Country Report Austria

National Research Integrity Landscape

Austria has a national agency on research integrity including an international Commission for Research Integrity.

The investigation of research misconduct lies in the autonomy of the universities or research institutions, which have individually developed their instruments in recent years. The national agency with the Commission for Research Integrity complements this system. Any individual who is affected by research misconduct connected to Austria is free to submit inquiries to the local bodies or to the national agency. Furthermore, the commission supports member organizations of the association and advises them in all matters of research integrity, in particular in cases of suspected research misconduct.


In December 2008, a national (institutional) organization for research integrity, the Austrian Agency for Research Integrity (OeAWI), was voluntarily and jointly established, by 12 Austrian universities, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF), the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, and the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). The OeAWI is a non-profit association with a General Assembly, a Board, a Commission for Research Integrity, as well an Administrative Office. The OeAWI is authorized to admit other (public and private) research institutions as members. At the time of writing (April 2024), the OeAWI had 67 member organisations. It is financed by membership fees.

Assessment framework

The OeAWI is governed by its Statutes, the Commission´s Rules of Procedure, and the OeAWI Guidelines for Good Scientific Practice.

Mission(s) and tasks

The OeAWI’s main missions are to (i) raise awareness and prevent research misconduct (ii) promote research integrity e.g., through lectures and workshops, and (iii) provide an independent and objective platform for investigating cases of research misconduct. It can also give general procedural advice and guidance to (non-) member organisations.

Commission for Research Integrity


The Commission for Research Integrity (the Commission) is the only organ within the OeAWI that is authorized to investigate, to issue statements and to give recommendations in alleged cases of research misconduct. The Commission started its work in June 2009 and is independent of all other organs within the association and of (non-) member organisations.


The Commission consists of up to 8 members: seven international experts– herewith underlining the Commission´s independence of the Austrian research landscape– and one Austrian legal expert, who, in contrast to the other members, has no voting rights. The expertise of the Commission members should represent at least the following disciplines: humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and technology, life sciences, medicine, and law. They are nominated by the Austrian Science Board and appointed by the association’s general assembly for a 2-year-term with reappointment possible for up to 6 years.

Scope and remit

The scope of the Commission is nationwide. It can investigate alleged research misconduct within member and non-member, public and private research institutions in Austria as well as related to researchers/scientists in Austria without a connection to Austrian research institutions. The Commission’s remit i.e., its investigatory and opinion-making authority usually lies in the investigation of cases in first instance as the commission does not represent a court of appeal. Any natural person and any research institution as a legal entity (in- and outside Austria) can call upon the Commission. The case itself, though, must have a strong connection to an Austrian scientific institution or scientist. The Commission is not obligated to handle requests of (any person from a) non-member organisation, but it is at the Commission´s discretion to do so in cases of severe and well-founded allegations of research misconduct with a connection to Austria. The Commission may handle anonymous requests. A reporting or accused person who disagrees with the decision of the local research institution (first instance) can only ask for an investigation by the OeAWI Commission if a) no procedure regarding the alleged misconduct is pending at another institution (i.e., no parallel proceedings) AND b) if substantial evidence of violations of the investigational procedures is provided.


The Commission´s member whose area of expertise is most closely related to the case starts with a preliminary assessment of the Commission´s competence. If this member considers the commission competent, and if the other members confirm this decision, one or two investigational leaders are assigned, usually those closest to the discipline of the case. This/these leading member(s) first obtain(s) statements and/or additional documentation from the parties involved. If a sufficient assessment of the facts is not possible on basis of the material submitted, the Commission may hold a hearing with the parties involved and also may obtain independent expert opinions. Upon completion of the investigation, the leading member(s) compose(s) a draft statement, to be presented to the other members for approval. The Commission’s meetings are not public. During the Commission’s procedure and also after closure of an investigation, all parties involved are requested to uphold strict confidentiality. The commission and the OeAWI office staff´s adherence to confidentiality is secured via the signing of a Code of Code.

Definition of research misconduct

For the Commission, in concluding whether research misconduct can be ascertained, the OeAWI Guidelines for Good Scientific Practice are decisive together with, if any, the research institution-specific guidelines of good scientific practice. Under the OeAWI Guidelines for Good Scientific Practice (2015), research misconduct refers to wilful, conscious or grossly negligent violation of the Standards of Good Scientific Practice, including fabrication of data, falsification of data, plagiarism, unjustified refusal of access to data, damaging the reputation of another researcher, sabotaging research activities, providing inaccurate information in a grant proposal, retaliation against a whistleblower, and involvement in another researcher’s research misconduct. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences in opinions. Also, it does not include other misconduct within a professional environment, like mobbing, discrimination, or violations of labor law.

Opinions and appeal

The Commission cannot impose sanctions. The Commission is not bound by time limits in writing its statements. Conclusions and recommendations are provided to the parties of the investigation and to affected member institutions as necessary.

The recommendations of the Commission are non-binding. Appeals to the Commission regarding a statement are not possible.

Follow-up and monitoring

The Commission is not authorized to impose sanctions, only research institutions can do so. To gain insight on the impact of the Commission´s work, member organisations are asked to report back on the outcome of their own investigation and any sanctions imposed related to cases on which the Commission provided a statement. Hence, the monitoring of measures taken against the accused person(s) is in responsibility of the research institution in question.


The OeAWI office publishes the agency´s activities in annual Activity Reports. The Commission publishes summarized and anonymised case descriptions in its own annual report. Both reports are published on the OeAWI website in German and English.


For illustrative cases in English, see:
For further information, see:
For questions, e-mail to: Sabine Chai, Managing Director of OeAWI’s Administrative Office (


Last update: April 2024