Comment on:

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

Guideline 13

Providing public access to research results

As a rule, researchers make all results available as part of scientific/academic discourse. In specific cases, however, there may be reasons not to make results publicly available (in the narrower sense of publication, but also in a broader sense through other communication channels); this decision must not depend on third parties. Researchers decide autonomously – with due regard for the conventions of the relevant subject area – whether, how and where to disseminate their results. If it has been decided to make results available in the public domain, researchers describe them clearly and in full. Where possible and reasonable, this includes making the research data, materials and information on which the results are based, as well as the methods and software used, available and fully explaining the work processes. Software programmed by researchers themselves is made publicly available along with the source code. Researchers provide full and correct information about their own preliminary work and that of others.


In the interest of transparency and to enable research to be referred to and reused by others, whenever possible researchers make the research data and principal materials on which a publication is based available in recognised archives and repositories in accordance with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). Restrictions may apply to public availability in the case of patent applications. If self-developed research software is to be made available to third parties, an appropriate licence is provided.

In line with the principle of “quality over quantity”, researchers avoid splitting research into inappropriately small publications. They limit the repetition of content from publications of which they were (co-)authors to that which is necessary to enable the reader to understand the context. They cite results previously made publicly available unless, in exceptional cases, this is deemed unnecessary by the general conventions of the discipline.

Limiting the number of self-citations to a minimum and ensuring their correctness

When bringing out publications, researchers are required to minimise the repetition of content drawn from other publications in which they are or were involved as authors or co-authors. Such repetitions are to be limited to what is strictly necessary in order to understand the context. Statistical records of the frequency with which certain publications or researchers are cited only remain effective for comparing performance if citations are made sparingly. Refraining from making unnecessarily frequent citations avoids distortion of competition. Authentic statistical data can only be collected if indicators are not artificially inflated.

Nonetheless, researchers are required to provide a proper citation of another publication of which they themselves are the author or co-author wherever the reference is indispensable for the purpose of gaining an overall understanding. An exception to this principle only applies where a citation may be waived based on common practice within the specific discipline.

The comment belongs to the following categories:

GL13 (General)