Concept for ensuring scientific quality at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Charité Campus Mitte (CCM) and St. Hedwig-Hospital

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Mission

In addition to ensuring the highest quality standards in patient care, ensuring scientific quality is also one of the priorities of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Charité Campus Mitte and the St. Hedwig Hospital. The maximization of quality, reproducibility and validity of all scientific results is very important to the department's research staff. Therefore, with the support of the BIH QUEST Center, a comprehensive concept was developed that aims not only at ensuring the quality of our scientific work, but also at continuously improving it according to the latest technical possibilities. The department’s concept for ensuring scientific quality is based on three pillars:

  1. Pre-registration, i.e. the registration of scientific studies in a public database before the first data are collected.
  2. Continuous Education, i.e. the regular further training of all scientific staff, in particular young scientists, with regard to important and innovative measures for scientific quality assurance
  3. Open Science, i.e. the principle of making scientific processes as open and transparent as possible.

The rules of good scientific practice of the German Research Foundation (DFG) form the basis of all scientific work and clinical studies in which we are involved.

Implementation

Pillar I – Pre-Registration

According to BIH surveys, the results of only about 7% of all conducted studies are published. Studies whose original hypothesis could not be proven (so-called negative studies) are often not published. In addition, it may happen that certain positive results that are published were not originally part of the primary hypothesis of a particular study. The pre-registration allows a separation of different research approaches, which is of great relevance for the evaluation of the study results or the validity of certain statistical methods (e.g. whether it was an explorative approach or whether a specific hypothesis was tested).

The Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Charité Campus Mitte and St.-Hedwig Hospital is therefore committed to register its clinical studies in a publicly accessible register.

Pillar II – Continuous Education

The technical possibilities for promoting Open Science are constantly changing. While a few years ago, for example, laboratory books were mainly kept in handwriting, today this can be done digitally using an electronic laboratory book. It has been shown that such an electronic laboratory book can not only lead to a significant increase in efficiency in daily work, but can also improve the traceability and verifiability of research results.

The Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Charité Campus Mitte and St.-Hedwig Hospital are therefore committed to ensuring that such technical possibilities are used where feasible. All scientifically active employees are regularly informed about the latest developments in the field of Open Science. The events also provide an opportunity for direct exchange between researchers to discuss the implementation of new instruments.

Pillar III – Open Science

The term Open Science describes an international movement that aims at making scientific processes as open and transparent as possible, enabling a more effective exchange of information within the scientific community. Many scientific questions can only be validly answered on the basis of large amounts of data and sufficiently large samples. For this reason, we have set the goal - in compliance with all applicable data protection guidelines - to make research data publicly accessible (so-called Open Data and Open Access). This does not only increase the efficiency of science, but also facilitates the transfer of knowledge and promotes reproducibility in the sciences.

In order to ensure reproducibility and replicability, we also strive to follow the principles of Open Source and Open Methodology (in accordance with international consortium agreements).

Quality control

In order to identify weaknesses in the documentation or execution of scientific work and to constantly improve scientific quality, individual published studies are randomly reviewed (usually 1-2 per half year). The raw data, the documentation of data collection as well as the selection and application of data analysis procedures are checked. The review is carried out by three independent scientists with relevant research experience who were not involved in the published study.