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Tuesday, September 25, 2018


81 Annual Meeting of the VHB

June 12 - 14 2019

Rostock, Germany

Mission and self-conception of the workgroup Scientific Work Ethics

The German Academic Association for Business Research (VHB) advocates a correct and ethically sound scientific mode of practice on the part of its members and essentially all scientists in the field of business research, and especially calls for citation conduct in accordance with the rules of correct scientific practice.


Unfortunately, there are occasionally violations of these benchmarks endorsed by the association. Consequently, the association established a task force called “Scientific Work Ethics” in 1996, which deals specifically with such matters on a case-by-case basis.


The task force’s concrete mission is currently as follows:


“In accordance with § 2, Paragraph 1 of the Statute, the purpose of the German Academic Association for Business Research e. V. is to promote business research and teaching. The association thus obligates its members to follow the rules on research and teaching in business studies. The rules especially call for the protection of copyrighted property and demand proper citation and the disclosure of conflicts of interest in scientific statements. The association cannot tolerate any infringements in this respect. While the association is neither able to verify the behaviour of its approximately 2,000 members nor accept responsibility for this, it has to intervene when it discovers that members have violated the interests or reputation of the association. In the event of gross violations, this can ultimately lead to the exclusion of the member in accordance with § 6 Paragraph 6 c) of the association statute.     


For the reputation of the association in the scientific community, it is vital for it to respond to serious violations of the rules of scientific practice. Failure to do so implicitly signals that the violation is trivial. In this respect, the VHB must not demand less of its members than its members do of their doctoral and post-doctoral students. According to the rules of the universities, the scientific degree obtained shall be revoked if there is evidence of plagiarism.” 


The workgroup scientific Work Ethics takes action if scientific misconduct on the part of one of the VHB’s members is reported or otherwise comes to light. Its duty is not to represent the association on all issues relating to ethics, but rather express a recommendation in concrete problem cases where the task force has been approached by the Board and, if necessary, formulate a statement to be publicised on the internet should the Board so decide (see  


The association and its members feel an obligation to uphold the rules and recommendations of the German Research Foundation (DFG): 


Recommendations of the commission “Self-Control in Science” – Proposals of the German Research Foundation for Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice.


Other helpful sources include:


Allianz der Wissenschaften, symposium on the topic “Good Scientific Practice” on 29 November 2011.


Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, Code of Conduct for Endowed Professorships.


Otherwise, the topic of ethics has been very important to the VHB for many years and thus has especially been adapted and developed further at various VHB events since the 1990s, including in general terms (e.g. in the scientific commission “Scientific Theory and Ethics in Economics”, VHB workshops, panel discussions at the VHB annual conference and many more). 


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