Good Scientific Practice at the UFZ

Following cases of scientific misconduct within the national and international science community, the large research institutes and organisations in Germany have drafted Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice. According to these guidelines, the rules of this practice (which are internalized and followed by the overwhelming majority of scientists) should be explicitly stated and procedures should be institutionalized that deal with allegations of actual or suspected scientific misconduct.

Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice

By implementing the framework conditions of the Helmholtz Association, the executive management board and the Scientific and Technical Council (WTR) of the UFZ first declared Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice in 2002, which were revised in 2014 and are currently under revision according to the DFG Code of Conduct. They are based on the DFG "Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Research Practice".

Ombudspersons at UFZ

The Scientific and Technical Council (WTR) elects two experienced scientists as ombudspersons for the duration of four years as contact persons for all issues dealing with good scientific practice as well as scientific misconduct. They serve as confidential contact persons to offer advice on general questions or in conflicts relating to good scientific practice, as well as in case of suspected scientific misconduct. A further proceeding in case of suspected scientific misconduct is described in the rules. It is divided up into the preliminary investigation by the ombudspersons and in the formal investigation procedure by the investigation committee when the suspicion of scientific misconduct could not be cleared up. Attempts to reach an amicable settlement are to be expressly encouraged throughout both procedures, where this is objectively justifiable.

The central Ombudsperson of the Helmholtz Association

Helmholtz has long been committed to ensuring good scientific practice and is guided by the guidelines of the German Research Foundation (DFG).The  central Ombudsperson of the Helmholtz Association can be approached for example, in cases concerning  good scientific practice that several Helmholtz-Centres are involved in or when both Ombudspersons at UFZ seem biased.

The German Research Ombudsman

The Ombuds Committee for scientific integrity in Germany (appointed by the German Research Foundation DFG) is directly available to all scientists, regardless of any involvement of the DFG, to provide advice and support on questions of good scientific practice and its possible violations through scientific dishonesty. This body of volunteers was established in accordance with a recommendation by the Commission on Professional Self-regulation in Science, and sees itself as an institution for advice and mediation.

Scientists are free to contact either one of the Ombudspersons of UFZ or the central Ombudsperson of the Helmholtz Association or the German Research Ombudsman.