Safeguarding Ethical Standards in Science and Research
The Ombudsman has been consulted more and more frequently about suspected violations of ethical principles. Such violations may be based on specific incidents, but they often relate to more general problems in academia, such as falsified records leading to academic degrees, academic careers and awards; sophisticated data manipulation methods; the consequences of plagiarism for libraries; or shortcomings in review systems. In such cases, anonymous inquiries may be submitted to the Ombudsman, who will discuss these issues and their relationship to more general standards in science and research.
These problems are not limited to the scientific community in Germany; they can also be observed internationally. The German Research Ombudsman works in close cooperation with its counterparts in other countries to compare ethical standards, to share experience and to account for cultural differences in the handling of ethics cases.