Good scientific practice and ombudspersons
The Leibniz Association has established standards of good scientific practice, definitions of misconduct and the role and authority of the association’s central Ombuds Committee in its Guidelines for Good Scientific Practice. The guidelines also include the rules of procedure and the sanctions available within the central investigation process. The Leibniz institutions manage their procedures in accordance with the guidelines. Leibniz Headquarters provides support and promotes inter-institutional networking activities on this topic.
Decentralised ombudspersons of the member institutions
The scientists of each member institution hold a secret ballot to elect an ombudsperson as a point of contact for discrepancies, suspicions and matters of dispute, to investigate accusations of scientific misconduct based on the institution’s internal guidelines. If a decentralised ombudsperson decides that the accusations require further investigation, the case is passed to the central ombudsperson.
Central Ombuds Committee of the Leibniz Association
Since April 2020, the Leibniz Association has had a central Ombuds Committee. It replaces the central ombudsperson of the Leibniz Association, a post occupied by Prof. Hans-Georg Joost since 2014. Up to four central ombudspersons now work together in the Leibniz Ombuds Committee and can provide advice, investigate and assess cases both individually and jointly as a committee. This arrangement takes account of the volume and increasing complexity of questions regarding good scientific practice, and creates a structure with a range of expertise for efficient case handling.
The central Ombuds Committee investigates accusations of scientific misconduct levelled against current and former employees of member institutions and, where necessary, sets up a committee of enquiry in accordance with the relevant guidelines. The central ombudspersons also advise the member institutions and their ombudspersons on all issues to safeguard scientific integrity.
The Leibniz Ombuds Committee is proposed by the Executive Board and elected by the Senate for a term of four years. In March 2020, the Senate of the Leibniz Association elected Prof. Hans-Georg Joost (DIfE, Section C), Prof. Brigitte Voit (IPF, Section D) Prof. Gert G. Wagner (DIW, Section B) and Prof. Eckart D. Gundelfinger (LIN, Section C, currently holds his office in abeyance), as central ombudspersons on the Leibniz Ombuds Committee. Hans-Georg Joost took on the function of Ombuds Committee spokesperson.
For inquiries, please contact ombudsgremium(at)leibniz-gemeinschaft.de or Leibniz Ombuds Committee, Leibniz Association, Chausseestraße 111, 10115 Berlin.