Academic Citizenship Introduced

Sequence, 4 sessions, 2 days

In this sequence of sessions, students reflect on the concept of “academic citizenship” and the ethical responsibilities of all members of the academic community.

The university plays a unique role in society by creating, developing and conveying knowledge through research and education in order to meet society’s needs. To acknowledge the fundamental principles of autonomy – ensuring researchers the freedom to identify research questions – many universities have signed the Magna Charta Universitatum and joined the International Association of Universities.

Within this CARTA Curriculum, students revisit these critical questions towards the end of their PhD journey.

Download the curriculum for this sequence of sessions.



Academic Citizenship and Research Integrity

Session 1. Academic Citizenship and Research Integrity  |  2 hours

As an academic citizen, each student will take responsibility for quality in research and education. They commit to collegial collaboration for society’s benefit and to counteracting misconduct and plagiarism in both research and education. In this session, you present and discuss what this means, in international terms, as practised in your institution and in students’ individual understanding.

By the end of the session, students can discuss and appreciate the benefits and responsibilities of academic citizenship.

As the facilitator
To present the concept of academic citizenship to students (Step 1), prepare notes and/or slides to summarise common views within academia globally and provide examples of how to handle misconduct, including plagiarism.

Consult these resources as the basis for your presentation and share them with your students.

For participants
Before the session, read the resource materials and reflect on these questions:

  • How are the fundamental values of universities lived at your institution?
  • How are academic citizenship and responsibilities handled at your institution? Have you been introduced to them during your studies?
  • How do you as a researcher avoid being involved in academic misconduct, particularly considering the hierarchy that exists between senior and junior researchers?
  • How could you, as a leader, contribute to the academic citizenship?

Each student writes up their individual commitment to observe academic honesty and integrity, and to address dishonest academic practices.


Time Step Who
45 minutes 1. Present “academic citizenship” Facilitator, full group
45 minutes 2. Discuss academic citizenship in practice Small groups
30 minutes 3. Discuss the connection with social change Plenary
Step 1. Present “academic citizenship”
45 minutes

During your presentation, engage the group in discussing how researchers and teachers practise academic citizenship in order to:

  • Maintain ethics in education and research.
  • Influence change for to improve people’s quality of life.
Step 2. Discuss academic citizenship in practice 
45 minutes

Divide students into groups of four or five and invite them to discuss:

  • In what concrete ways does your institution put academic citizenship and responsibilities into practice at each level: university leadership, among colleagues, in PhD and postdoc programs?
  • How does your institution handle academic misconduct, such as plagiarism?
Step 3. Discuss the connection with social change 
30 minutes

How is academic integrity related to social change to improve the quality of people’s lives? Invite and facilitate a discussion of the students’ views and their conclusions from the readings.

Researcher Identifiers

Session 2. Researcher Identifiers  |  2 hours

A researcher identifier is a permanent numerical code assigned to a researcher. The identifier identifies the researcher in a given digital environment, such as an institutional information system or publications database. It assigns to that researcher the scholarly production of which they are the author, including datasets, articles, books and book chapters, media stories, theses, protocols, patents articles, patents, scholarships, and funded projects.

In this session, students learn how to create and update accounts on three important identifier platforms: ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier), Google Scholar and ResearchGate.

By the end of these steps, students can:

  • Create accounts with ORCID, Google Scholar and ResearchGate.
  • Update their ORCID, Google Scholar and ResearchGate accounts.


  • Develop a short presentation to introduce research identifiers (Step 1).
  • Prepare a step-by-step guide to creating and updating an account to give students. Alternatively, find and share links to such guides.
  • Ahead of your demonstration (Step 2), test all physical equipment and/ or web-based platforms.
  • Remind participants to bring their own laptops to the session.

Each student creates an account with ORCID, Google Scholar, and ResearchGate (or alternative identifiers). After the session, students populate their accounts and share a link with you or another facilitator for feedback and assessment.


Time Step Who
15 minutes 1. Introduce research digital identifiers Facilitator
1 hour 2. Create identifier accounts Facilitator, individuals
45 minutes 3. Plan to populate and update accounts Plenary
Step 1. Introduce research digital identifiers
15 minutes

Explain what research digital identifiers are, how they work, and why researchers need them. Introduce the specific ones are available and the key strength of each.

Step 2. Create accounts
1 hour

Use a projector to demonstrate how to create an account in ORCID, Google Scholar, and ResearchGate. Students create accounts on their own laptops. They populate one of the platforms with the information they have available – a profile picture, institutional address/es, ongoing projects and publications.

Step 3. Plan to populate and update accounts
45 minutes

Invite and facilitate a discussion of students’ reflections on the exercise. Ask how they plan to continuously update accounts.

Research Ethical Review Process

Session 3. Research Ethical Review Process  |  2 hours

Research ethics make up an important part of advanced academic learning. At the beginning of a research career, a doctoral student must become familiar with and adhere to appropriate ethical, legal and professional frameworks, obligations, and standards. In this session, students reflect on ethical issues related their research topic and plan their ethical approval process.

By the end of these steps, students can:

  • Describe the role, composition and functioning of Institutional Review Boards (IRBs).
  • Write research protocols with human rights protection in mind.
  • Identify and discuss ethical issues related to their research.

For you, the facilitator
Develop a presentation to introduce ethical issues surrounding research and the ethical review process (Step 1). Consult these resources for your presentation and select which ones to share with students.

These courses and resources are available online from the Global Health Training Network:

For students
Assign reading ahead of the session and ask students to come prepared to describe:

  • Key ethical issues surrounding their chosen PhD topics.
  • Ways to address and navigate key challenges.

Students reflect on the ethical issues relevant to their topics of study and submit a short summary to you or a co-facilitator for feedback.


Time Step Who
40 minutes 1. Introduce the ethical review process Facilitator
40 minutes 2. Identify specific ethical issues Small groups
40 minutes 3. Share conclusions and issues Each group to plenary
Step 1. Introduce the ethical review process
40 minutes

Present an introduction to research ethics in general. Explain that ethical processes may delay research. Students need to familiarize themselves with the ethical review process from the outset and consult their supervisor or mentor for clarification and guidance. Your presentation could outline specific aspects such as:

  • Principles of research ethics and moral theories.
  • Research ethics regulation and management.
  • IRB processes.
  • Research in vulnerable populations.
  • Informed consent.
  • Standard of care.
  • Conflict of interest.
  • Meaning of secrecy and confidentiality.
  • Compensation.
  • Stored specimens.
  • Post-trial management and publication.
  • Research non-compliance.
  • Clinical trial management.
  • Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and Good Clinical Laboratory Practices (GCLP).
  • Good research practice, research integrity and scientific misconduct.
  • Examples and procedures for establishing, preventing, and sanctioning misconduct and fraud.
  • Material transfer agreements (MTA) and when and why to use them.
Step 2. Identify specific ethical issues
40 minutes

Divide students into groups of five. Each one describes, briefly, the ethical challenges they anticipate in relation to their PhD research topic and how they might address them.

Step 3. Share conclusions and issues
40 minutes

Invite a representative from each group to summarize the key ethical issues that emerged from their discussion. Facilitate feedback to each group and a discussion of emerging issues.

Community Engagement

Session 4. Community Engagement |  4 hours

This session introduces common effective ways to engage communities throughout the research process. Guide students to:

  • Choose, read and summarize case studies involving community engagement.
  • Reflect on the respective goals and resources of researchers, and partner communities.
  • Identify criteria to evaluate research studies that involve community engagement.

By the end of these steps, students can:

  • Articulate different definitions of community engagement in research and discuss their operating principles.
  • Discuss criteria for proposals involving community participation in research.
  • Discuss the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and limitations of selected case studies of community engagement in research.

For you, the facilitator
Develop a presentation or talk to introduce community engagement in research (Step 1).
Consult and share resources, such as:

Compile links to or copies of case studies for students (Step 2).

Note students’ ability to demonstrate their understanding of the processes of the community engagement in research.


Time Step Who
40 minutes 1. Introduce community engagement in research Facilitator
80 minutes 2. Read and discuss case studies Small groups
2 hours 3. Discuss community engagement as method Each group, plenary
Step 1. Introduce community engagement in research
40 minutes

Present definitions of community engagement as a research method. Describe operating principles the relative roles and responsibilities of researchers, and community members. Invite and facilitate ideas and exchange.

Step 2. Read and discuss case studies
1 hour, 20 minutes

Divide students into groups. Each group reads one of the case studies and prepares a brief presentation to explain the research topic, population and methods, and answer these questions:

  • Was that community engagement research the best option for that topic?
  • Was there any option?
  • What were the strengths and weaknesses of the design?
Step 3. Discuss community engagement as method
2 hours

A representative from each group presents their summary and answers. Facilitate discussion and conclude with a summary of main points from this sequence of sessions.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

CARTA Curricula Copyright © by The Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book