The Ombudsperson at FLI

Since December 1, 2017, Dr. Matthias Görlach has been appointed as acting FLI ombudsperson. His mandate is to advise and councel scientists and scholars in matters of good scientific practice and their potential impairment through scientific dishonesty. The ombudsperson is in charge of being available as a confidential advisor in cases where there is suspicion of a violation of the principles of good scientific practice.

Duties

As an impartial and qualified mediator, the ombudsperson should advise the scientists on questions of good scientific practice. In case of a potential violation of GSP rules or allegations of scientific misconduct, the ombudsperson discusses confidentially the issues with all parties involved. and pass them on to the responsible authorities of the institution, if appropriate. The aim is to solve conflicts by mediation whenever possible – yet always in compliance to GSP rules.

Everything, which is brought to the attention of the ombudsperson, is dealt with strict confidentiality. This confidentiality is meant to protect the informant and all involved persons and is valid even after having closed the case. Other persons, institutions or boards are informed only upon agreement in accordance with the client(s) or if the case necessitates a formal process of clarification according to the procedures set forth in the “Rules of Good Scientific Practice at FLI”.

Basics

The work of the ombudsman is based upon the regulations and recommendations of the FLI, the Leibniz Association and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, respectively:

  • FLI Rules of Good Scientific Practice at FLI [pdf]
  • Recommendations made by the Leibniz Association for safeguarding good scientific practice and handling complaints concerning scientific misconduct [pdf]
  • DFG-Memorandum Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice [pdf]

In addition to local ombudspersons, the DFG has installed a German Research Ombudsman in order to advise and mediate between parties in matters related to research integrity. Everybody is free to either contact his/her own institutional ombudsperson or the German Research Ombudsman of DFG.

The Leibniz Association has a Central Ombudsperson, who investigates allegations against current and former members of Leibniz Institutes and, if necessary, initiates the installment of an investigation committee.