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Good Scientific Practice

Part I: Good Scientific Practice

§ 1 Good Scientific Practice

(1) The following rules for good scientific practice should contribute to promote the quality of scientific work and, thus, prevent scientific misconduct.

(2) A good scientific practice must meet the following requirements:

  • Studies shall be carried out according to the latest state of research. This requires the knowledge and utilisation of current literature and the use of the methods corresponding to the state of research.

  • The presentation or publication of scientific knowledge shall include details of the theories, methods and research designs that are important for the assessment of research results and the limits of their validity.

  • Primary data collected in the course of empirical research must be stored for a minimum of 10 years.

  • Within the framework of empirical studies, the personal rights of test persons are to be respected and the relevant data protection regulations are to be taken into account.

  • Other characteristics of scientific work include the honesty of argumentation and to take doubts seriously. Results of scientific work should not be presented as established unless they have been independently confirmed; each interpretation is based on criteria of plausibility. In the scientifically desirable examination of other opinions, researchers must adhere to the self-evident standards of an integrated argumentation.

  • Scientific knowledge gains are communicated to the public in the form of publications. Just like the scientific research itself, the publication is also part of the scientific process for which the authors have to assume the respective (co-)responsibility.

  • The sources of funding are specified in publications on studies funded or commissioned by third parties.

§ 2 Junior Researchers

(1) Junior researchers begin their academic work as student assistants and with their final examination and/or doctoral thesis. In addition to theoretical and methodological skills and knowledge, the Institute must convey to them an ethical basic attitude towards scientific work, responsible handling of results and co-operation with other scientists.

(2) Junior researchers are entitled to receive regular academic supervision, advice and support in accordance with the Institute's care guidelines by a primary contact person assigned to them at senior level, i. e. an employee holding at least a doctorate.

(3) Junior researchers are obliged to work responsibly and collegially and to participate in internal seminars.

§ 3  Collaboration and Leadership Responsibility in Research and Project Groups

The heads of research or project groups are responsible for an appropriate organisation that ensures that the tasks of management, supervision, conflict resolution and quality assurance as well as the supervision of junior researchers are clearly assigned and actually carried out.

§ 4 Authorship of Scientific Publications

(1) If more than one person is involved in a research project or in the drafting of a scientific report, a person can only be mentioned as co-author if he or she has contributed significantly to the issue, the research plan, the execution of the research work, the evaluation or interpretation of the results as well as to the drafting or critical revision of the manuscript's content. If a co-author feels ignored, he or she can call the trusted third party. Co-authorship cannot be justified on the basis of technical involvement in data collection alone, nor can it justify the provision of funding or the general management of the department in which the research was carried out. The same applies to the mere reading of the manuscript without contributing to the content. If unpublished observations of other persons are cited in the manuscript or findings of other institutions are used, their written consent must be obtained - subject to other recognised scientific practice.

(2) By agreeing to be cited as co-author, the researcher assumes co-responsibility for ensuring that the co-authored publication complies with scientific standards. This applies in particular to the area for which a co-author has made a contribution; he or she is responsible both for the correctness of his or her own contribution and for ensuring that it is brought into the publication in a scientifically justifiable manner.

(3) If individual researchers find themselves named as co-authors in a publication without their consent and find themselves unable to obtain subsequent approval, they are expected to repudiate their inclusion into the group of authors by the principal author and/or the journal concerned in the strongest terms. If they refrain from such a dissociation, this shall be deemed to be a subsequent approval of their inclusion in the circle of authors with corresponding co-responsibility for the publication.

§ 5 Performance and Evaluation Criteria

Originality and quality shall always take precedence over the quantity of publications or other scientific achievements as performance and evaluation criteria for promotion, recruitment, appointments and allocation of funds.

Part II: Scientific Misconduct

§ 6 Scientific Misconduct

(1) Scientific misconduct has occurred when ethical standards are deliberately or grossly negligently violated in a scientifically relevant context, misrepresentations are made,  rights to intellectual property are violated or the research activities of others are impaired in any other way. The circumstances of each individual case are decisive.

(2) Misconduct includes above all includes the following:

1. Misrepresentation - in particular

  • the fabrication of data;
  • the falsification of data (e. g. by selecting and not mentioning undesirable results without making this public, or by manipulating figures or illustrations);
  • false information in a letter of application or grant application (including false information about the publication organ and the publications accepted or in print)
  • false information on the scientific performance of candidates in selection or review committees.
2. The infringement of intellectual property rights in relation with regard to a legally protected work created by one or another party, or in relation to essential scientific knowledge, hypotheses, teachings or research approaches originating from other sources, by:
  • unauthorized utilisation under presumption of authorship (plagiarism),
  • the use of research approaches and ideas without stating the source (theft of ideas),
  • the untruthful claim to or unjustified acceptance of scientific authorship or co-authorship,
  • the falsification of content,
  • the unauthorised publication of, and provision to third parties of access to, a work, finding, hypothesis, teaching content or research approach that has not yet been lawfully published.

3. Claiming the (co-)authorship of another person without their consent.

4. The serious impairment of research (including damaging, destroying, or manipulating of equipment, devices, documents, hardware, software or other items needed by others to conduct an experiment).

5. The destruction of primary data when this represents a violation of legal requirements or of Article 1 Paragraph 2.

(3) Joint responsibility for scientific misconduct can result, among other things, from

  • active participation in the misconduct of others,
  • a knowledge of falsifications of others,
  • the co-authorship of forged publications
  • and gross negligence with regard to supervisory duties.

§ 7 Ombudsperson

(1) At the suggestion of the Board of Directors, the Institute's Curatorship appoints an independent trusted person and a deputy to whom all members of the Institute may turn in order to mediate in cases of conflict or to obtain advice on the rules to be observed for good scientific practice.

(2) The ombudsperson is appointed for a period of two years; a one-time reappointment is possible. The same applies to the appointment of the deputy person, who replaces the trusted person if he or she is biased or prevented from doing so.

(3) The ombudsperson reports to the Curatorship twice a year on possible cases of scientific misconduct.

§ 8 Procedure When Scientific Misconduct Is Suspected

(1) If the ombudsperson receives concrete indications of scientific misconduct, he or she informs the Board of Directors in writing about the allegations made, while maintaining confidentiality in order to protect the informant and the person concerned, who is accused of misconduct.

(2) The Board of Directors clarifies the facts and discusses with the trusted third party how to remedy the misconduct identified in each case.

(3) The ombudsperson then informs the Institute's Council and the Curatorship of the decision.

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