In 2002, Freie Universität Berlin endorsed its own institutional ethics code (Ehrenkodex). This ethics code applies to all members of our university. It specifies what is considered good and professional research practice and ethical conduct (see also the Dahlem Research School's info page). It also outlines processes of how deal with possible cases of misconduct. Furthermore, the European Charter for Researchersrequires a commitment to professional standards and ethical behaviour (pp. 11-13).
Our DPBR members ratify this ethics code as part of their supervisory agreement (Betreuungsvereinbarung). By this we ensure that every member is informed about what is expected of them regarding their conduct and we gather their explicit consent. You can view the ethics code here: Ehrenkodex.pdf
As a structured PhD program, we understand it as especially our responsibility to educate young researchers about good scientific practice and ethical conduct. The content of our taught modules ensures that both professional research methods are taught and that issues of research ethics are discussed and participants' questions are addressed. Thus, strong academic ethics become part of each PhD's education. If you have any questions on ethical conduct or become aware of cases of misconduct among program members, please contact us or your respective responsible confidants (ombudsperson).
Recently, severe cases of academic misconduct among researchers and politicians have sparked a public debate regarding the conduct of scientists and researchers. Frequently, issues such as plagiarism, self-plagiarism, manipulation, fabrication or intentional misinterpretation of empirical data, citation and quotation rules etc. have become the content of this debate. In order to stimulate the debate among our members, we provide collection of links on the subject and the debate below. Please feel encouraged to raise awareness and initiate a debate among your junior and senior colleagues, professors, students, external fellows and other people in academia.
- A recent US NPR report about plagiarism in German politics: http://www.npr.org/2012/11/24/165790164/a-wave-of-plagiarism-cases-strikes-german-politics
- A recent BBC news article on plagiarism: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/18962349
- The author's blog on plagiarism: http://copy-shake-paste.blogspot.com/ and her related link collection: http://delicious.com/weberwu/tag_bundle/scientific%20misconduct
- The website of plagiarism researcher Prof. Dr. Deborah Weber-Wulff at HTW Berlin: http://people.f4.htw-berlin.de/~weberwu/
- A blog with up-to-date coverage of misconduct cases and related journal retractions in all disciplines: http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/
- An academic paper on self-plagiarism: http://people.ischool.berkeley.edu/~pam/papers/SelfPlagiarism.pdf
- A news report about a recent German case of academic misconduct: http://economicsintelligence.com/2012/07/19/top-flight-german-business-prof-faces-severe-accusations-of-academic-misconduct/
- A news report about recent British and Dutch case of academic misconduct: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/02/us-dutch-scientist-fraud-idUSTRE7A12PL20111102
- The Grimme Online Award (2011) winning platform for the analysis of academic plagiarism. http://de.guttenplag.wikia.com/wiki/GuttenPlag_Wiki and its successor: http://de.vroniplag.wikia.com/wiki/Home
- An information portal on plagiarism at HTW Berlin: http://plagiat.htw-berlin.de/
- A news article on the consequences of the Guttenberg affair: http://www.tagesspiegel.de/wissen/plagiats-skandale-und-die-folgen-der-doktor-soll-besser-werden/5835538.html
- An article on the potential legal consequences of academic misconduct: http://www.faz.net/frankfurter-allgemeine-zeitung/politik/wie-koennen-plagiate-in-dissertationen-strafrechtlich-sanktioniert-werden-11106587.html
- A reflection on academic paper retraction: http://www.heise.de/tp/artikel/37/37751/1.html
- An article identifying related causes of misconduct: http://www.spiegel.de/unispiegel/studium/fehler-im-deutschen-system-wider-die-akademische-vetternwirtschaft-a-747408.html
News reports on two well documented German cases of academic misconduct of scientists:
1. Prof. Dr. Lichtenthaler:
2. Prof. Dr. Bruno Frey: