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Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice at the University of Cologne

The Committee on Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice was instituted in 2008. Prior to that, its tasks had been performed by the Committee for Research and Junior Scholars. The latter was replaced by the Scientific Advisory Board and the Committee for Junior Scholars. The Committee on Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice consists of an equal number of members from both aforesaid bodies, comprising representatives of the faculties as well as of the groups of professors, academic staff and students. The chair is taken by the Vice-Rector for Research and Junior Scholars.

The University of Cologne considers good scientific practice a prerequisite for top-quality research and teaching. Best practice standards form the basis of a university’s national and international reputation, its appeal for students and young researchers, as well as its attractiveness for collaborations with other research establishments and external funders.

The fundamental principles of good scientific practice at Cologne University are set out in the Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Academic Practice and Dealing with Academic Misconduct (Official Notice 17/2015).

One of the Committee’s tasks is to help formulate and elaborate best practice standards. To that end, it can act on its own initiative in seizing new developments, or it can comply with internal requests for the adoption of recommendations. The Committee is moreover responsible for clarifying the circumstances of suspected cases of academic misconduct; in doing so, it cooperates closely with the University’s ombudsperson . Finally, the Committee is called upon to deal with actual cases of misconduct, where, again, it must first illuminate the facts before it can deliberate on the sanctions required. The Committee on Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice meets at intervals of several months and can be convened as occasion demands.