Good scientific practice
Having a good academic working style means preparing and publicly presenting your findings and newly acquired knowledge in a well-structured manner. This process must be transparent and understandable.
What, however, does “good” mean in the context of scientific practice? The German Research Foundation (DFG) examined this question in great detail in 1997 following a striking case of scientific misconduct. It then formulated the principles of good scientific practice in the form of binding written rules. These rules outline the fundamentals of correct scientific conduct and provide you with a summary of the most important guidelines for writing your research work or supervising young researchers.
The fundamentals of good scientific practice are based on values such as honesty, openness, and transparency. Compliance with these rules is essential for conducting your research project correctly and arriving at results that are acceptable to the scientific community.
Good scientific practice governs:
- How to handle data, sources, and material correctly as well as how to address storage issues.
- How to gather data in an understandable and transparent manner and document it effectively.
- How to correctly handle the intellectual property of others and your own preliminary work.
- How to handle your own authorship and, if applicable, the authorship of your staff in joint publications.
- How to engage in scientific cooperation in working groups and research projects.
- Your rights and obligations as a student under supervision and as a supervisor.
We would like to help you become familiar with the standards of good scientific practice at the higher education institutions in Hamburg before you embark on your academic career.
- The Ombuds Office of Universität Hamburg offers an advising service on topics related to good scientific practice at the Hamburg Research Academy. The service is available to doctoral and early career researchers from our member institutions.
- We regularly offer workshops and information sessions on topics of good scientific practice. You can find the current dates in our course portal.
Guidelines for good scientific practice
You can read about the fundamentals of good scientific practice in the following documents:
Good scientific practice at Hamburg's higher education institutions
Every higher education institution in Germany has committed to safeguarding the guidelines of good scientific practice as based on the German Research Foundation (DFG) memorandum. The higher education institutions in Hamburg have each adopted their own guidelines to safeguard good scientific practice.
- Universität Hamburg (UHH) [PDF] (in German only)
- Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW) [PDF] (in German only)
- Technische Universität Hamburg (TUHH) (in German only)
- HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU) [PDF] (in German only)
- Bucerius Law School (BLS) [PDF] (in German only)
- Kühne Logistics University (KLU) [PDF]
These guidelines have been incorporated into all doctoral degree regulations and are binding.
We are here to answer your questions on good scientific practice and help resolve concrete conflicts by referring cases to ombudspersons. As mediators and conflict managers, doctoral students and supervisors advise you on the legal framework conditions in academia.
The Ombuds Office assists the Ombuds Committee in carrying out its duties and serves as the first point of contact for all matters related to the issue of scientific practice and scientific misconduct. The staff at Universität Hamburg's Ombuds Office can answer your questions and provide you with information on good scientific practice. They will also be happy to offer initial advice on concrete issues or problems (anonymously if necessary) without an official review by the Ombuds Committee. If you currently find yourself in a conflict situation, but do not (yet) seek intervention by an ombudsperson, you can also opt for individual coaching. This can help effectively prevent escalation of the conflict and potential scientific misconduct.