Scientific Integrity at the University of Cologne
Scientific integrity is seen as a crucial prerequisite for excellent research at the University of Cologne. It refers to a necessary ethical attitude and overarching culture of honesty, whose anchoring in scientific everyday life is a central concern of the university.
To promote this, a university-wide Research Code of Conduct formulates principles for research projects at the University of Cologne. It describes the guiding values of research, defines the responsibility that researchers carry in their scientific work and provides guidance in dealing with research collaborations.
For the implementation of these principles, the University of Cologne can rely on a number of bodies to safeguard scientific integrity.
- The Committee on Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice (GSP, since 2008) helps formulating and developing best practice standards and is responsible for clarifying circumstances of suspected cases of scientific misconduct. It prepares recommendations for the Rectorate of the UoC.
- The Commission for Advice on Security-relevant Research with Substantial Hazard Potential (RSH, since 2017) advises members of the university regarding challenges of “dual use” potential research.
- The Ethics Commission of the Faculty of Medicine of Cologne University is an autonomous institution not subject to any directives. Its task is to evaluate all clinical studies conducted at the University, or supervised from here, under the aspects of research ethics and law, and to advise physicians and other scientists in legal matters concerning the medical profession and in questions of professional ethics. Since 2017, each faculty can also set up its own ethics committee. Many research projects involving humans now require ethical approval, even if the projects are outside the narrower medical field. The Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences as well as the Faculty of Human Sciences have already set up their own ethics committee.
- The State Agency for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection of North Rhine-Westphalia (LANUV) examines and approves research projects on animals. This work is supported by the two animal protection officers of the University of Cologne.