CS:5980:001 Topics in Computer Science III: Computing Research Ethics
Spring 2017

12:30-1:20 M B11 MLH (MacLean Hall)

Sriram V. Pemmaraju
101G MLH, sriram-pemmaraju@uiowa.edu, 319-353-2956
Office Hours: 1:00-2:00 M, 10:30-11:30 W, 2:00-3:00 F (and by appointment)
Alberto M. Segre
14D MLH, alberto-segre@uiowa.edu, 319-335-1713
Office Hours: by appointment

Course website: http://www.cs.uiowa.edu/~sriram/5980/spring17/
Department website: http://www.cs.uiowa.edu/

This class is intended to satisfy the responsible conduct of research (RCR) requirements for graduate students in computer science. The nexus of this course are the respective policies requiring such training for students supported by the National Science Foundation: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/rcr.jsp or the National Institutes of Health: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-10-019.html. Although you may not be (currently) supported by the NSF or by one of the NIH grant types listed in the policy, the University believes that all graduate students involved in research should be familiar with RCR. We have designed this course both to satisfy the NIH and NSF requirements that are likely to be encountered by Computer Science students as well as to provide RCR content specifically tailored to the research roles Computer Science students are likely play here at Iowa and beyond in their professional lives.

The course consists of two types of activity. First, each student will complete three brief online educational courses covering (a) responsible conduct of research (RCR), (b) rules governing human subjects research (HSR), and (c) export control rules (EC). These online courses are not specific to CS, but they cover issues important to CS PhD students as well, including authorship, peer review, mentoring, conflicts of interest, collaborative research, research misconduct, etc. Second, we will engage in a series of weekly student-led discussions based on papers selected by supervising faculty. The intent is to choose papers emphasizing ethical issues specific to CS. The papers we choose will cover topics that will overlap with the topics covered by the online courses, but in addition will focus on ethical issues that arise in building and testing software systems, software as intellectual property, managing sensitive electronic data, human-subjects issues in CS research, online privacy and surveillance, online crime and hacking, computer security, problems with algorithmic bias, and computer-related research misconduct. While the course has a research focus, it will also deal with issues that are pertinent to computing professionals. For example, if you were working for Google advertisement delivery group, what would be your responsibility towards discrimination of the type described in this paper (http://arxiv.org/abs/1301.6822) by Latanya Sweeney. Or if you were to join Facebook, how would you respond to the controversy on net neutrality over Facebook's Free Basics program in India (see this article from Forbes Asia, Jan 2016).

Online Training
Each student is asked to complete three online training courses. Courses need not be completed in one sitting, but the RCR course must be completed prior to the end of the first week of the course (i.e., Mon, Jan 30th). The remaining two courses, HSR and EC, need to be completed by the end of the semester. To access these courses, visit: https://www.citiprogram.org/ and select "Login through my institution/Login via SSO." From the list of member institutions, select the University of Iowa, and then you will be asked to provide your hawkid and password. Choose "University of Iowa Courses" and then select "Add a Course." At this point, choose the first, second and fifth options (RCR, HSR, and EC) and then click Next. You will now be asked to select which version of each course you should complete.

  1. For RCR training, there are five choices (biomedical, social sciences, physical science, humanities and engineers). While these courses share most of their content, you should complete the physical sciences course including the two optional modules, the data management case study ID1445 and the collaboration between academics module ID1392.
  2. For HSR training, we advise students with research interests in HCI to select the social and behavioral sciences version, while students who are likely to work with biomedical or HIPPA protected data should select the biomedical version. The two courses are similar and share many of the same modules, but present material with slightly different perspectives.
  3. For EC training, there is only one choice available.
You are required to complete the RCR course within the first week of classes and the remaining two by the end of the semester. We ask that you email a PDF of your completion certificate (or, if that's not possible, an image of the course web page showing all modules completed satisfactorily) to the instructors for inclusion in your file, as soon as you complete each course.

Class Discussion
Over the course of the term you will be assigned a series of readings selected to illustrate issues in computing research ethics. Each week, a different student or students will be asked to prepare a written summary (at most 1 page) and lead an in-class discussion of the assigned reading, focusing on the ethical issues it represents. So, for example, if the assigned reading is the University of Iowa authorship policy, a good summary might involve the main points of the policy as well as a comparison with authorship policies from a few other universities. Or if the assigned reading is a scientific article that has since been retracted for ethical issues, a reasonable summary might cover the original paper (only very briefly) and focus instead on how the paper embodies scientific misconduct, the forensic analysis that revealed the misconduct, the consequances experienced by the original authors, and the response of the home institution. See, for example, coverage of a recent misconduct case: http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/42285/title/HIV-Scientist-Pleads-Guilty-to-Fraud/ and the corresponding institutional response: http://www.inside.iastate.edu/article/2014/01/16/misconduct.

Tentative Discussion Topics and Readings Below we provide a tentative list of topics along with representative readings. The actual readings may change from semester to semester as we discover more relevant, more timely, or just more interesting readings. The selection of topics may also vary from semester to semester as the discipline evolves.

Grading is pass/fail. To pass, students must complete all three online courses with the first week of classes, participate in all of the discussions, and lead assigned discussions. It is expected that all students will be present for all discussions. You will pass the class, only if you have no unexcused absences to your name. See below for our policy on approved absences.

Tardiness and Absences
This course will follow the University and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) policies on absences. Basically, we will approve absences due to University activities (including conference trips), unavoidable circumstances beyond a student's control (such as illness of a death in the family), or mandatory religious obligations. See http://clas.uiowa.edu/students/handbook/attendance-absences for more details on this policy.

Effort Level
According to University guidelines, a student should expect to work for 2 hours per week (outside the classroom) for each course credit. This is a 1 credit course and so you should expect to spend on average about 2 hours per week finishing online courses or completing assigned reading. There will be no exams.

Course Home
This course is run by the Computer Science department which is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. This means that class policies on matters such as requirements, grading, and sanctions for academic dishonesty are governed by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Students wishing to add or drop this course after the official deadline must receive the approval of the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Details of the University policy of cross enrollments may be found online at https://provost.uiowa.edu/files/provost.uiowa.edu/files/crossenroll.pdf.

Students with disabilities
We would like to hear from anyone who has a disability which may require seating modifications or accommodations of other class requirements, so that appropriate arrangements may be made. Please contact the instructor by e-mail or in person during office hours. For more information visit the website of Student Disability Services at http://sds.studentlife.uiowa.edu/.

Student Complaints
If you have any complaints or concerns about how the course is being conducted please feel free to talk to the professors. Typically, the next step after talking to the professor would be to talk to the DEO, but since one of the professors is the DEO, your next step would be to talk to Kathryn Hall at CLAS (in 120 Schaeffer Hall). Consult the CLAS statement on Student Rights and Responsibilities at http://clas.uiowa.edu/students/handbook/student-rights-responsibilities for more information.

University Statement on Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment subverts the mission of the University and threatens the well-being of students, faculty, and staff. All members of the UI community have a responsibility to uphold this mission and to contribute to a safe environment that enhances learning. Incidents of sexual harassment should be reported immediately. See the UI policy on sexual harassment at http://opsmanual.uiowa.edu/community-policies/sexual-harassment for assistance, definitions, and the full University policy. Also see http://www.sexualharassment.uiowa.edu/ for additional resources.

Reacting Safely to Severe Weather
In severe weather, class members should seek appropriate shelter immediately, leaving the classroom if necessary. The class will continue if possible when the event is over. For more information on Hawk Alert and the siren warning system, visit http://hawkalert.uiowa.edu/.