WG Prevention of Power Abuse

Power abuse has become increasingly recognized as a structural problem of the academic system. However, mechanisms to protect researchers against abusive behaviour and to support victims of power abuse are still lacking, while at the same time cases of power abuse in scientific organizations become increasingly known. These cases of power abuse can occur in manifold ways reaching from but not limited to scientific misconduct and questions of authorship, conflicts with supervisors, verbal abuse, demeaning behaviour, and sexual harassment. Doctoral researchers are especially vulnerable to experiencing power abuse due to the steep hierarchy in the academic system and (multi-)dependencies of young researchers. As a working group, we aim at 

  • raising awareness for the vulnerable situation of doctoral researchers in the academic system;
  • inform about contact persons and support mechanisms for victims who experience power abuse;
  • establish guidelines to support PhD representatives who are facing conflicts within their institute.

We fully support the position paper on “Power Abuse and Conflict Resolution” published by N² – Network of Networks and advocate finding long-term solutions for preventing power abuse conflicts, protecting victims, and resolving these conflicts.


If you have any questions about or want to join the Working Group feel free to contact us:

If you have questions concerning good scientific practice, you need to report scientific misconduct or seek advice in a conflict, you can reach out to:

  • the local Ombudsperson appointed by your institute (Here you can find a list of all Ombudsperson)
  • the Leibniz Ombuds Committee (ombudsgremium@leibniz-gemeinschaft.de)