Commission for the Investigation of Scientific Misconduct

Commission for the Investigation of Scientific Misconduct

Within the context of its legal mandate, compliance with the rules of good scientific practice is a prime concern to Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and all its researchers to which all members of the University must contribute. In 2002, the standards for compliance with the rules of good scientific practice were incorporated into the guidelines of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg to safeguard good scientific practice. These standards provide guidance on good scientific practice and govern how to deal with everything from suspicious cases and breaches to cases of scientific misconduct. The contact person during the first phase of the initial analysis is a university lecturer who has experience of the organisation and in conducting research – the so-called ombudsperson. He or she is the person to contact for all members of the University wishing to report a suspected case of scientific misconduct and are acting on any relevant information that they have received. After checking the facts of the suspected case, the ombudsperson passes it on to the Commission for the Investigation of Scientific Misconduct (KUVWF). The commission comprises three experienced researchers from different faculties and is nominated by the President and appointed by the Senate, as is the case with the ombudsperson.

The commission complies with the recommendations of the German Research Foundation (DFG) from 1998 (amended version in 2013), which attach great importance to good scientific practice also as regards taking care when creating publications and images, saving data, and providing adequate training to young researchers. If the commission is informed of any scientific misconduct, it carries out thorough checks in a closed two-phase procedure, firstly with a hearing of the persons involved, and secondly with external reviewers and makes recommendations to the President for how to proceed further in a final report. The case is closed if the commission cannot find any evidence of scientific misconduct.

The President decides how to proceed on the basis of the final report and whether there will be any sanctions for the person/s involved. These sanctions could have consequences in terms of public service law, employment law, civil law or criminal law, or have implications for the academic career of the person/s involved. The University may decide to inform affected third parties and the public if necessary either in the general public interest or in order to protect third parties, safeguard trust in academic integrity, reinstate its academic reputation or prevent subsequent damage.

Regulations for safeguarding good scientific practice and dealing with scientific misconduct at FAU

Statement of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg regarding the accusations of scientific misconduct against Prof. Dr. Regine Schneider-Stock

The President of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg has requested the withdrawal of four publications by tumour pathologist Prof. Dr. Regine Schneider-Stock on the basis of the report about a formal investigation of a suspicion of scientific misconduct submitted by the Commission for the Investigation of Scientific Misconduct (KUVWF). The Commission identified instances of scientific misconduct in these publications. The researcher submitted the case to the Commission herself after originally personally receiving accusations.

Ms. Schneider-Stock has withdrawn the publications affected. As a quality control measure for the future, she has now introduced specially compiled guidelines in her working group about how to handle and evaluate data correctly, which is aimed at young researchers in particular. This was welcomed by the Commission.

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