Good Scientific Practice

The main task of Helmholtz Zentrum München is research in the area of Environmental Health and the dissemination of scientific knowledge in this area. The following Rules to Ensure Good Scientific Practice shall serve to achieve this objective. 

Rules to Ensure Good Scientific Practice

Ombudspersons and the "Commission on Questions of Good Scientific Practice"

  • Helmholtz Zentrum München appoints ombudspersons who provide advice and support to all scientists of the Center on questions of good scientific practice and violations thereof. Whenever possible, the ombudspersons shall mediate the dispute before bringing the case before institutional control bodies.

  • The elected members of the Scientific-Technical Council (WTR) are entitled to propose the nomination of two ombudspersons, who shall be appointed by resolution of the WTR for a period of three years. They shall be independent, experienced and respected scientists with knowledge of internal conditions at Helmholtz Zentrum München and shall be directly accessible for all employees.

  • For questions of scientific misconduct Helmholtz Zentrum München has a "Commission for Questions of Good Scientific Practice" (= Commission).

  • Besides the ombudspersons, who have an advisory capacity, the following individuals belong to the Commission:

    • Prof. Dr. Michael Atkinson as chairman of the Scientific-Technical Council or his deputy chairman (Chair of the Commission)
    • Prof. Dr. Jochen Graw as head of the Speakers’ Assembly or his deputy head
    • PD Dr. Christian Langebartels as representative of the Management.
  • The Commission reports to the Scientific-Technical Council about its activities.

Code of policy and procedures for investigating and resolving allegations of scientific misconduct

The indication of scientific misconduct can be given to the ombudspersons or to a member of the Commission on Questions of Good Scientific Practice.

Whenever the ombudspersons receive an indication of scientific misconduct, they shall ask the person in question to give a statement. The name of the informant shall not be disclosed without his/her consent.

  • The ombudspersons shall act so that violations of the Rules of Good Scientific Practice are resolved in direct contact with the person alleged of misconduct. The ombudspersons shall notify the informant about the status of the case and then send a written report to the Commission about the case in which they have been active.

  • If the efforts of the ombudspersons remain unsuccessful or if there is suspicion of serious misconduct, they shall refer the case to the Commission. In doing so, they shall send written notification to the Chairman of the Commission and the CEO. The Chairman shall convene the Commission.

  • The Commission shall also convene directly whenever a member of the Commission receives an indication of scientific misconduct.

  • With the consent of the informant, the Commission may entrust the ombudspersons with the clarification of the suspicion of scientific misconduct and the restoration of good scientific practice.

  • Otherwise, stating the allegations or evidence, the Commission shall solicit an oral and/or written statement from the individual suspected of scientific misconduct which he/she shall provide within two weeks. During this phase the name of the informant shall not be disclosed without his/her consent.

  • The Commission shall prepare a report and inform the CEO, the person alleged of misconduct and the informant.

  • The Board of Directors shall decide within two weeks whether to terminate the proceeding, whether to refer the case back to the Commission for resolution or whether to impose further consequences while respecting all rights of the Works Council according to the German Works Council Constitution Act.

  • During the ongoing proceedings all involved persons are obligated to maintain strict confidentiality with respect to all information pertaining to the case.



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