Tool Training

The Dilemma Game: Professionalism and Integrity in Research

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 23 July 2018
Last modified on 13 June 2022

This dilemma game was developed as one of the initiatives of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) Taskforce Scientific Integrity

Like in any profession, scientists are frequently faced with dilemmasCan I exclude particular observations from my research? Can I use exactly the same data set for multiple papers? Should I agree on a colleague being a co-author on a paper to which she has not made a significant contribution?. By exposing you to such dilemmas in the context of a critical dialogue, this game aims to support you in further developing your own “moral compass”. This dilemma game was developed as one of the initiatives of the EUR Taskforce Scientific Integrity. The objective of the taskforce has been to raise awareness for and to develop proposals to help maintain scientific professionalism and integrity.

The game lets you consider, choose and defend (and possibly reconsider) alternative courses of action regarding a realistic dilemma regarding professionalism and integrity in research.

Participants will also come to appreciate the dilemmas that others are faced with, how they resolve them and the reasoning behind these solutions. The game encourages participants to discuss issues relating to professionalism and integrity, and to help one another to find solutions for their own dilemmas.

The game consists of dilemmas with four possible courses of action which the players can choose from. It is important to note that due to the complexity of integrity-related dilemmas, there is no winning or losing in this game. Rather, by defending and discussing these choices in the context of a critical dialogue, the game aims to support researchers in further developing their moral compass. The game can be used in a variety of settings, and has three modes: Individual, Group, and Lecture. For instructions on playing the game, download the instruction manual.

From Card Game to App

The original Dilemma Game was developed as one of the initiatives of the EUR Taskforce Scientific Integrity (chaired by prof. dr. Finn Wynstra). The 75 dilemmas included in the game have been collected through sessions at different EUR schools, and among researchers who use different research strategies and who are in different stages of their careers. The dilemma game has become part of the standard training in academic integrity for PhD students and researchers throughout The Netherlands.

In order to reach a wider audience and inspire continuous attention to the topic of research integrity, the Dilemma Game has been digitalized. Furthermore, benefits of an app include that the game can be played individually as well, and that it is much easier to add new relevant dilemmas to the game. The app has been developed in close cooperation with PhD students, (senior) researchers and integrity experts.

We hope that the game, as one of many initiatives, may help foster more continuous awareness to dilemmas in research, and in particular stimulate a more open and critical discussion of our respective norms and behaviours.

The dilemma game can be downloaded as an application on Android devices and iOS. The app has three modes: individual, group and lecture mode, allowing users to interact with the dilemma's in a variety of ways.


More than 12,000 people have used the Dilemma Game app over the past 6 months, and researchers in Belgium, Nigeria, Italy, Estonia, Czech Republic, India, Denmark and Turkey are among its top users.

If you want to know more about the game and its success read this interview with Nick den Hollander, a senior policy officer at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, published by Nature

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