You are here: Home / Course / Entry agreement

Entry agreement

As a condition of being part of this course you have to enter into this agreement. Read it carefully.

In order to participate in the EvoSysBio course you need to give the course organizer the following permissions and agree to the following policies to create a safe, encouraging and authentic learning environment. You signal your agreement by signing your name below, by accepting an account on the course website, or by continuing your work in this course. 


1. Website, passwords and identities

The parts of the course website that you contribute to are closed to the outside world, but open to all your peers to create a safe learning environment. The workflow is set up to:

  • enable sharing what you write for other students within the course to build a learning community (using the state: 'internal draft');
  • allow you to hide from others in the course any content you own by setting it's status to 'private'; your peers cannot access content in the 'private' state; this is where all your new documents start by default, so you can use this as a sketch board to collect ideas;
  • hide your identity as a reviewer to encourage honest and critical peer-reviews (see below);
  • keep everything you write hidden from the external web to create a safe learning environment (you cannot publish 'by accident'). 

To enable this online collaboration and to mimic blind peer-review as currently practiced in the scientific community, you will need to register on the course website for two different logins:  

  • KnownName: The name you want others to know you by in this course. This can be your real name or a pseudonym if you wish. Use this for writing content and for editing. Also, your ReLog folder will have that name. You will be asked for a "My Full Name" and a login name such as "myname" to set this up.
  • ReviewerName: a pseudonym with a separate login that you will use exclusively for all your anonymous peer reviewing. This will be assigned to you by the course organizer and is for your eyes only.  

To help keep the website secure, you agree to:

  1. Choose good passwords that are unique for each account, kept secret, not shared and not reused elsewhere. DO NOT USE YOUR UW Net-ID for the course site! You will review the information here on the course website on how to choose good passwords.
  2. Only log into the secure version of the website at to avoid sending your passwords in clear text over the internet.
  3. Keep your reviewer identity a secret and do not use it in class.
  4. Do not forget to log out of the website, when you no longer use it, especially on public computers.

2. Privacy

The website is designed to keep the content you write secure and only accessible to whomever you choose to make it accessible. However, there are no ultimate guarantees. As a condition for your admission to this course, you agree to respect the privacy of your fellow students:
  1. you do all you can to keep the website secure (see above) and maintain the privacy of the content and identity of your fellow students;
  2. you allow all fellow students of this course to critically evaluate all your non-private content, including ReLogs, research proposals, feedbacks, forums and similar;
  3. you allow all fellow students of this course to read all critical feedback you receive on the content you write;
  4. you do not share or store any texts outside of this course that do not completely belong to you without the written consent of the course organizer and the student(s) who wrote these texts; this includes texts from fellow students that you have cited in your own texts that you developed as part of this course; confidentiality is of utter importance and you agree to carry the corresponding consequences if you are found breaking this non-disclosure agreement and disclose to third parties anything about other students in this course or what they write; you will not store such texts on any computer without written permission, you agree to delete any such stored texts as soon as possible and certainly you will not post any such texts online; 
  5. you respect the anonymity of reviewers, including your own; do not give any hints about your or other secret reviewer identities and do not try to get others to reveal their secret reviewer identity; make sure you consciously step into and out of the reviewer role by choosing the right login;
  6. you carry the basic risks associated with having any content you write and corresponding feedback on any website in principle and the potential loss of privacy this may bring; do not come to this course if you want a guarantee that nobody can steal your content and that no fellow student will see what you write in a graded assessment and be able to associate it with your name and have it accessible in an electronic format. When weighing these risks, consider your use of other networking sites and their privacy policies.


3. Peer-review and editing

The practice of peer review is a key element of the life of a scientist that requires a few agreements to work well. You agree to:
  1. Consciously step into your role as reviewer by logging into the right account and consciously step back out again by logging out.
  2. Be the best peer-reviewer you can be, which means that
    1. you will try hard to find major problems you can see in the content written by your peers and include the best hints at how to improve their texts;
    2. you will focus on the most important problems first and not provide feedback longer than the original content;
    3. you will maintain a positive attitude trying to help authors, but without compromising the standards;
    4. you will maintain a courteous and professional tone to best support the learning process of that author;
    5. you will separate content from person, criticizing content, while honoring the dignity of the person at whatever learning stage that person may be.
  3. You commit to dealing with peer-reviews constructively, which means that
    1. you do not allow any harsh feedback to destroy you, regardless of whether the feedback was justified or not;
    2. you do not take any criticism personal, even if it happens to be expressed inappropriately;
    3. you will discuss the review you received with a course instructor, if you feel that you got hurt by the peer review process, and it matters to you;
    4. you do not allow any criticism to destroy you;
    5. you do not look down on fellow students if their feedback seemed to point out more problems than yours (we all have different skills, which is why interdisciplinary collaboration is so important; also your reviewer may not have had the time or expertise to find your major problems). 


4. Scientific integrity and attribution

The integrity of a researcher is one of her most valuable possessions. If a researcher robs himself of that integrity, the essence of research is destroyed. The career of that researcher is usually over as soon as this becomes known. Maintaining your integrity in this course does not require you to deal with financial conflicts of interest or other complications. However, there are some basic principles you do need to agree that:

  1. You will report data honestly and accurately, whether observed in the lab, cited in papers or produced in simulations.  Under no circumstances will you fabricate data or change data to fit what you think it should be. If you suspect any measurement or conversion errors, you will explicitly document them.
  2. You do your own work (ReLog, peer-review) without outside help. All work you submit to the course website under any of your log-in names will be your own. You will not get help in writing such content, unless you fully acknowledge all help you get in its full extent at a clearly visible location. You will never share your log-in name and password. You understand that if you do, and if the server logs or other means reveal that different persons have contributed to work posted under your account, then you will lose all points for this course and receive a 'Fail'. You will follow the password guidelines to ensure that no other person can get access to your account by normal means.
  3. You will not copy or paraphrase existing texts, whether from online sources, offline sources or other students presently or previously enrolled in this course. You will fully cite all sources that you use in composing your texts. If you want to borrow the words of another author, then you properly cite the passage you need if allowed by applicable fair usage guidelines. 
  4. You will not copy or allow another student to copy your assignments (i.e. papers, simulation results, lab reports, problem sets etc.). You will not forge or falsify academic documents including graded assignments.
  5. You will correctly summarize your contribution and that of your fellow students in collaborative team projects.
  6. You will only use the tools and sources explicitly allowed at that time and not copy from fellow students or obtain answers from external sources during exams, quizzes, problem sets or related graded activities. You will not share exam or quiz content or answers with fellow students until all students have completed the exam or quiz.
  7. You will strive to make this course a community that is based on honesty, integrity and respect.

5. Rules and Regulations.

As you are well aware, content creation in our society is subject to various rules and regulations. As course organizers we cannot accept the responsibility for what you post on the account we give to you. You carry that responsibility and all associated risks yourself. When posting anything on this website, whether published externally, shared internally or kept private, you agree that:

  1. You will only post content that abides by the rules and regulations that govern the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  2. You will not post content that is illegal to post anywhere in the USA.
  3. You will respect the equal dignity of all human beings and not post anything denigrating this dignity or that you would not like to have posted about yourself anywhere.
  4. Your signature below or your continued participation in this course indicates that you agree to abide by this Course Entry Agreement and that you will carry the risks if you do not. Your first post of any content to this site and each subsequent post confirms your consent to the statements in this Course Entry Agreement as published at the time of posting.


               Full Name (print)                                              


             ____________________________________            _____________
               Signature                                                                           Date


This Course Entry Agreement is available in its latest form at    (Version 1.0; 2014-09)