Klaus Ferdinand Gärditz
Der Entzug von Doktorgrad oder Habilitation wegen wissenschaftlichen Fehlverhaltens
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Research misconduct can have severe repercussions on the career of a researcher. The most far-reaching consequence may be the loss of an academic graduation. This essay discusses the legal framework determining the withdrawal of a doctorate or a licence to teach (based on a Habilitation as post-doctoral degree) due to academic misconduct, like plagiarism, fraud, fabrication of data or severe violations of good scientific practicestandards. Administrative courts have established a stable und coherent doctrine guiding the legal proceedings triggered by sufficient indications of misconduct. Legal authorizations, substantive requirements, and types of relevant misconduct are analysed. In particular, the different legal requirements with regard to misconduct prior and posterior to the graduation are discussed. The essay works out that there is, in principle, a legal obligation of a university to withdraw a doctorate or a licence to teach if it is found out that the relevant thesis, on which the degree or graduation is based, relies on scientific arguments fraudulently fabricated.