The following comment refers to this/these guideline(s)
Cross-phase quality assurance
Researchers carry out each step of the research process lege artis. When research findings are made publicly available (in the narrower sense of publication, but also in a broader sense through other communication channels), the quality assurance mechanisms used are always explained. This applies especially when new methods are developed.
Continuous quality assurance during the research process includes, in particular, compliance with subject-specific standards and established methods, processes such as equipment calibration, the collection, processing and analysis of research data, the selection and use of research software, software development and programming, and the keeping of laboratory notebooks.
If researchers have made their findings publicly available and subsequently become aware of inconsistencies or errors in them, they make the necessary corrections. If the inconsistencies or errors constitute grounds for retracting a publication, the researchers will promptly request the publisher, infrastructure provider, etc. to correct or retract the publication and make a corresponding announcement. The same applies if researchers are made aware of such inconsistencies or errors by third parties.
The origin of the data, organisms, materials and software used in the research process is disclosed and the reuse of data is clearly indicated; original sources are cited. The nature and the scope of research data generated during the research process are described. Research data are handled in accordance with the requirements of the relevant subject area. The source code of publicly available software must be persistent, citable and documented. Depending on the particular subject area, it is an essential part of quality assurance that results or findings can be replicated or confirmed by other researchers (for example with the aid of a detailed description of materials and methods).
Stakeholders, responsibilities and roles
The roles and responsibilities of the researchers and research support staff participating in a research project must be clear at each stage of the project.
The participants in a research project engage in regular dialogue. They define their roles and responsibilities in a suitable way and adapt them where necessary. Adaptations are likely to be needed if the focus of a participant’s work changes.
Researchers take into account and acknowledge the current state of research when planning a project. To identify relevant and suitable research questions, they familiarise themselves with existing research in the public domain. HEIs and non-HEI research institutions ensure that the necessary basic framework for this is in place.
Methods to avoid (unconscious) distortions in the interpretation of findings, e.g. the use of blinding in experiments, are used where possible. Researchers examine whether and to what extent gender and diversity dimensions may be of significance to the research project (with regard to methods, work programme, objectives, etc.). The context in which the research was conducted is taken into consideration when interpreting findings.
Researchers back up research data and results made publicly available, as well as the central materials on which they are based and the research software used, by adequate means according to the standards of the relevant subject area, and retain them for an appropriate period of time. Where justifiable reasons exist for not archiving particular data, researchers explain these reasons. HEIs and non-HEI research institutions ensure that the infrastructure necessary to enable archiving is in place.
When scientific and academic findings are made publicly available, the research data (generally raw data) on which they are based are generally archived in an accessible and identifiable manner for a period of ten years at the institution where the data were produced or in cross-location repositories. This practice may differ depending on the subject area. In justified cases, shorter archiving periods may be appropriate; the reasons for this are described clearly and comprehensibly. The archiving period begins on the date when the results are made publicly available.
Archiving a pre-retirement or post-retirement research legacy – an example from the geosciences
When professors retire, the dean/collection officer, library and archive should be informed wherever possible so as to allow legacy material to be safeguarded and saved from destruction. Ideally, retirees should contact the above-mentioned persons/bodies in good time themselves.
The geoscientific collections at TU Bergakademie Freiberg are a good example of how a thematically comprehensive archive of documentary material has been maintained. One option is to incorporate more extensive scientific collections into existing ones as sub-collections.
The comment belongs to the following categories:
GL7 (Natural sciences) , GL8 (Natural sciences) , GL9 (Natural sciences) , GL17 (Natural sciences)