This essay deals with the question of standards in the field of research on contemporary literature. As a point of departure it states a discrepancy between explicit and tacit knowledge which can be observed in both the study of contemporary literature and the discussion of standards for the humanities: In both cases, what actually happens in the practical routines of scholarship substantially contradicts programmatic convictions and statements. The essay argues for more rigorous and reflexive standards in the description and analysis of contemporary literature. It focusses on the topics of source criticism, translatability, interdisciplinarity and normativity to challenge a scholarly practice that has not yet taken into account the methodological challenges of contemporary literary material. In concluding, I will recommend to consider the often neglected aspect of teaching as an opportunity to implement, refine and reflect on philological and theoretical standards in close collaboration with students of literature.