Responsible Research

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Keynote Lectures

Day 1 - March 25, 2021

09:15 - 10:00 Responsible global science 
Prof. em. Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, Gene Center Munich, LMU Munich

This lecture will deal with the rules for and values of research integrity in the global research enterprise. It is based on a study initiated by the Interacademy Partnerhip, an association of a number of the world’s scientific academies. Prof. Indira Nath from India and Prof. Winnacker have cochaired this committee in preparing a guide for members of the world’s scientific community as they foster proper academic behavior in their work and that of their collaborators. As of 2015 they had not only observed that there are ever more interdisciplinary and international linkages and challenges in world-wide collaborative efforts, like climate change, energy production and infectious diseases but also an increasing amount of irresponsible behavior which deserves to be addressed. The paper will present a number of index cases in which proper conduct was ignored. They will be discussed in the context of fundamental human values being applied to research in the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. Issues may arise already at the planning level of a research project, during execution of a project, its publication and its presentation to society. Prof. Winnacker will discuss examples of proper mentoring, of scientific self-regulation and of scientific self-correction. Eventually, he will conclude that trust is a fundamental characteristic not only in human behavior in general but certainly and particularly in a global scientific setting.

Professor Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker is Emeritus Professor, University of Munich, Germany. He studied chemistry at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), where he obtained his PhD in 1968. After postdoctoral work at the University of California in Berkeley and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm from 1968 to 1972, he became assistant and then DFG Visiting Professor at the Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne. In 1977 he was appointed associate professor at the Institute of Biochemistry at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, where he was made full professor in 1980. From 1984 to 1997, he was director of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the University of Munich Gene Center. He served as president of the German Research Foundation (DFG) from 1998 to 2006. From 2003 to 2004 he also chaired the European Heads of Research Councils (EUROHORCs). He served as first secretary general of the European Research Council (ERC) from 2007 to 2009. From 2009 to 2015, he was secretary general of the Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO), Strasbourg, France. Professor Winnacker’s main fields of research were virus-cell interaction, the mechanisms of gene expression in higher cells, and prion diseases.

13:05 - 13:50 The German Research Ombudsman: Supporting researchers in cases of conflict - Perspectives from the German Research Ombudsman
Prof. i.R. Dr. Renate Scheibe, German Research Ombudsman, DFG and University of Osnabrück

The German Research Ombudsman (Ombudsman für die Wissenschaft) is a committee that assists all scientists and researchers in Germany in questions of research integrity. In addition, the committee offers confidential and solution-oriented conflict mediation. Next to the national committee, also the so-called local ombudspersons give advice based on the rules of good scientific practice. The talk will give an overview of the possibilities to support researchers in typical conflict situations, focusing on researchers in early career phases.

Renate Scheibe studied pharmacy at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich and obtained her license to practice as a pharmacist in 1973. She continued her studies in Munich, and since 1975 in Bayreuth, where she completed her doctorate in 1978. During her time as a scientific assistant at the Department of Plant Physiology at the University of Bayreuth, she also received a NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship to conduct research for one year at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 1984, she received her habilitation and lecturer’s license for Botany in Bayreuth. Since 1990, she holds the Chair of Plant Physiology at the University of Osnabrück. She retired from active research as a group leader in 2019, and continues to serve with science-related tasks since then.
Renate Scheibe has been a member of the “German Research Ombudsman” Committee appointed by the German Research Foundation (DFG) since 2017, and she will serve for another 4 years as a member of this committee.

Day 2 - March 26, 2021

09:05 - 09:50 Scientific Publishing in the Life Science: The Dawn of a New Era?
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Dirnagl, Charité Berlin

The classical model of publishing scientific articles after prepublication peer review in paywalled journals is challenged by a number of recent developments. New approaches include open access and open data, preprints, post publication and open review, registered reports, and living documents, among others. Collectively this promises greater accessibility, pace, transparency, robustness and trustworthyness, sharing and reuse of data, as well as completeness of available evidence. In my talk I will review these developments and the challenges and opportunities they bring, discuss how they are driven by the current debate on research waste and non-reproducibility of results, and speculate whether and how all this will change the life sciences.

In preclinical as well as in clinical studies Ulrich Dirnagl’s research has revealed pathobiology which impact on the outcome after a stroke. These include deleterious as well as endogenous protective mechanisms, as interactions of the brain with other systems of the body after it has been injured. Several of these mechanism can be therapeutically targeted, clinical trials are under way. In addition, through meta-research he was able to identify opportunities for improving research practice and to obtain evidence for the impact of interventions targeted to increase the value of biomedical research. At the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin Ulrich Dirnagl serves as Director of the Department of Experimental Neurology.
Since 2017 he is also the founding director of the QUEST Center for Transforming Biomedical Research at the Berlin Institute of Health. QUEST aims at overcoming the roadblocks in translational medicine by increasing the value and impact of biomedical research through maximizing the quality, reproducibility, generalizability, and validity of research.

13:00 - 13:45 How to communicate science? A few basic things researchers should be aware of
Prof. Dr. Carsten Reinemann, Department of Media and Communication, LMU Munich

This talk adresses some of the key basic conditions that researchers should be aware of when communicating their science in the current high-choice hybrid media environment. Drawing on fresh data on how citizens inform themselves, communicate with each other, and how they trust in various sources of information in the COVID-19 pandemic, the talk will also address the way science-related information is processed and interpreted on the basis of pre-existing attitudes, belief systems, and trust in institutions. Finally, the talk discusses some general approaches that scientist can adopt when thinking about communicating their science outside of academia.

Carsten Reinemann (*1971) is a Professor of Communication with a focus on political communication at the Department of Media and Communication at LMU Munich. In recent years his research and teaching has focused on issues around populism, extremism, and media trust. More recently he has turned to the changes that the development of hybrid high-choice media environments bring about for freedom of speech (e. g. hate speech), the rationality of discourse, media power and science communication. He has published several monographs and editions as well as numerous articles in national and international journals. He also has been active in communicating his research to media and the public at least since being a post-doc at the University of Mainz.