Welcome to the course “being a researcher”! The course is about scientific research. Scientific research is the main driver of innovation in all sectors of society, and through innovations a possible new and better world becomes possible. Scientific research is mainly done by professional researchers. This course mainly deals with research through the researchers’ perspective: why do they engage in research, what methods they follow, how do they operate in their daily life, what are their responsibilities, how do they engage with society. The course is directed to students who are considering research as a possible option for their professional life and to doctoral students, PhD students. A PhD education is nowadays the main entrance door into the scientific research profession. The course is also directed to beginning researchers, who are starting their independent career, and senior researchers, who may find the course useful for their mentoring of students and junior researchers. Finally, the course is also directed to the general public, who may be interested in understanding the research eco-system and its relation to society. In this course I tried to condense the experience I accumulated in more than 40 years of research in an academic environment. In particular, I tried to organize in a systematic form what I wish someone would have told me about research when I entered the research world, instead of learning through personal experience and lots of errors. Modern scientific research is fragmented into different and very specialized fields, which differ also in their research culture. For example, research in physical sciences differs from research in social sciences; both differ from research in engineering and from research in mathematics. For example, different areas may stress different criteria to evaluate what constitutes a valuable research contribution. Or they may differ in the way research results are diffused to the scientific community. However, a solid core of principles and methods is common to all scientific fields. Most of what I will say in this course holds for every field. However, what I will say also reflects my experience (and bias) as a researcher in the field of Informatics, or Computing (terms mainly used in Europe) or Computer Science (term mainly used in North America). More broadly, this discipline can be also called Information and Communication Science and Technology (ICST). In this course I will mainly use the term Informatics or the acronym ICST. Each week of this course will cover a different topic. I will give you a bird’s eye view of the material covered by each week to give you an idea of the overall contents of the course. In this first week I will focus on what is science, what is scientific research, and why progress in scientific research contributes to the progress of society. Week 2 will address research methodology. I will present how scientific methods developed from a historical perspective, mainly referring to physical and natural sciences. We will then dig into the methods of research validation and refer in particular to Informatics. Week 3 will focus on the processes through which research results are diffused. It will describe the standard diffusion process through scientific papers. It will discuss both the traditional publication world and also the current trends towards open access research. It will also discuss the importance of other kinds of products (or artifacts) beyond scientific papers, such as datasets or research prototypes. Week 4 is about the researcher’s progress: from a graduate student who starts doing research, to a PhD student who is being trained as a researcher and has to deliver a research output (a thesis), to a junior researcher in industry or academia who is establishing him or herself as an “independent researcher”, to a senior researcher who may manage a substantial research group and a research facility, and can supervise and mentor young researchers. The presentation will intermix factual information with tips of advice on how to equip oneself with the necessary skills. Week 5 will focus on research assessment. Research is highly competitive, and evaluation is quintessential to research. Researchers are evaluated when they are hired, when they apply for funding, and for promotion. Research units (groups, departments) are also evaluated for funding. Even global institutions (like universities) are evaluated and ranked internationally. Traditionally, evaluation is performed via peer review. Increasingly other forms of evaluation based on quantitative indicators — such as bibliometric indicators — have been emerging and are increasingly used. We will introduce quantitative indicators and will also provide a critical evaluation. Finally, week 6 focuses on the ethical issues involved in doing research. It defines the notions of ethics and misconduct. It discusses misconduct in in proposing, performing, reviewing research or reporting research, focusing in particular on plagiarism, breach of confidentiality, conflict of interest. The ethical aspects involved in the specific kind of research are also discussed. Research can involve or affects humans, or animals, or the environment. This is traditionally well understood in life sciences and in social sciences. Increasingly research in all areas of technology is getting closer to humans and touches ethical sensitive issues. I hope you will enjoy the course and, most important, I hope you will find what I will say here useful in your life as a researcher.