Good Scientific Practice for Qualification Reports and Theses in Physics

By . Published on 27 September 2016 in:
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German Physics Departments publish recommendations

Scientific misconduct has gained great public interest in Germany. Two federal ministers had to step down because of plagiarism in their doctoral theses. In reaction to such cases, several organisations have developed recommendations and rules for good scientific practice. However, these recommendations are mostly quite general and often apply better for humanities than for the scientific disciplines.

Obviously, physics citations from other sources must also be tagged correctly. But the crucial issues in qualification reports and theses in physics are different, e.g.: How to deal with results that emerge from teamwork and (international) cooperation? How to document experimental data or software developed during a project? What is the role of the supervisor? All these issues have to be specifically addressed in physics.

Therefore, the Conference of German Physics Departments (KFP) has published Recommendations for Good Scientific Practice for Qualification Reports and Theses in Physics in order to give an orientation to all those writing or supervising a report in physics.

“The discussion within KFP was intriguing and fruitful”, says Gert-Ludwig Ingold, president of KFP and board-member of the German Physical Society (DPG). “In some cases, we had different opinions and we also have different usages. The exchange helped to describe the current status of good practice and to define a set of common standards. Yet, our recommendations are to be seen as a contribution to an ongoing discussion on ethical standards in science. We plan to update them as needed and to develop them further.”

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