Austrian Agency for Research Integrity

Founding year



The Austrian Agency for Research Integrity was initiated in 2008 by 12 Austrian universities as well as 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) as a registered non-profit association. At the time of writing (April 2024), it had a total of 67 member institutions, in particular all Austrian public universities, private universities, universities of applied sciences as well as non-university research and funding institutions. The agency is financed by membership fees which are determined by the institution’s size.

ENRIO member since



Association, voluntary based

Main Tasks

The OeAWI supports research integrity through prevention and training activities as well as through investigation of alleged cases of research misconduct. Prevention activities include collaboration with national and international partners to raise awareness and foster institutional environments conducive to good scientific practices. The OeAWI also publishes guidelines on good scientific practices and how to prevent, detect and process research misconduct, and offers advising on all related topics to member institutions and researchers. The agency, furthermore, organizes events and conducts trainings related to research integrity and serves as an information hub on the topic.

The agency is responsible for investigating alleged cases of research misconduct in Austria in a professional manner, evaluating the severity of each violation and proposing consequential measures. Investigations are conducted by the Commission for Research Integrity, an independent body consisting of distinguished non-Austrian scholars as well as one Austrian legal scholar.


The Commission for Research Integrity has neither an arbitrary nor an adjudicative function but offers independent and objective investigations of (alleged) cases of research misconduct. Any individual as well as any research institution in Austria can submit requests to the Commission for Research Integrity. In case of submissions from non-members, the commission is free to decide whether an allegation is to be pursued.

The Commission for Research Integrity consists of up to eight members who are renowned scientists in different fields of expertise. They are nominated by the Austrian Science Board and appointed by the association’s general assembly. Apart from one Austrian legal scholar, the Commission’s members are from outside Austria in order to guarantee independence from the Austrian science system.

The Commission offers a neutral and objective forum to investigate cases of (alleged) research misconduct. Its work is based on the OeAWI Guidelines for Good Scientific Practice as well as the Commission´s Rules of Procedure. One of the Commission’s most important principles is confidentiality in order to protect both the whistleblowers’ and the accused persons’ identities.


A whistleblower (individual or representative of a member institution) turns to the Commission with an allegation as well as documentation to support it. Consequently, the Commission verifies whether the enquiry lies in its field of competence, both in regard to locality (connection to Austria) and content (research misconduct). The Commission rejects the investigation of allegations related to study regulations or other legal issues and may reject cases which date back more than ten years. If the enquiry is submitted by an institution which is not a member of the Agency for Research Integrity or an individual not connected to one, the Commission may reject it.

If the submission falls within the competence of the Commission, an investigation is initiated. The Commission concludes its work by issuing a so called “statement” which is addressed to the parties of the investigation and – if the institution concerned is a member institution – the institution. The Commission has no legal competence. Hence, its final statement is a recommendation. It is up to the institution concerned to take measures and impose sanctions.

The normative power of the commission’s work results from its independent and objective investigation of cases, which makes the commission an important pillar supporting research integrity in Austria.

Chart Workflow of Investigation Austrian Agency for Research Integrity



The agency offers training related to research integrity in two ways. First, a Train-the-Trainer course is held regularly to enable those responsible for research integrity at their institution in various roles to provide training in good research practices and the prevention of questionable research practices and misconduct. This 2-day course is held alternately in German and English. In addition, the agency offers lectures and workshops on current topics upon request.

Promoting Research Integrity

Working group Plagarism

The agency’s administrative office has furthermore launched the national working group “Plagiarism – Control and Prevention”. More than 20 Austrian research institutions take part in its meetings. Its aim to establish in all Austrian institutions of higher education a uniform definition of the term plagiarism in the Universities Act was achieved in 2015 which is a prerequisite for a uniform way of handling cases of plagiarism.

Austrian Network for Ombudsmen in Higher Education

In June 2016 the Austrian Agency and the Austrian Student Ombudsman founded the National Network for Ombudsmen in Higher Education. The Networks aim is to have a regular exchange among education institutions as well as non-university research institutions that also recruit young scientists. For further information:


Sabine Chai, Ph.D.

Managing Director

Austrian Agency for Research Integrity
Landstrasser Hauptstrasse 9/TOP 21
1030 Vienna - Austria

+43 1 7106821