The Office of Ombudspersons offers advice and support to scholars at Leipzig University in matters concerning good academic practice – and how academic dishonesty can undermine this.

Assessment Procedure at Leipzig University

  • ​​​​​​Leipzig University investigates every case of suspected academic misconduct, regardless of the standing of the individual in question.
  • The ombudspersons, the members of the Standing Committee and the Office of Ombudspersons staff are obliged to maintain confidentiality. They work independentlyimpartially and are not bound by instructions.
  • Without the assurance of absolute confidentiality, assessment procedures are not possible. This is because in cases of conflict, mediation only has a chance of finding an amicable and fair solution if confidentiality is upheld. The guarantee of confidentiality serves to protect all persons involved in a procedure and also applies beyond the conclusion of a case. To ensure this protection, all participants are required to observe confidentiality from the onset. The ombudspersons, members of the Standing Committee and the Office of Ombudspersons staff are also obliged to maintain confidentiality. Leipzig University’s statutes on safeguarding good academic practice regulate the special protection of all persons involved in procedures assessing academic misconduct with regard to their personal and academic integrity. If this confidentiality is breached, it will be considered a violation of the rules of good academic practice.
  • Opening a procedure is voluntary. An assessment procedure, that is, an investigation into suspected academic misconduct you report, will in principle only take place if you have given your consent. Following a personal risk assessment, as the complainant you may decide against further investigation, even if your suspicion of academic misconduct is well founded.
  • Another important principle in the handling of conflict cases is fairness. This means that consent is first requested to obtain a statement from the other party before an assessment of the case is made.

Assessment procedures at Leipzig University are regulated by the Statutes on Safeguarding Good Academic Practice. If you have questions about good academic practice or information about suspected academic misconduct, you can contact the ombudspersons or the Office of Ombudspersons staff for a confidential consultation. The procedure begins when you contact the Office of Ombudspersons and then continues through several stages:


  • 1. Initial contact
    If you suspect academic misconduct, contact the Office of Ombudspersons. The Office accepts reports of suspected academic misconduct in confidence, and in an initial meeting assesses whether or not academic misconduct is involved. At this meeting, the procedural steps that can be taken will also be explained. Contact will only be made with a relevant ombudsperson or other University advisory service if you give your consent.  You are also free to contact one of the ombudspersons directly about a suspected case of academic misconduct. In addition, you can report suspected cases of academic misconduct anonymously to the Office.
  • 2. Ombudspersons
    Based on the Rector’s proposal, the Senate appoints ombudspersons who are experienced academics with national and international contacts. The Senate appoints the ombudspersons, who represent a wide range of faculties, for a term of five years. The ombudspersons confidentially advise individuals who report a suspicion or are involved in academic misconduct through no fault of their own and assess the plausibility of suspected cases that are brought to their attention (preliminary inquiry). Their goal is to mediate between the parties in conflict and resolve disputes to the extent possible in accordance with the rules of good academic practice.
  • 3. Indications of suspected scientific misconduct
    An assessment procedure (i.e. the investigation into suspected academic misconduct) is initiated when an individual (the complainant) reports a specific case of suspected misconduct. This should be submitted in written form and include the incriminating facts and evidence and be sent either to the Office of Ombudspersons or to the ombudsperson.
  • 4. Preliminary inquiry
    The ombudsperson responsible for the case – with the consent of the complainant – examines the allegations for correctness and significance from the point of view of plausibility. As part of this process, the ombudsperson listens to both the cases presented by the complainant and respondent. In this context, the ombudsperson examines whether the allegations can be dispelled and/or whether an amicable agreement can be reached between the parties. If the ombudsperson succeeds in doing so, they terminate the preliminary inquiry and inform the respondent and complainant. If the ombudsperson responsible for the case cannot dispel the allegation, they forward the decision and the relevant documents, including the report of suspected misconduct, to the Standing Committee. If complainants disagree with the responsible ombudsperson’s decision in the preliminary inquiry, they may refer the case to the Standing Committee.
  • 5. Standing Committee
    The Standing Committee investigates allegations of academic misconduct. To this end, it decides whether to terminate or continue the preliminary inquiry and carries out the formal investigation. It may terminate a formal investigation or make proposals regarding how to sanction any misconduct that was found to have occurred. The Standing Committee also recommends structural changes that need to be made to avoid repeated instances of academic misconduct. The Standing Committee consists of the following voting members:
    • Vice-rector for research and early career academics (ex officio)
    • DFG liaison officer (ex officio)
    • Three professors, one of whom must be a qualified lawyer (Volljurist)
    • One academic staff member
    • One student
    • One doctoral researcher
  • 6. Formal investigation
    The Standing Committee initiates the formal investigation by notifying the respondents of the result of the preliminary inquiry. The Standing Committee investigates both the incriminating and exonerating circumstances. It may request that the respondent and complainant provide additional information. Applying the principle of free evaluation of evidence, it examines whether academic misconduct has occurred. If the Standing Committee does not consider academic misconduct to be proven or does not consider it to be egregious, it terminates the investigation. If the Standing Committee considers academic misconduct to be proven, it provides the Rector written notification of the findings and proposes how the investigation should be continued.
  • Professor Daniel Huster
    Faculty of Medicine
  • Professor Berthold Kersting
    Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy
  • Professor Holger Kohlmann
    Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy
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  • Professor Jowita Kramer
    Faculty of History, Art and Area Studies
  • Professor Johannes Lemke
    Faculty of Medicine
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  • Professor Katrin Liebers
    Faculty of Education
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  • Junior Professor Mira Schedensack
    Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science
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  • Professor Jürgen Vollmer
    Faculty of Physics and Earth Sciences
  • Professor Ansgar Zerfaß
    Faculty of Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy
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If you would like advice on good scientific practice and/or have specific indications of suspected scientific misconduct, you can either contact the office or an ombudsperson directly. Specific indications of suspected scientific misconduct can also be reported anonymously to the office.

Good academic practice

Archiving research data

The University Computing Centre provides an institutional solution for archiving research data. Its Research Data Archive service directly supports researchers in their efforts to conduct good research by providing them the option to archive their research long term in Saxony’s Open Access Repository and Archive (OpARA). Research data can be published, archived and reused on OpARA.

Research data management

Appropriate handling of research data is an important mark of quality in academic work. The rules governing good academic practice and the guidelines issued by funding organisations require a systematic and sustainable handling of research data.

The four FAIR Data Principles can serve as a guideline:

  • Findable
  • Accessible
  • Interoperable
  • Reusable

The Research Data Team offers individual consultations as well as information sessions and workshops on the topic.

Open Science Office

The Open Science Office at Leipzig University Library provides research support services for researchers at the University. These services include the following: 

Early career researchers in the supervisory relationship

The rights of early career researchers in the supervisory relationship have been strengthened in the current statutes on safeguarding good academic practice. Early career researchers are entitled to regular supervision, advice and support. In this context, the statutes specify the management responsibility. Scientists in a leadership and/or supervisory function are responsible for ensuring that a group as a whole can fulfill its tasks, that the necessary cooperation and coordination take place, and that all members are aware of their roles, rights and duties. In addition to regular exchange, this also includes a relationship of support and personal responsibility that is appropriate to the career level.

In the context of cross-phase quality assurance, the bylaws stipulate the prevention of abuse of power and the exploitation of dependency relationships both at the level of the individual scientific work unit and at the level of the management.

Supervision agreement

For the binding definition of the individual framework conditions as well as the rights and obligations of supervisors and doctoral researchers, a supervision agreement is to be concluded. The statutes stipulate that the doctoral regulations contain a passage that obligates all parties involved to comply with this agreement. Supervision agreements are independent contracts between doctoral researchers and supervisors. They go beyond a mere relationship of courtesy and establish contractual obligations for both parties in connection with the doctorate.

The Graduate Academy Leipzig provides a template for a supervision agreement. This is based on the DFG's recommendations for drawing up supervision agreements.


Other points of contact

In addition to the Office of Ombudspersons, there are other points of contact at Leipzig University where you can get advice on research ethics issues and information on topics such as discrimination, sexual harassment and conflict management. You can also reach out to other external points of contact in Germany.

Ethics Advisory Board

Please address questions regarding the ethical aspects of your research projects to the Ethics Advisory Board. The Ethics Advisory Board will examine and, if necessary, issue an opinion on ethical aspects of planned research projects involving human beings.

Ethics Committee at the Faculty of Medicine

The Ethics Committee at the Faculty of Medicine ensures that the ethical and legal standards are observed and that the academic integrity of research projects on and with human beings is maintained.

Equal Opportunities Office

The Equal Opportunities Office offers consultations on topics such as the advancement of women, family-friendliness, discrimination, sexual harassment and homophobia. It actively promotes equal opportunities for men and women at Leipzig University. In addition, the Equal Opportunities Offices focuses on developing family-friendly structures at Leipzig University.

University Staff Council

The Staff Council ensures that the University complies with the legal provisions that are important for employees. First and foremost, these include collective bargaining agreements, but also service agreements and laws. In accordance with Sect. 5(1) of the Service Agreement on Conflict Resolution in the Workplace, a contact person has been appointed for the area of conflict resolution and bullying.


German Research Ombudsman

In addition to our university’s own ombudspersons, the DFG has appointed a national German Research Ombudsman. Independently of any connection to the DFG, it offers direct advice and support to scholars in matters concerning good academic practice and how this can be undermined by academic dishonesty. It is not possible to appeal to both ombudsman bodies in parallel.

DFG Liaison Officers

Each higher education institution that is a member of the DFG appoints a professor to act as a DFG liaison officer.  The liaison officer serves as an on-site point of contact for researchers who are considering applying to the DFG for funding.


In doctoral and postdoctoral research, conflicts can arise between doctoral researchers, postdocs, supervisors and other parties for a variety of reasons.

Possible causes of conflict include interpersonal differences, excessive demands on a person’s time or violations of the supervision agreement. Cases of abuse of power, insults and humiliation can also occur – in varying degrees of severity – during the academic career development phase. If you are unable to resolve a conflict yourself, there is the option of contacting the University’s conciliators in confidence. They are available as a neutral point of contact for doctoral researchers, postdocs and (supervising) professors.


Mission Statement

“The objective of our network is to raise awareness about abuses of power in academia and to provide independent advice to individuals who are experiencing problems of this kind. In addition, our network offers assistance to ombudspersons dealing with cases of power abuse, as well as to academic institutions seeking to take preventive measures.”

You could previously send reports of research misconduct and other acts of corruption or conflicts of interest related to DFG-funded research/activities to the DFG Head Office via email, telephone, fax or postal main. In addition to these channels, you can now also use the DFG’s electronic reporting system – a web-based platform that can be accessed via internet browsers on all computers, tablets and smartphones.

Further information

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