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Guidelines on how to deal with knowledge of criminal offences in the context of research projects published


For the RatSWD (Council for Social and Economic Data), the Forschungsstelle has developed a handout on "Dealing with knowledge of criminal offences in the context of conducting research projects", which was published today.

Excerpt from the press release of the RatSWD (originally in German):

When criminal offences become known during research, it is often unclear: Do researchers have to conceal knowledge of criminal offences or do they have to or should they disclose them? The RatSWD's new guideline deals with the clarification of this question by means of four practical examples. These come from research on right-wing extremism, deal with the disclosure of child abuse, an intention to commit suicide and a possible neglect of care recipients that becomes known during a narrative interview. The handout now discusses in detail criminal law, data protection law and other legal requirements as well as ethical guidelines based on the examples and clearly explains ways of solving the dilemma.

The legal work was commissioned by the Research Ethics Working Group and the Legal Task Force of the RatSWD, which also developed the practical examples. The handout was prepared by Prof. Dr. Dr. Eric Hilgendorf and staff from the Department of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure Law, Legal Theory, Information Law and Legal Informatics at the University of Würzburg.

Citation suggestion: RatSWD (Rat für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsdaten). (2023). Handreichung „Umgang mit der Kenntnisnahme von Straftaten im Rahmen der Durchführung von Forschungsvorhaben“: Erstellt von Max Tauschhuber, Dr. Paul Vogel und Prof. Dr. Dr. Eric Hilgendorf (Output Series, 7. Berufungsperiode Nr. 1). Berlin.

Link to the guidelines (German):