Comment on:

The following comment refers to this/these guideline(s)

Guideline 3

Organisational responsibility of heads of research institutions

The heads of HEIs and non-HEI research institutions create the basic framework for research. They are responsible for ensuring adherence to and the promotion of good practice, and for appropriate career support for all researchers. The heads of research institutions guarantee the necessary conditions to enable researchers to comply with legal and ethical standards. The basic framework includes clear written policies and procedures for staff selection and development as well as for early career support and equal opportunity.


The head of each HEI and non-HEI research institution is responsible for ensuring that an appropriate organisational structure is in place at the institution. He or she makes certain that the tasks of leadership, supervision, quality assurance and conflict management are clearly allocated in accordance with the size of individual research work units and suitably communicated to members and employees.

With regard to staff selection and development, due consideration is given to gender equality and diversity. The relevant processes are transparent and avoid implicit bias as much as possible. Suitable supervisory structures and policies are established for early career researchers. Honest career advice, training opportunities and mentoring are offered to researchers and research support staff.

Guideline 5

Dimensions of performance and assessment criteria

To assess the performance of researchers, a multidimensional approach is called for; in addition to academic and scientific achievements, other aspects may be taken into consideration. Performance is assessed primarily on the basis of qualitative measures, while quantitative indicators may be incorporated into the overall assessment only with appropriate differentiation and reflection. Where provided voluntarily, individual circumstances stated in curricula vitae – as well as the categories specified in the German General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz) – are taken into account when forming a judgement.


High-quality research is oriented towards criteria specific to individual disciplines. In addition to the generation of and critical reflection on findings, other aspects of performance are taken into consideration in the evaluation process. Examples include involvement in teaching, academic self-governance, public relations, and knowledge and technology transfer; contributions to the general good of society may also be recognised. An individual’s approach to research, such as an openness to new findings and a willingness to take risks, is also considered. Appropriate allowance is made for periods of absence due to personal, family or health reasons or for prolonged training or qualification phases resulting from such periods, and for alternative career paths or similar circumstances.

Diversity, flexibility and permeability

Diversity, flexibility and permeability are well established in many ways and can be further promoted by means of various measures:

  • Employees lacking proficiency in German language skills are supported by means of language courses. There are contact persons for academics who are new to Germany, e.g. at welcome centres.
  • Both analogue and digital infrastructure is accessible to researchers with disabilities.
  • Various career paths are available that offer equal options and are equally well regarded. Phase models or permanent position schemes offering permeability and specialisation options (e.g. in research, teaching, research management) can be helpful here.
  • Higher education institutions and non-HEI research institutions facilitate transition and offer support in critical transition phases.
  • Support is provided for moves between employers, both within the academic system and outside it.
  • Different forms of mobility – regional, international, sectoral, virtual – are appropriately considered.
  • Time off for family reasons is also taken into account and does not hinder career progression.
  • Practical experience is enabled (e.g. through internships) and valued; after all, science and academia benefit from questions and insights drawn from other sectors. Alumni contribute valuable experience.
  • International experience and the intercultural skills it promotes are developed according to subject-specific needs. This provides a broader, enriching perspective that is important for personal development.

The comment belongs to the following categories:

GL3 (General) , GL5 (General)