University of Freiburg: University of Freiburg Completes Investigation of Suspected Cases of Misconduct in Research

The Investigative Commission on Academic Integrity of the University of Freiburg has presented a status report on allegations of misconduct in research in sports medicine at the university. In the report, the Investigative Commission looked at evidence from a pre-existing probe by the “Evaluation Commission of Freiburg Sports Medicine.” Both the Evaluation Commission and its former members said they suspected a total of six Freiburg researchers of misconduct in research. The Investigative Commission’s review confirmed that one person had violated standards of academic integrity. The university administration has duly forwarded the status report to the University of Freiburg’s Faculty of Medicine’s Postdoctoral Research Committee for further examination.

The University of Freiburg’s “Evaluation Commission of Freiburg Sports Medicine” was set up in 2007. Just before its self-dissolution in 2016, it raised accusations of self-plagiarism, data selection, and falsification of data against four sports medicine specialists at the University of Freiburg. One person in this group of four had already died. Former commission members Prof. Dr. Perikles Simon and Prof. Dr. Hans Hoppeler delivered a supplementary report to the University of Freiburg in 2017. In the document, they say that they suspected two additional sports medicine specialists at the University of Freiburg – one of which had already died – of committing plagiarism, data selection, and falsification of data. The university handed over the reports to the “Investigative Commission on Academic Integrity,” which investigates evidence of misconduct in research. The Investigative Commission arrived at the following results:

The Commission abrogated the examination of allegations against the two accused who had died because the hearings required by the rule of law could no longer take place;


The Commission was unable to find that three of the accused committed any misconduct in research; and,


one of the accused was determined to have committed minor misconduct in research. The Investigative Commission said this came in the form of appropriating at least one illustration from the dissertation of a doctoral candidate – of whom the accused was an advisor – without naming the advisee as its source. It also found the accused, in their postdoctoral thesis, appropriated without sourcing particular ideas and formulations from the dissertation of another advisee. These appropriated concepts refer to three pages of the postdoctoral thesis.


The university administration has duly commissioned the Faculty of Medicine’s Postdoctoral Research Committee to investigate the additional case. Based on the outcome of the probe, the university administration may decide on sanctions and will report them to the public. As a result, the University of Freiburg has examined all the allegations of individual misconduct in research that were presented by the “Evaluation Commission of Freiburg Sports Medicine.”

Comments are closed.