About the Code of Conduct
The steps involved in good research work are presented covering the various stages of the research process. The fact that a variety of stakeholders from the research landscape are involved in commenting on the standards makes the portal more appealing and ensures it remains up to date.
The Code of Conduct “Guidelines for Safeguarding Research Practice”, which was adopted by the DFG General Assembly on 1 July 2019, sets out appropriate standards for research work in the form of 19 guidelines. This provides an orientation framework for researchers and for heads of higher education institutions and non-higher education research institutions. As addressees of the Code, the latter can use the guidelines as a basis for their actions, internal structures and their processes. The Code allows a certain level of discretion that can be applied in a way that is as transparent as possible to third parties, depending on the subject area in question.
The standards of good research practice (Section 3) and the procedure in the event of non-compliance with good research practice (Section 4) are structured according to three levels, each of which are worded with different degrees of abstraction. The guidelines at Level 1 are highly abstract. These are followed by the explanations at Level 2: here the level of abstraction is still relatively high. The aim here is to ensure that the Code’s regulatory content remains valid in the medium term. The print version of the Code covers Levels 1 and 2. It is available in both German and English.
Level 3 of the Code takes the form of the dynamic “Research Integrity” portal, which went live on 10 December 2020.
The white paper “Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice”, which preceded the Code, was first published by the DFG General Assembly in 1998. Based on these recommendations, a nationwide system for ensuring good research practice has been established in the German research landscape as a dimension of academic self-governance. In 2013, the recommendations contained in the white paper were supplemented and updated.
The impetus to undertake a fundamental revision of the DFG’s original white paper arose from the many changes in the way research is pursued – not least as a result of the digital turn and developments in publishing. Based on a resolution passed by the DFG Executive Board, a ten-member commission commenced their work in 2018 and produced the Code as the result of their considerations.