Good Scientific Practice Course

For two days last week we participated in the Good Scientific Practice Course hosted by the UKSH and presented by Dr. med. Michael Gommel. Great discussions, self-reflective moments, tips, and information were presented during this course!   
And we highly recommend it to all future ICG colleagues.

Figure 1

We started our learning-journey with defining what ‘Good Scientific Practice’ and ‘Scientific misconduct’ is, and how these two concepts interact with real (anonymized) examples of when scientific misconduct occurred and their consequences. 

At first glance, some of the collected contributions seemed more harmless than they really were. These examples (fig. 1) have increased our awareness of misconduct in our environment and this method of learning by discussed examples was very helpful as it contextualized such complex topics.   
Figure 2

From there, we continued to learn what is ‘Data’, how best to manage it, store it, guideline for responsible data management, and how best to document it - for both experimental i.e. (electronic-) lab books and in-silico researcher settings (fig. 2).

Furthermore, we found that until then, none of the participants had received proper lab book management instructions. Since an improperly maintained lab book can have drastic consequences, the most important guidelines on the subject of lab books can be found here:

This led to the discussion of authorship, authorship positioning, and the publication process, and here too with given infamous examples of scientific misconduct such as salami-slicing; “honorary” authorships; citation cartels; and many more.

Figure 3

Finally, we ended with the support and resources available to us when we see or feel that scientific misconduct has occurred, what protection we have as a possible whistle-blower,  or even if we just wanted to know whether something is considered as misconduct. This person is called the Ombudspersons ( (fig. 3). 

It was an information-packed two days, with the researchers’ onus to be truthful towards oneself, our fellow scientific community and to society.

“The conduct of science rests on basic principles valid in all countries and in all scientific disciplines.  The first among these is honesty towards oneself and towards others.1

1Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG): Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice. Recommendations of the Commision on Proessional Self Regulation in Science (2013) 67.