Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is good scientific practice?

Good scientific practice: What does that mean?

The principles of good scientific practice require every academic to work “lege artis” (in other words according to the rules of the art). Specifically, that includes

  • documenting findings,
  • critically questioning all findings,
  • strict honesty about contributions by partners,
  • acknowledging competitors and predecessors,
  • avoiding and preventing academic misconduct.

What categories of scientific misconduct are there?

Scientific misconduct exists if someone intentionally or through gross negligence

  • invents or falsifies data or sources, or participates in their invention or falsification,
  • violates intellectual property rights (e.g. through plagiarism or theft of ideas),
  • disrupts another person’s research activities,
  • falsely accuses third parties of academic misconduct,
  • is aware of falsifications and does not take any counter-measures,
  • contributes as an author to publications accused of falsification, • grossly neglects his/her supervisory obligations.

What should I do if I notice scientific misconduct?

Contact the ombudsperson for good scientific practice at TUM, which will treat your information as confidential. The ombudsperson is responsible for accepting and reviewing complaints, resolving them in a mutually agreeable way wherever possible, introducing further measures if needed, and involving the TUM Legal Department. For more information, please visit the ombudsperson website or contact them directly.

Proper handling of data

How long do I need to save primary data?

Primary data and (if possible) samples that form the basis for publications must be saved for ten years. They must be saved in the institution where the data was created.

Where can I save primary data?

You can use the TUM media server (mediaTUM) to save primary data. mediaTUM offers long-term archiving, flexible metadata schemata, and a rights management system that lets you release your data within the department, campus-wide, or on the internet. Data is stored on the servers in the Leibniz Supercomputing Center.

What do I need to pay attention to when collecting data?

Data collection must be traceable. Specifically, that includes, for example,

  • keeping a lab book or a project journal,
  • documenting the data storage.


Who can or should I name as the author of an academic publication?

You must name any author who

  • significantly contributed to the content of the publication (posing the question, research plan, performing research work, analyzing and interpreting results) and
  • who participated in the design or critical content revision of the manuscript.

Technical assistance, financial support or general management of the department or institution where the research was performed do not constitute authorship. All authors must agree to the publication, and share responsibility for the entire publication.

What else should I know about academic publications?

  • It is not permissible to publish research findings in more than one place or to split them up in order to increase the number of publications.
  • Research findings must be verifiable (documentation, description of methods, long-term archiving of primary data).
  • Information may not be suppressed even if it calls the author’s hypothesis into question.
  • Content taken from other works must be indicated with a citation.
  • If possible, publish in peer reviewed journals. You can use bibliometric indicators to decide which journal is suitable for your planned publication. The University Library offers training and advice on bibliometry and visibility of research online. You can find the training program, additional information and registration forms on the TUM Library Website.
  • The TUM Language Center offers support for writing publications in English (“English Coaching” and “Interactive Editing”).

Does TUM support open access (OA)?

TUM approved an open access policy in January of 2014 and is committed to the goal of ensuring open access to academic literature on the internet.

  • All TUM scholars are encouraged to publish their academic papers in accepted open access journals.
  • Copies of any papers previously published in fee-based publications must be made available to the public on the TUM media server as long as there are no legal restrictions preventing this.
  • Publication fees associated with open access publications may be covered by TUM in certain circumstances. The request form and additional information can be found on the University Library’s open access pages.

Do I need to register my publications in a university bibliography at TUM?

All publications by TUM scholars, as per a decision by the University Board of Management, must be registered in TUM’s electronic university bibliography on the mediaTUM media server. Additional information can be found on the University Library pages.

Whom can I contact if there are patent-law questions about publications or research partnerships?

TUM offers patent and inventor consulting. If you plan to register an industrial property right for an idea, a project in the development phase, or a finished product, you can ask for advice. The Inventor Guidelines on the TUM intranet (only in German) and the TUM ForTe pages contain additional information. Contact partners are listed on the TUM Patent and Licensing Office page.

Who can advise me if I want to set up an industry partnership or apply for third-party funding?

TUM ForTe – Office for Research and Innovation – offers support for questions about research funding and technology transfer. If you are preparing research or business partnerships or third-party funding projects, you can ask this office for advice.

Correct citation style, avoiding plagiarism

Source references acknowledge the work of other authors, point out previous work, and document facts. Source references are an essential part of providing seamless documentation for academic arguments. They clearly show where a publication is making its own academic contribution beyond the cited materials.

Anything used word for word or based on the content of outside sources must be cited. Material taken from unpublished ideas and previous work must also be credited to the respective author. The use of another person’s academic findings without citing the source is punishable.

You can find a summary and more information about citations in the TUM Citation Guide.

What questions are answered in the University Library Citation Guide?

  • What needs to be cited
  • What does not need to be cited
  • How to cite (directly, indirectly)
  • How to cite different document types, including images, standards, and student papers
  • What plagiarism is and how to avoid it
  • What particularly needs to be noted for academic publications
  • How to handle retracted work
  • How to control the use of your own work with a Creative Commons license
  • How literature administration programs can help with citations
  • For which literature administration programs TU Munich holds a campus license
  • What training courses, e-learning materials and consulting offerings are available at TU Munich for citations and literature administration programs
  • Which citation styles are recommended: author-year style (APA), numbering style (IEEE Editorial], footnote style [Chicago].

The TUM citation guide can be found here.

What do I need to pay attention to when applying standards?

The University Library at TUM is a repository for DIN standards. TUM employees have full access to the electronic version of all DIN standards from their workstations; other people can review the standards in the University Library.

  • Terms and conditions for using standards in your research and teaching can be found on the University Library website.
  • Standards may be cited in academic work (formal requirements for correct source citations can be found in the University Library Citation Guide).
  • Academic publications that cite standards are legally permissible as long as they take place as part of a testing process (for instance when publishing a dissertation as part of a doctoral program).
  • Publications that cite standards and are not part of a testing process (e.g. textbooks, trade journals or commercial publications) may need to obtain permission from Beuth Verlag (more information can be found in the University Library Citation Guide). 

How do I cite student papers?

If you want to use content from student papers in your academic publication, you must cite them.

  • A published seminar paper or examination paper may be cited (for publication options, see the University Library citation guidelines). TUM recommends publishing senior theses if significant scholarly findings were achieved.
  • When citing unpublished seminar papers, you must obtain permission from the author and the advisor, and document this in your project.

What are my options for literature researches?

The database information system (DBIS) on the University Library web pages gives students and academics at TUM access to a large number of databases.

Supervising students and doctoral candidates

I employ academic staff and student assistants. What do I need to know about the selection process, contract design and support?

When selecting, hiring and supporting employees, you should follow the guidelines in the TUM Diversity Code of Conduct. In the Code of Conduct, TUM agrees to promote and support diversity and variety at TUM. TUM works actively to help balancing family and career, and to ensure handicap accessibility and equal opportunities. 

Rules for "Fair Play am Arbeitsplatz" (“fair play in the workplace”) have been established in a service agreement. The corresponding brochure can be found on the TUM intranet. Here, TUM explicitly distances itself from discrimination, sexual harassment, stalking and bullying, and gives recommendations for dealing with such incidents. So far, the booklet is only available in German.

In the event of concrete concerns, the Occupational Psychology Service at TU Munich is available to provide advice and help. Undergraduates can contact the Advisory Network for the Munich Student Union, which combines many different advising services.

I want to help my students plan their thesis projects effectively, use correct citations, and avoid plagiarism. Are there any courses at TUM that I can recommend?

The teaching principles to which TUM is committed can be found in the Mission Statement: Excellence in Teaching and Learning at TUM.

Undergraduates students whose exam papers you are supervising will need regular advice and support from you. There are also several institutions at TUM that offer training and support for undergraduates and doctoral candidates.

I teach courses and am looking for pedagogy support. What services does TUM offer in this area?

TUM’s central institute ProLehre offers a diverse further education program in university didactics (in German only) for all of its instructors, along with one-on-one advising and concrete support, for instance

  • general further education and support services for professors,
  • targeted support for newly appointed professors through the New@TUM program,
  • training for tutors.