The Max Delbrück Center is deeply committed to upholding scientific integrity. Accordingly, the research institute has established new guidelines for good scientific practice, as well as procedures in case of scientific misconduct. “Scientific integrity is a fundamental pillar of trustworthy research. It is built upon intellectual honesty towards oneself and others. Compliance with the core principles of good research practice is crucial,” said Scientific Director Professor Maike Sander on the occasion of the guideline publication.
The guidelines are in line with the recommendations and procedures of the German Research Foundation (DFG). They set clear rules – not only for the Directors and principal investigators, but for all scientists. This comprises proper supervision, leadership and training, but also fair assessment of research, thorough research design, adhering to ethical and legal standards, responsible research data management, transparent publication of research results, confidentiality, and finally proper credit in the form of authorship and for intellectual property. These revisions been prompted by the profound transformations in research due to digital revolution and new developments in publishing, as well as collaboration formats.
Explicitly defined are also the ombudspersons' roles and responsibilities: They are responsible for prevention, conflict mediation, and informal investigation of suspected scientific misconduct. They serve as initial points of contact and are bound to strict confidentiality.
The new procedural rules in case of scientific misconduct outline the process for conducting a formal investigation. Furthermore, they describe the various types of scientific misconduct and potential sanctions. An investigation committee, composed of both scientists from the Max Delbrück Center and external researchers, will be responsible for examining cases of suspected serious scientific misconduct. The members of the investigation committee will be elected by the Max Delbrück Center’s Scientific Council.
- German Research Foundation (DFG):