Rules of good scientific practice
The senate of the Technical University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt has issued the following guidelines:
In order to meet research responsibilities and the tasks in research and promotion of young academics resulting therefrom, the University has to take precautions within the legal framework to approach scientific misconduct so that the University can meet public expectations and avoid misuse of tax money or private funding.
Scientific misconduct includes making misrepresentations, knowingly or grossly negligently, violating the intellectual property of others or by sabotaging their research activities in any other way.
Scientific misconduct particularly includes:
- fabricating or falsifying data
- giving incorrect data in a letter of application or a grant application
b) Violation of intellectual property - through the abuse of copyrighted works, scientific findings, hypotheses, teachings or research approaches of others through:
- unauthorised use under the pretension of authorship (plagiarism), exploitation of research approaches and ideas, especially in the context of expert appraisals, (theft of ideas)
- presumption or unfounded acceptance of authorship or co-authorship of a scientific publication,
- falsification of content,
- unauthorised publication and granting of third-party access to unpublished works, findings, hypotheses, teachings or research approaches;
- utilisation of (co-)authorship of another person without their consent
c) Sabotage of research activities (including damaging, destroying or
- manipulating experimental set-ups, equipment, documents, hardware, software, or other means required for performing an experiment).
- Removal of primary data, to the extent that this violates legal provisions or principles regulating scientific work accepted in the related discipline.
Joint responsibiliy for misconduct can for example arise from
- active participation in or knowledge of the misconduct of others,
- co-authorship of publications containing falsifications,
- gross negligence of supervision duties.
- Everyone conducting scientific work is obliged to adhere to the rules of good scientific practice. Within the scope of research projects, this applies to the person in charge of the project.
- By suitable organisation of their department/work area, all persons responsible must ensure that management, supervision, conflict management and quality management tasks are clearly assigned and actually carried out.
- These rules are also part of the education and promotion of young academics. The persons responsible for the project ensure suitable supervision with regular meetings and progress evaluation.
- Quality and evaluation criteria for examinations, awarding of academic degrees, promotions, staffing, appointments and allocation of funds must be defined in a way that always prefers originality and quality over quantity.
- The person in charge for a research project must ensure that original data, upon which publications are based, is stored on durable and secured mediums for 10 years. Extended statutory retention provisions and measures to protect personal data remain unaffected.
- Authors of a scientific publication share the responsibility for the content. Exceptions should be indicated. Everyone making considerable contributions to the idea, planning, implementation or analysis of the research, should be given the opportunity to be co-author. Persons with small contributions are mentioned in the acknowledgements.
- The executive committee chooses one ombudsperson per department who acts as contact person for THWS members. The ombudspersons can reciprocally represent each other. The ombudsperson is to be contacted if scientific misconduct is suspected. They evaluate the plausibility of the allegations. The term of office of the ombudsperson is two years; the ombudsperson stays in office even after this period until a new ombudsperson is appointed. If there are reasonable grounds for suspecting scientific misconduct, the ombudsperson informs the president. The ombudsperson reports to the president annually.
- In order to examine allegations of scientific misconduct, the university management can appoint a committee of three members of the professorial group, and the ombudsperson of the department in question, acting in an advisory capacity.
Investigative procedure following suspected cases of scientific misconduct
If the ombudsperson receives information of scientific misconduct, they shall examine the case with reasonable discretion. If the ombudsperson concludes that sufficient grounds for suspicion exist, they shall inform the president.
The committee shall examine the case according to their means and report to the president. The committee determines the procedure with reasonable discretion. The right to a fair hearing of those involved must be respected. Those involved have the right to be heard in person, as do the informants, especially when contradictory evidence is to be discussed. The right of access to documents of the parties involved is subject to general regulations.
If the committee determines that scientific misconduct was committed and reports this to the president, the president will decide upon further steps and consequences.
When applying for research proposals and development requests, applicants must sign these regulations. People receiving permission to work on the side are also informed about these regulations.