish them from journals that merely focus on making a profit at a level that would inspire the envy of any oil company CEO?

In this meeting, NMBU rector Curt Rice attempts to answer some of these questions, delving into some of the ethical issues related to scientific publication. He will outline some features of what might actually be an ethical system – something he sees as only vanishingly visible on the distant horizon at this point. He also discusses the academic protest against the business practices of Elsevier journals.

Tuesday 8. November 2022

Co-authorship and PhD-supervision - some challenges and tips

What does it take to deserve a place as co-author on a paper? Is it sufficient to be a supervisor, a funder, or a project leader? Not according to any research ethics guidelines. In a national suvery of research integrity in Norway (RINO), among the 7000 researchers who participated, 30% answered that they knew about or had been involved in including co-authors who didn't meet the criteria for authorship. In a study among PhD-students in medicine in Norway, 1/3 said they had experienced pressure about co-authorship.

In this meeting, Rani Lill Anjum will introduce the discussion by presenting some national and international research ethics guidelines for co-authorship. She also shares some (anonymised) stories from junior researchers, where the power imbalance between them and their supervisors prevented them from speaking up against undeserved co-authorship on their works. The stories are not 'extreme cases', but common experiences among PhD-students. Yet, they point to an acedemic culture that the research ethics guidelines was supposed to counteract. In this meeting we discuss what can be done by the PhD-student and by the supervisor to ensure that co-authorship happens in accordance with national and international guidelines.

Tuesday 6. December 2022

Philosophical bias in science as a source of expert disagreement and barriers for interdisciplinarity

Research for a sustainable future requires that we synchronise efforts from multiple fronts. Experts from different fields must think, evaluate and act as a team. For this, we need a common academic culture and to speak a common language. And yet, it is hard to find a topic on sustainability that is free from scientific controversy. NMBU states in its strategy that the barriers for interdisciplinary work must be identified and removed. This, we think, is a prerequisite for the sustainability goals to be met. But how to do it?

In this meeting, Rani Lill Anjum will introduce some of the many non-empirical elements of research and explain why so-called basic implicit assumptions in science (BIAS) of a philosophical nature represent a source of expert disagreement. Why does it matter? Because different philosophical BIAS can result in a situation where two experts faced with the same scientific evidence draw opposite conclusions from them. They might also mean entirely different things by central scientific concepts such as 'causality', 'risk', 'probability', 'complexity', 'value' and 'evidence'. This was also the motivation for creating the teaching course MINA321 Interdisciplinarity and Expert Disagreement on Sustainability, which runs in the January block.

Tuesday 31. January 2023

Causality and scientific methods: a source of expert disagreement

In order to establish causality scientifically, we need to find the appropriate methods. But which methods are best at picking out cause and effect relationships? That depends on what we take causality to be, but there is no agreement on that. Typically, each discipline will have one or more established practices, and sometimes even an explicit evidence hierarchy. Most of the time, however, the way to understand and evidence causality is something that we adopt as part of our research education, without much explicit discussion or reflection upon underlying assumptions or theories about the nature of causality our methods and practices.

In this meeting, Rani Anjum will introduce about different philosophical biases about causality and show how they reveal themselves in scientific methodology. She will also show how different assumptions about causality often lead to expert disagreement, where experts looking at the same pool of evidence could arrive at different causal conclusions. Biases about causality are also relevant for how we understand the need for statistical approaches, and the scientific norms of reproducibility and external validity. 

Thursday 16. February 2023

Ethical assessment of research - what and how? with Deborah Oughton

Learn how to carry out and write an ethical assessment of your own research. 

Thursday 16. March

Building a culture for research ethics - the role of PhD-supervisors and project leaders - with Helene Ingierd

In the European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity, it is stated that 'Senior researchers, research leaders and supervisors mentor their team members and offer specific guidance and training to properly develop, design and structure their research activity and to foster a culture of research integrity'. This is a huge responsibility that cannot be left to the individual researcher. At this meeting, Director of the National Research Ethics Committees (FEK) Helene Ingierd has been invited to introduce the discussion. We discuss:

  • How can supervisors be good role models?
  • What is a good culture for research ethics?
  • How do we build such cultures here at NMBU?
  • What support is needed – from NMBU or from FEK?
  • How can the research ethics forum contribute?
  • Is formal supervision training the best option?
  • How can we engage the seniors in this work?
  • What do the juniors need?


Published 22. August 2022 - 13:12 - Updated 22. March 2023 - 10:30