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Good Research Practice during Doctoral Studies

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Good Research Practice during Doctoral Studies
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The preservation of scientific integrity forms the indispensable basis for trust in science. In particular, due to the special privilege of scientific freedom, all researchers bear a special responsibility for their own research actions and their behavior towards the scientific community. Honest research requires strict integrity with regard to oneself and others, the constant skepticism of one's own results and the critical discourse about them, as well as working according to the recognized standards of the respective discipline (lege artis). These basic principles are indispensable for ethically responsible scientific practice.

Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Research Practice of the German Research Foundation (DFG)

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has formulated 19 guidelines for safeguarding good research practice in its Code of Conduct. These guidelines provide a frame of reference for researchers, university management and management of research institutions outside universities. The rules of good scientific practice apply equally to all areas of research and to scientists at all career levels. They describe generic, generally applicable standards for research activities and address general principles (guidelines 1 to 6), the research process (guidelines 7 to 17) and the procedure in case of non-compliance with good scientific practice (guidelines 18 and 19).

Portal for scientific integrity from the DFG

Official copy (DOI) of the code of conduct in German and English

Supporting researchers in early career stages is an important component of good scientific practice and is also anchored in the DFG guidelines. To this end, suitable support structures and concepts must be established and straightforward advice on career paths and further training opportunities must be provided (guideline 3). In addition, it must be ensured that appropriate individual supervision of next-generation researchers is guaranteed and that suitable measures are taken to prevent abuse of power and exploitation of relationships of dependency (guideline 4).

Academic Integrity at the University of Freiburg

The University of Freiburg has implemented the guidelines of good scientific practice in a legally binding way through its Regulations on Safeguarding Academic Integrity. Thus, all academic staff and students at the University of Freiburg are obliged to know and comply with these rules and to refresh their knowledge regularly. Furthermore, the regulations specify the procedure to be followed in case of violations of the rules of good scientific practice.

The preamble of the regulations lists all guidelines, rules and measures on academic integrity that exist beyond the DFG guidelines at the University of Freiburg.

Academic integrity

Services of the International Graduate Academy

Continuing Education Opportunities on Good Scientific Practice

In our qualification program for doctoral candidates, we regularly offer workshops on good scientific practice in German and English. Furthermore, we provide a compact e-learning course that gives first insights into the topic.

IGA qualification program for doctoral candidates

E-learning course on good research practice during doctoral studies

Central Ombuds Process for Doctoral Candidates and Supervisors

The office of the central ombuds process is staffed by two employees of the IGA. They are the first point of contact in case of conflicts in the supervision relationship. The procedure is strictly confidential and has a two-stage structure in order to keep the inhibition threshold as low as possible and to be able to address problems openly and at an early stage. The ombudspersons can also be approached directly without prior contact with the office.

Ombuds process for doctoral candidates and supervisors

Culture of Supervision at the University of Freiburg

The Guidelines for Good Supervision of Doctoral Candidates at the University of Freiburg provide a framework for the relationship between supervisors and doctoral candidates. In addition to suggestions for a profitable supervisory relationship between doctoral candidates and their supervisors, it also lists the legal framework for doctoral studies at the University of Freiburg. In this way, standards of good supervision can be established.

Culture of good supervision

Guidelines for good supervision

Excellent Doctoral Supervision Award

Good supervision involves a great deal of commitment. In order to make this work visible and as an official recognition on the part of the university, a prize for excellent doctoral supervision has been awarded annually since 2023. The award is given to supervisors who provide excellent guidance and supervision to their doctoral candidates and thus exemplify the culture of supervision at the University of Freiburg.

Award for excellent supervision of doctoral candidates