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Academic writing

Good academic practice | Subject and discipline-specific requirements | Literature | Systematic literature research | Legal framework

Good academic practice

The authorship of scholarly publications is part of the process of academic research and is thereby subject to the guidelines governing good academic practice. Like all other German universities, the LMU has issued guidelines on good academic practice. Members of the LMU should apply these standards to their academic writing

The most important basic principles of academic publishing are formulated in the first few paragraphs of the guidelines. They can be reduced to the following keywords:

  • work carefully and appropriately (lege artis)
  • document your research results
  • subject your results to critical scrutiny
  • acknowledge the contributions of others clearly (correct citation)
  • list all participating authors correctly

LMU guidelines on academic self-control (in German, 118 kB)top

Subject and discipline-specific requirements

The concrete formal requirements governing the writing of scholarly works conform to the usual practices of the appropriate subject discipline. It is therefore extremely important to ensure that you are familiar with the current standards prevalent in your own subject. Students or young scholars as yet lacking experience in academic publishing are strongly advised to take advantage of the following suggested sources of information on academic writing:

  • your professor's or faculty's homepage and the advice of your tutor
  • the websites or publications of the relevant academic or professional associations
  • literature on academic research techniques for your subjecttop

Literature on academic research techniques

You will find the literature on academic research techniques held by the University Library in the online catalogue by following this link:

Literature on academic research techniques

You can then add filters to limit the number of matches (e.g. language, year of publication, subject).

Alternatively enter "academic writing" or similar terms into the search field in our online catalogue and then limit your results by "subject" or other

Systematic literature search

A systematic and comprehensive literature review is generally the first step towards writing a scholarly work. This ensures your work corresponds to the current state-of-the-art in your subject and you will not be suspected of plagiarism. You will avoid publishing results or deliberations which have already appeared in similar form elsewhere.

The University Library can offer you the following help on general or subject-specific literature searching:

Legal framework

Copyright law

Works of literature, the sciences and the arts are subject to the provisions of the German Copyright Act. They enjoy legal protection unless the copyright holder has ruled otherwise.

Your rights as copyright holder, along with legislation concerning the scope and limits of usage conforming to the copyright regulations of the Copyright Act, are detailed in the wording of the Act.

Complete wording of the Copyright Act with version detail

Open Content licences

In those regions under German jurisdiction the copyright holder has an unconditional right to be named. However the copyright holder is entitled to agree to legal measures more liberal than those stipulated by the Copyright Act.

In the wake of the Open Access movement a variety of licensing models have been developed for the academic sector and other intellectual property areas. These enable the copyright holder to permit certain editing, exploitation and usage rights as desired. The best-known and most widely-used Open Content model is the Creative Commons licensing system.

German Creative Commons website

Practical guide to Using Creatice Commons Licences (2,37 mB)


Plagiarism has been much discussed in the academic community in the last few years. To avoid charges of plagiarism please observe the guidelines on good academic practice. Please make sure you are familiar with the specific requirements of your own subject discipline regarding academic research.

If you are not sure whether you have complied with all the requirements correctly, please contact your tutor or a subject colleague.