Discussing moral dilemmas can be quite difficult, also for researchers. After all, how do you start a conversation about a dilemma with your colleagues, the research leaders or partners, or your supervisor? Nevertheless, it is important to discuss such issues, because it allows researchers to (further) develop their inner compass, to learn from each other and to experience support.
In order to make conversations about moral dilemmas in research easier, the Erasmus University Rotterdam launched the Dilemma Game app. The app is the successor to the offline version of the Dilemma Game 'Professionalism and Integrity in Research' that was introduced by the university some years ago, and for which there has been a great deal of interest both within and outside Erasmus University. The app has been developed in cooperation with PhD students, (senior) researchers and integrity experts. The game can be played in different ways via the app. Players can also submit their own dilemmas.
The game is available for download from the App Store and Google Play Store.
How does the app work?
The app contains a large number of dilemmas, arranged according to themes and target groups. Every month a new dilemma will be added. When a player has chosen a dilemma, he can indicate what he would do, given four options. After voting the player can see the choices of other players as well as what an expert in the field of scientific integrity has to say about it.
Players can also submit their own dilemma, which may then be included in the app. This way players receive feedback on their own dilemma from the research community.
With the app, the university wants to stimulate students and scientists to talk to each other about dilemmas, preferably face to face. That's why the app has a 'group-mode' that makes it possible to select several dilemmas to discuss in a small group. At the end of the game, players get an overview of relevant statistics and they can see what the most controversial dilemmas were.
The third option is to use the app to play the Dilemma Game in a large group, for example during a lecture. The participants vote on the dilemmas selected by the lecturer, after which the votes are projected live, and the discussion can take place.
Stimulate open research culture
The Dilemma Game app aims to make it easier for researchers to discuss their moral dilemmas. The EUR stimulates discussion about this within the university in various ways. For example, beginning researchers and PhD students are offered courses on research integrity at the university's graduate schools.
Working together on an open research culture is an important condition for the EUR to fulfil its new mission 'Creating positive societal impact'. In the coming years, we will focus on greater connection with and involvement in research (and education) by social partners. In this cooperation, new dilemmas will emerge. Think about sharing research data or equipment, changes in the assignment during research and dilemmas in the field of scientific independence.
Duty of care
In addition, the university has a duty of care to create a working environment in which good research practices are promoted and safeguarded. One of the aspects of the duty of care is to ensure a research culture in which researchers feel sufficiently comfortable to discuss questions, problems and dilemmas with each other and with their managers or research leaders.
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