Professor Hauswirth, you are head of the Open Distributed Systems group at TU Berlin as well as managing director of the Fraunhofer Institute FOKUS. As a researcher and scientist, you are TU Berlin’s expert representative on the Berlin University Alliance’s steering committee “Objective 3.” What does the committee do and what is your role?
The steering committee “Objective 3: Advancing Research Quality and Value” focuses on the heart of any research work: sharing experiences, pooling expertise and conducting research on research quality and open science. We believe that good research results have to be open and reproducible. The results - and this is where it can get tricky when you have different disciplines - have to be documented. Data must be available and procedures must be accessible in order to give other researchers the opportunity to check whether the work of the various research groups within a project can actually be reproduced. This is not always the case. In poor research, for example, findings that don't fit the outcome aren't documented quite as accurately. If you look at the past, however, these were the very areas that were often most interesting. There are other issues to consider as well: Are ethical principles being followed? Have you avoided bias, i.e., bias resulting from incorrect research methods? All this has to be kept in mind if you want to conduct durable and good research.