Ombudspersons @ MPIA

Together with Henrik Beuther I'm the elected ombudsperson of the MPIA. An Ombudsperson is broadly defined as someone who investigates complaints and attempts to resolve conflicts between aggrieved parties, such as consumers and companies, the public and government agencies, or employees and management.

In the context of a Max Planck Institute, the Ombudsperson's role is to provide help in cases related to scientific malpractice. Anyone who is involved in a scientific conflict or who suspects scientific misconduct, may turn to the Ombudsperson for confidential advice and assistance.
The Ombudsperson, who is not answerable to anyone else (in particular not to the Institute directors), can help to identify and pursue appropriate actions.

Scientific malpractice and misconduct are difficult to define precisely, and have a broad range of severity. To help scientists both avoid and identify them, the German Science Foundation (DFG) and the Max Planck Society (MPG) have drawn up documents on scientific good practice (see below).

If you are unsure whether a situation you are involved in constitutes scientific misconduct, or if you just need advice, please don't hesitate to get in touch with either Henrik or me (, All communications will be treated with total confidence.

The following MPIA-internal website also gives links to others who can help, as well as our code of conduct: help in difficult situations.

Here is some further information (more info will follow):

A presentation (Nov 2019) on good scientific practice by former Ombudsperson Coryn Bailer-Jones.

Some links:
MPG Rules of Good Scientific Practice
DFG Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice

Christian Fendt - modified Jan 2022 - content adapted from Coryn's webpage