Research Integrity & Research Ethics

The FWF is expanding its policy on Research Integrity & Research Ethics

In the applications to the FWF, all potential ethical, safety-related or regulatory aspects of the planned research project and the planned handling of them must be described in a separate paragraph. In particular, the benefits and the burden of the experiments as well as the effects they have on the objects under investigation are to be explained. If no ethical aspects need to be taken into account, this must also be stated briefly. In addition, the guidelines of the Austrian Agency for Scientific Integrity (OeAWI) on good scientific practice must be observed when submitting applications and carrying out projects.

In the coming years the FWF will continuously expand its policy on Research Integrity & Research Ethics. As a further step in this direction the procedures for suspected cases of scientific misconduct have now been extended and specified. On the one hand, the procedures serve to punish actual misconduct according to clear rules, but on the other hand they are also intended to protect researchers from unjustified accusations.

FWF procedure in cases of suspected scientific misconduct (pdf, 123KB)

Furthermore, statistics on suspected cases are published in anonymous form and updated annually. From 1 Jan. 2008 to 30 Apr. 2018 there were a total of 30 suspected cases in connection with persons who submitted research proposals to the FWF or were involved in them. No misconduct was found in ten cases. Two cases are pending. In 18 cases, scientific misconduct was identified and sanctions were decided on, depending on the extent of the misconduct. These range from reminder letters, requests for corrections, suspension of applications to the FWF to project cancellations and repayment of funds.

As unpleasant as each individual case of scientific misconduct is, it must be emphasised that the vast majority of researchers are guided by high ethical standards in research. The 18 cases sanctioned should be set against the more than 8,500 persons who applied to the FWF in the period 2008 to 2018.

Statistics on suspected cases of scientific misconduct 2008–2018 (pdf, 14.11KB)

In addition to the measures mentioned above, the FWF is also involved in other initiatives in the area of research integrity & research ethics. For example, the FWF supports a joint commitment to responsible animal testing in research and education initiated by numerous Austrian research institutions, which you can download online here (pdf, 100KB).