Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Research | Good Academic Practice

Good academic practice (GWP)

Good academic practice (GWP) is at the core of scientific integrity and credibility. This page provides information on the guidelines and standards of good academic practice according to which researchers at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin work. The Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin pursues a resource-orientated approach: transparent information, good training and support offers for researchers are the guidelines and best guarantees for the implementation of good scientific practice. Should problems arise, the right contact points can be found here.

Research Integrity Image
Fig.: Elke Debrie WikiCommens CC BY-SA 4.0

At Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, researchers conduct their research lege artis, i.e. "according to the rules of the art". In this way, they ensure the high quality and integrity of their research results.

Statutes on good academic practice (GWP) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - research lege artis

In March 2023, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin updated its Statutes on safeguarding good academic practice [inofficial English version] and dealing with allegations of academic misconduct and the associated implementation regulations. In doing so, it is also implementing the guidelines of the German Research Foundation (DFG), which the DFG formulated in 2019. Link

Read more 🖉

In the Statutes the following aspects are described in detail:Statutes for good-scientific-practice at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

  • the standards of good academic practice,
  • good academic practice in the research process and
  • procedures in the event of suspected academic misconduct

To the Statutes of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin [German]: Link [inofficial English version: Link]o the updated implementation regulations (dec. 2023): Link [just available in German].




Continuing education programmes on good academic practice at Humboldt-Universität

University Library 🖉

Training and information services offered by the University Library

The University Library of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin sees its mission as promoting skills in the field of good academic practice at an early stage and presenting itself as a point of contact for students and academics. Over the last 15 years the range of workshops and training courses has therefore been continuously developed and expanded, from introductions to database research and workshops on literature management programmes to complete packages such as "Compact course in life sciences" and "My first term paper", in which we provide tips on correct citation and plagiarism avoidance, among other things. Courses on literature management programmes and research data management are particularly popular with higher semesters, doctoral students and postgraduates.
In the lecture series "Lost in dissertation", which the HU University Library organises annually together with colleagues from the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin and Technische Universität Berlin, doctoral students receive a compact lecture programme on topics relating to good academic practice.

To the programmes

  • Training and guidance programme of the UB: Link
  • Tutorial programme of the University Library (research, academic work, research data management: Link
  • "Lost in Dissertation": Link
Humboldt Graduate School 🖉

Offers on good academic practice for doctoral candidates

The Humboldt Graduate School offers doctoral candidates workshops and online training courses on good academic practice.

  • Information on workshops: Link to the callendar Link
  • The online training course on good academic practice comprises five modules that can be completed with a certificate. You can register for the online training course here: Link
  • Good academic practice is also a focus of the "Graduate Studies Support Programme" of the Berlin University Alliance (BUA). The BUA aims to improve conditions for doctoral candidates by offering joint further education programmes and supervision. Link
  • Further information on doctoral studies can be found on the doctoral portal. Link

Offers on good academic practice for supervisors

  • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin attaches particular importance to the supervision of researchers at early career stages. The Humboldt Graduate School (HGS) offers annual and on-demand workshops, coaching and intervision for newly appointed and interested researchers to support good supervision during the doctorate. Link
  • The supervision agreement between doctoral candidates and supervisors is an important instrument for clarifying goals and time frames as well as mutual responsibilities and tasks for the doctoral project in order to avoid disagreements later on. Guidelines and regulations on supervision as well as a sample supervision agreement can be found here: Link
Computer and Media Service 🖉

Training courses on research data management (RDM)

The RDM initiative of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin offers training courses on research data management, data publication, data management planning, legal fields of action and GitLab for doctoral candidates and researchers.

To the RDM initiative: Link
To the training courses: Link

In addition, the initiative also offers video tutorials, presentation slides and information material on research data in various disciplines and on data management plans. Link [German], link [english page]

Once a year, the RDM initiative at HU Berlin, which is based at the CMS, takes part in the international "Love Data Week" campaign. Information can be found here: Link

External sites 🖉

Economics and related disciplines - Teaching and learning resources: Link


Humboldt-Universität's support services for good academic practice

Publishing support with the publication of research results 🖉

Publishing support

In the spirit of open science, research results, data, software and publications at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin should be made accessible as early as possible and as far as legally possible (see §2 of the GWP statutes). The University Library provides support and advice on all issues relating to Open Access in the publication of research results: Link

Further support services:

  • University Publishing: The HU has co-founded the Berlin Open Access publishing house Berlin Universities Publishing (BerlinUP) in 2023. BerlinUP is a publication venue for quality-assured open access publications and offers publisher-independent advice on, among other things, the evaluation of scientific publication venues. The counselling service is available to all HU members. Link
  • Publishing: The EDOC server of the University Library can be used for the publication of research results and qualification theses. Link
  • Affiliation information: The guideline for the standardised indication of affiliation in scientific publications can be found here: Link
  • ORCID: The use of ORCID is supported and recommended by the University Library so that publications can be clearly assigned to both the authors and Humboldt-Universität (§6, para. 4 of the GWP Statutes): Link
Research data management according to FAIR principles 🖉

Finadable, Accessable, Interorperable, Re-Usable (FAIR)

When handling data, researchers at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin should be guided by the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessable, Interoperable, Re-usable) or the FAIR4RS principles (for research software) in accordance with the standards of their subject areas (see GWP Statutes §6). The research data management (RDM) initiative at Humboldt-Universität offers extensive counselling and training in this area. Link

Special offers

  • Research data policy: Link
  • Archiving and making research data accessible:
    • Sharing and archiving media data: Media Repository: Link
    • Open Access Publication Server of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (for publications, research data, doctorates, habilitations and theses): Link
    • Overview of other repositories for archiving at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: Link
  • Legal aspects for the publication of research data: Link
  • Storage of personal data (see §6 of the GWP statutes) - Data Protection Officer: Link
Support regarding research ethics 🖉

Responsible research

Increasingly, scientific journals, research sponsors, research institutions and ethics guidelines are demanding the submission of ethics opinions from ethics committees. At Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, researchers can turn to the ethics committees of their faculties.

Ethics committees of the faculties

  • Faculty of Life Sciences:
    • Biology: Link
    • Psychology: Link
    • Albrecht Daniel Thaer Institute for Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences: Link
  • Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences: Link
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences: Link
  • Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities: Link
  • Faculty of Economic and Business Administration: Link
  • Contact the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, the Faculty of Law, and the Faculty of Theology directly via the faculty administration

The ethics committees of the faculties are also the first point of contact for advice on security-related research (dual use). The "Joint Committee on Safety-Related Research" of the Lopoldina and DFG provides explanations on the area of safety-related research in its FAQs: Link

See also the following section.

External sources of information on research ethics

  • Extensive information on research ethics for researchers, ethics committees and teachers can be found on the "Best Practice Research Ethics" portal of the German Data Forum (RatSWD): Link
  • The section "Ethical, Social and Legal Aspects" (ELSA) of the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) offers further recommendations on research ethics: Link
  • Recommended literature from the project Research Ethics in Communication and Media Studies (FeKom) project: Link

Some of the professional scientific specialist societies in the various research disciplines also maintain higher-level ethics committees to which researchers can turn with their questions on research ethics assessment. 


Security relevant research (dual use) 🖉

Reflecting on the security relevance of research

Responsibility for security-relevant research is a feature of good scientific practice at the HU: According to the implementation regulations of the statutes on good scientific practice, researchers at the HU are obliged to assess risks and, in particular, to take security-relevant research into account.

What is sacurity-relevant research?

Dual use refers to research that can generate knowledge that can be misused by third parties to harm human dignity, life, health, freedom, property, the environment or peaceful coexistence (see DFG/Leopoldina)


The "Joint Committee on the Handling of Security-Relevant Research" of the Lopoldina and DFG provides explanations on the area of security-relevant research in its FAQs: Link 

Relevance for researchers

The Joint Committee of the DFG and Leopoldina on dealing with security-relevant research recommends that researchers ask themselves whether(vgl. Key questions DFG/Leopolidia)

  • it is likely that the research is security-relevant.
  • it is possible that cooperation partners may cause security-relevant risks as part of the research other legal regulations must be taken into account (e.g. export control: Link)
Contact points at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

The first point of contact for researchers at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin are the ethics committees of the faculties (see the information on this page above).

In addition, it is now also possible for researchers to contact the „Gemeinsamen Kommission für Ethik sicherheitsrelevanter Forschung (KEF)“ [Joint Commission for Ethics in Security-Related Research] of the FU, Charité and now also the HU. The HU joined this joint KEF by resolution of the university management on 11 January 2024. This means that a separate advisory body with proven expertise in this field is now also available for safety-relevant research. The HU's ethics committees remain the first internal points of contact.

The joint KEF can be called upon by members of the HU upon written request if they suspect security-relevant risks associated with their research. The KEF then gives its opinion on the extent to which it considers the implementation of the project to be ethically justifiable, possibly subject to certain conditions, for example to minimise risks. However, the ultimate responsibility remains with the scientists.

Gemeinsame Kommission für Ethik sicherheitsrelevanter Forschung of the FU, Charité and HU: Link


The joint China Competence Training Center (CCTC) of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, with Freie Universität Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin and Charité - Unviversitätsmedizin Berlin as associated partners, offers research programmes for researchers and employees. These programmes are designed to help realistically assess the opportunities and risks of cooperation and transfer projects with China.

China Competence Training Centre: Link


Recommended reading

The joint committee of the DFG and Leopoldina offers extensive information on security-relevant research, international cooperation including separate information on academic cooperation with China: Link

Academic freedom and freedom of expression in the public sphere 🖉

Academic freedom and freedom of expression in the public sphere

On March 12, 2024, the Academic Senate of Humboldt-Universität adopted a professional ethics guideline entitled "Wissenschafts- und Meinungsfreiheit im öffentlichen Raum" (Freedom of Science and Opinion in the Public Sphere). It offers academics guidance on how to deal with new challenges, e.g. in the context of addressing socially controversial topics. Link 

Services for legal issues 🖉

Support with legal issues

Humboldt-Universität offers support for legal questions:

  • Information on data protection: Link
  • For questions regarding copyright protection and intellectual property, enquiries can be directed to:
  • Information on export control: Link
  • Information on the Nagoya Protocol (research with and on genetic resources of animal and plant origin): Link



If there are any problems

Contact points for questions regarding suspected violations of good academic practice

Academic misconduct - Ombudspersons and Commission for the Review of Allegations of Scientific Misconduct (university-wide) 🖉

The ombudspersons advise the members of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin confidentially as neutral contact persons in questions of good scientific practice and in cases of suspected scientific misconduct. You can find the ombudspersons here: Link

Alternatively, employees of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin can contact the Ombuds Committee for Research Integrity in Germany at the DFG with questions and conflicts in the area of good research practice or research integrity: Link

The Commission for the Review of Allegations of Scientific Misconduct (KWF) investigates allegations against members and former members of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. As a matter of principle, it does not review research work that has been carried out as part of the degree programmes offered at HU (with the exception of doctoral programmes). The review criteria and the procedure of the commission are described in detail in the Statutes of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin on the GWP (Section 4, §9-§14). To the KWF office: Link

Ombudspersons of the faculties 🖉

Some faculties have their own ombudspersons who also provide confidential counselling:

  • Faculty of Law: Link
  • Faculty of Life Sciences: Link
  • Faculty of Arts and Humanities: Link
  • Faculty of Economics and Business Administration: Link


Neutral conflict consultation for doctoral candidates and supervisors  🖉

The Humboldt Graduate School offers counselling hours for all doctoral candidates at Humboldt-Universität. Counselling is provided by external mediators and is completely confidential. More below: Link

Supervisors can also turn to professional external counsellors in the event of conflicts with the doctoral candidates they supervise. More under: Link

Contact persons on the topic of abuse of power / discrimination 🖉

Contact points at the HU

The central Women's and Equal Opportunities Officer represents the concerns and interests of all women at the HU and, together with the decentralised Women's and Equal Opportunities Officers at the institutes and faculties, is responsible for all cases of sexualised discrimination and violence at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and provides confidential advice and support. All information will be treated confidentially, anonymously if desired. Further information on the advancement of women, contact details and a current list of all decentralised female colleagues: Link

Specific concerns:

  • The Family Office is the central coordination and contact point for the topic of family justice: Link
  • Commissioner for complaints under the Allgemeines Gleichstellungsgesetzt (AGG): All HU employees have the option of filing a formal complaint under the AGG. Further information: Link
  • Comprehensive information on anti-discrimination and diversity at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: Link

External contact point

  • Network Abuse of Power: Link
Whistleblower reporting office 🖉

HU internal reporting office established

[This information was taken from Humboldt-Info, first published on 19.01.2024]

In accordance with EU Directive 2019/1937, HU has introduced an internal reporting office to protect employees from reprisals when reporting legal violations. The Whistleblower Protection Act (Hinweisgeberschutzgesetz, HinSchG) is intended to ensure optimal protection for whistleblowers. HU employees can confidentially report information on legal violations. The reporting office aims to prevent or uncover illegal activities such as financial crime, corruption and environmental offences.

You will find more information in the intranet: Link

Problems in the area of open access 🖉

The University Library team will advise you if you have any difficulties with Open Access publications: Link

IT/data problems 🖉
  • In the event of data theft or misuse, this must be reported to the relevant supervisory authoritieswithin 72 hours: Link
  • Information can also be obtained from the data protection officer at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: Link
  • The Computer and Media Service of Humboldt-Universität (CMS) can help with (technical) problems relating to IT security and how to resolve them: Link


Recommendations on AI in research and teaching

Reccomendations of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 🖉
  • Recommendations of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin on the use of artificial intelligence in examinations: Link
  • ChatGTP & Co: recommendations for dealing with artificial intelligence. Prof. Dr. Niels Pinkwart, Vice President for Teaching and Studies of the HU, on YouTube video: Link
  • Empfehlungen zur Nutzung von künstlicher Intelligenz in Studienleistungen und Prüfungen der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (September 2023): Link
Reccomendations of German Research Foundation (DFG) and Ombudsman für die Wissenschaft 🖉

DFG Formulates Guidelines for Dealing with Generative Models for Text and Image Creation: Information for Researchers, No. 72, September 21, 2023: Statement issued by the Executive Committee / Good research practice as a guideline / Usage to be disclosed transparently / Permissible in funding proposals but not in reviews: Link

Ombudsman für die Wissenschaft: Good academic practice and artificial intelligence, bibliography: Link 

The Berlin Unviersities Publishing (BerlinUP) of the Berlin University Alliance ‘Berlin Universities Publishing’ (BerlinUP) has published a guideline on dealing with artificial intelligence (15/05/2024)


Further information on good academic practice

Read more 🖉
  • Portal on Research Integrity of the German Research Foundation: Link
  • The National Research Data Infrastructure has established various sections of interest for good scientific practice that work across disciplines and consortia. The NFDI section Ethical, Legal & Social Aspects (ELSA) is relevant for good scientific practice: Link
  • For international research projects - in addition to discipline-specific guidelines - the European Code of Conduct should be observed: All European Academies (allea) (2023): The European Code of Conduct for Research Integrity: Link
  • Curriculum for courses on GWP of the DFG's Ombudsman for Science: Link