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Code of Good Practice VDS CoBeNe
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Code of Good Practice VDS CoBeNe - in Detail

1. Responsibilities of the Director of Doctoral School (DSPL)

The VDS CoBeNe has 4 DSPL, each is representing one program.
Psychology - Martin Voracek (head of DSPL)  I Biology - Thomas Bugnyar I Neuroscience - Thomas Hummel I I Cognitive Humanities - Jutta Mueller

The DSPL are appointed by the rectorate for a period of 2 years, the Deans of the involved Faculties provide statements of support. Directors can apply for a teaching reduction. 


The director of the school: 

a)  applies for the (continuation of) the school and proposes the steering committee and other elements of the governance 

b)  represents the school to the rectorate, its members and the outside world

c)  assumes the responsibilities of the DSPL (to be appointed in the usual way). S/He must oversee the activities, some of them can be delegated according to the school’s governance to vice-DSPLs 

d)  oversees compliance with the University’s general rules, the Code of Good Practice including the addendum 

e)  negotiates the budget with the Rectorate 

f)  oversees spending decisions, including those made by the internal committees, e.g. concerning seed grants, completion grants or grants for summer schools and student organized conferences 

g)  provides an annual report to the Rectorate and the general public about the activities of the school, including key performance indicators 

h)  ensures that the program and especially the relevant job openings are internationally and transparently advertised

i)  oversees the admission process 

j)  ensures that each doctoral candidate is assigned to at least one supervisor and has access to other researchers in the school for advice and feedback in the Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC-) meetings

k)  oversees the teaching program (e.g. seminars, courses) 

l)  oversees the recurrent public (e.g. faculty-wide) presentation of the dissertation projects in consultation with the doctoral advisory board(s) 

m)  ensures that doctoral candidates have sufficient time to study and work on their thesis according to the employment contract and the general employment regulations (KV) 

n)  approves the dissertation agreement as well as the annual progress reports by candidates 

p)  initiates the dissertation examination process in line with University regulations (including the selection of reviewers and the composition of the committee for the public defence) 

q)  oversees measures of career planning (e.g. coaching, mentoring) and placements for doctoral candidates 

r)  oversees measures and procedures for conflict resolution

2. Responsibilities of the Supervisor

Every doctoral candidate has (at least) one main supervisor and access to at least two other member of the school (including advanced post docs) who provide complementary advice and feedback within the annual Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC-) meeting. The role and range of activities for additional supervisors and mentors is defined individually. Main supervisors are research-active members of the school and are assigned to the candidate (in agreement with the supervisor) by the director. 

The main supervisor: 

a)  promotes the scientific development of the doctoral candidate to become an independent researcher

b)  commits her-/himself to supervise the doctoral candidate for the duration of the PhD project and provides regular comments on the candidate’s progress and her/his manuscripts and doctoral thesis draft 

c)  clarifies the expectations for supervision using the available forms: for admission, the doctoral candidate and all supervisors sign the indication of willingness to supervise the doctoral candidate and a doctoral thesis agreement, which is amended through annual progress reports once a year

d)  supports the doctoral candidate to prepare the public presentation at the end of the first study year

e)  commits her-/himself to support the doctoral candidate with annual TAC Meetings

f)   clarifies ownership of the data generated during the thesis research with the doctoral candidate 

g)  ensures together with the director of the school that the candidate can devote sufficient time for her/his own research, her/his personal and professional development and the activities offered by the school 

h)  ensures together with the director of the school that the candidate has access to relevant infrastructure 

i)   keeps her-/himself updated about the latest progress in the doctoral candidate’s research field 

j)   encourages that the results are presented and published in relevant outlets 

k)  verifies that the final thesis complies with the criteria set by the university (e.g. affiliation policy) 

l)   helps to enforce compliance with the Code of Good Scientific Practice

m)helps the candidate to apply for complementary funding 

n)  assists the doctoral candidate in career planning 

o)  contributes to the reputation and the success of the doctoral school

3. Responsibilities of the Doctoral Candidate

Admission as a doctoral student to the University of Vienna and assignment to the doctoral school are pre-requisites to be a member of the VDS CoBeNe. The school can define particular offers and services (e.g. seed grants) that are restricted to its members and other offers and services that are open to all admitted doctoral candidates of the field. Membership of the school is made dependent on fulfilment of particular obligations (e.g. to give a public presentation to the faculty (FÖP), to hold Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC-) meetings, to hand in annual progress reports).

The doctoral candidate: 

a)  clarifies the expectations for supervision and agrees upon the practical aspects of supervision using the available forms (doctoral thesis agreement, annual progress reports, TAC meetings) 

b)  fulfils the requirements of the doctoral school, the curriculum and the doctoral thesis agreement agreed upon at the time of admission, especially the public presentation at the end of the first study year (FÖP)

c)  presents her/his progress at least once a year to the faculty of the school within a TAC meeting 

d)  takes the supervisor(s) guidance and feedback into due consideration

e)  participates actively in courses, workshops, symposia and other respective events which promote integration into the scientific community 

f)  is committed to the doctoral project and understands that the research work and completion of the doctoral degree studies are ultimately her/his own responsibility 

g)  ensures that the thesis is her/his own work and that the final version has been read and commented upon by the supervisor(s) prior to submission for examination

h)  adopts and understands the protocol of good scientific practice, the general principles of ethical aspects in science and the ethical regulations of the research field 

i)  becomes familiar with the relevant high-quality outlets (journals, proceedings, series, etc.) suitable for publishing the results 

j)  includes the University of Vienna as an affiliation on publications resulting from the doctoral project 

k)  alerts the supervisor and the director of the doctoral school of any difficulties or delays at an early stage and address these issues honestly in the annual progress reports and TAC meetings

l)  provides a regular (at least annual) progress report 

Addendum: Open-Science Practices

The VDS CoBeNe is fully committed to open-science practices and embraces the ongoing method reform and research credibility revolution towards betterment of empirically based research disciplines, in terms of more reliable, trustworthy, sustainable, and useful research results. 

Conceptually and methodologically, the four VDS CoBeNe programs Psychological Science, Behavioral & Cognitive Biology, Neuroscience and the Cognitive Humanities are representatives of these manifold and important changes in contemporary research culture, concerning the ways in which empirical research is planned, conducted, analyzed, reported, communicated, and disseminated.  Consequently, the VDS CoBeNe strongly encourages PhD students and their supervisors: (1) to conduct and report PhD-related research under conditions of open data, open materials, open code, and open access, wherever feasible; (2) to consider implementing recently emerged informative study designs in their research, such as replication-extension studies, registered reports (RRs), and internal or continuously cumulating meta-analyses (CCMAs); (3) to consider partaking in consortium-based research as well, such as replication initiatives, method evaluations, and crowdsourced research projects; (4) to care for pre-registration of all their PhD-related research (exceptions from this are expected to be justified in the FÖP). For achieving these goals, the VDS CoBeNE will offer support, including specific teaching and hands-on workshops.

PhD Candidate Participation in Student Supervision

Following an initiative by the VDS CoBeNe PhD Representatives brought forward in the Steering Committee last semester, it was decided that as a doctoral school we should seize the opportunity and tackle the issue of PhD candidate involvement in the supervision of Bachelor and Master students.

To this end, two Codes of Conduct were drafted with multiple feedback loops from the Steering Committee members and the four DSPLs. The Codes were unanimously voted into effect and are therefore brought to all CoBeNe PI’s and PhD’s attention. There is a general Code of Conduct which creates a common foundation for all four CoBeNe disciplines and, additionally, a specification of the general Code that considers the special constraints within the Faculty of Psychology (Code of Conduct Psychology) which has been discussed with Psychology’s SPLs beforehand. 

Both PIs and PhDs have received an email in September 2022 asking them to familiarize themselves with the guidelines we set for our doctoral school with this Code and the research-cultural ideas of fairness and appreciation of PhD candidates’ work and involvement in student supervision that lie behind it. The idea behind the Code is in no way to hinder you from taking on tasks which you enjoy; rather, it aims to empower PhDs to choose whether and to which extent they want to participate in student supervision, and to ensure PhDs to get fair recognition for the work they put in. As such, the Code is something PhDs can reference when negotiating these tasks with their supervisor(s), and the VDS CoBeNe office and PhD representatives are available to assist in case of conflicts or difficulties navigating these conversations. PhD candidates can get a certificate for any work supervising students and also get a certificate for any work supporting their colleagues’ teaching without getting teaching credits.

The official code of conduct provided by the University of Vienna, can be found here

Appendix Certificate student co-supervision