Standards for Addressing Research Misconduct

Policy number: 10.6

Policy section: Research

Revised Date: January 2, 2019


1. Definitions

Definitions of capitalized terms are set forth in Appendix A.

2. Purpose

  1. This policy is intended to be consistent with the requirements of the Federal Policy on Research Misconduct (“Federal Policy”) as adopted by the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.
  2. Research at the University is considered a worthy, important, and integral part of the educational mission of the University. Research helps to further the general knowledge, welfare, and interests of the public at large. Therefore, the University supports, encourages, and nurtures Research, recognizing that Research plays a vital role in education at all levels, from the undergraduate through the post-doctoral.
  3. In order for Research to fulfill its role within the University, it is essential that it be carried out with the highest ethical and scholarly standards. While there is every reason to believe that this is the case in virtually all Research carried out within the University, it is necessary that both explicit policy and procedures be adopted to address any potential deviation from accepted ethical and scholarly standards. Therefore, the conduct of all Research and its dissemination is guided by these standards. The University deals with deviations from these standards in accordance with the procedures set forth in this policy.
  4. While most federal funding agencies recognize that the primary responsibility for the prevention and detection of Research Misconduct, and for the conduct of inquiries and Investigations, rests with the institution, a number of agencies have retained the right to initiate their own independent Investigations.

3. Policy Statement

This policy applies to Research Misconduct or Allegations of misconduct, whether occurring in unsponsored or sponsored Research, undertaken within the University by a Researcher.

This policy addresses Research Misconduct only; other forms of misconduct are treated separately under other sections of the University Policies. In cases where this policy conflicts with other University Policies that may address Research Misconduct, the terms of this policy prevail.

4. Relationship between University Policy and Federal Law

  1. Inquiries and Investigations of alleged Research Misconduct involving federally funded sponsored Research are governed generally by the Federal Policy and the regulations promulgated pursuant to it. The specific regulations of these federal agencies may be accessed at: http://ori.hhs.gov/policies/federal_policies.shtml
  2. In some cases, the Federal Policy specifies that certain provisions be set forth within this policy, and the University has done so. From time to time the University may review this policy and make necessary revisions to remain in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. If, at any time, a conflict between federal laws and regulations and this policy arises, the federal laws and regulations supersede this policy and must be followed with regard to any matters on which this policy and the governmental laws and regulations differ.
  3. Agencies and Research universities are partners who share responsibilities for the Research process. Federal agencies have ultimate oversight authority for Federally-funded Research, but Research universities bear primary responsibility for prevention and detection of Research Misconduct and for the Inquiry, Investigation, and adjudication of Research Misconduct alleged to have occurred in association with their own institution.

5. Individual Responsibilities

  1. Each person engaged in Research at the University is responsible for ensuring that his or her Research is conducted in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations, the highest ethical and scholarly standards, and in conformity with the generally accepted standards of the discipline in which the Research falls. This includes, but is not limited to, those responsibilities cited in University Policy 10.1, Sponsored Projects and Activities, when a Sponsored Project is involved.
  2. Any person at the University who suspects in Good Faith that an act of Research Misconduct has occurred or is occurring shall report such suspicion to the Associate Vice President for Research, or in his or her absence, to the Provost.
  3. The University prohibits Retaliation of any kind against a person who, acting in Good Faith, reports or provides information about suspected or alleged Research Misconduct.

6. General Procedures for Research Misconduct

  1. The following procedures explicitly define the course of conduct for the individual who may have knowledge of Research Misconduct and those who are involved.
  2. The Associate Vice President for Research is the University’s Research Misconduct Officer. The Associate Vice President for Research shall coordinate each assessment, Inquiry, and Investigation of an Allegation of Research Misconduct. The Associate Vice President for Research is responsible for ensuring that all assessments, inquiries, and Investigations conducted pursuant to this policy are carried out in conformance with applicable state or federal laws and regulations, if any. In the event that the Associate Vice President for Research is unable to perform this task as a result of absence, conflict of interest, or other reason, the responsibility will be assigned by the Provost to another University administrator of similar rank in the Office of the Provost. Each person involved in an assessment, Inquiry, or Investigation of Research Misconduct shall carry out their responsibilities in a manner that is thorough, competent, objective, fair, and appropriately protective of the confidentiality and reputations of all participants.

7. Preliminary Assessment

Upon receipt of a report of a person’s Good Faith suspicion that Research Misconduct may have occurred or is occurring, the Associate Vice President for Research shall assess the information presented to determine (1) whether it may constitute Research Misconduct as defined in this policy, and (2) whether the reported information is sufficiently credible and specific so that potential Evidence of Research Misconduct may be identified. If both of these criteria are met, the Associate Vice President for Research shall immediately begin an Inquiry. During the preliminary assessment phase, the identity of the person(s) making a report of suspected Research Misconduct will be known only to the Associate Vice President for Research, the Provost, and the individuals conducting the Inquiry.

8. Inquiry

  1. The Associate Vice President for Research shall appoint a Committee of Inquiry consisting of two or more tenured faculty members at the University or another institution or a combination thereof to conduct the Inquiry. The Associate Vice President for Research shall prepare a charge for the Committee of Inquiry that describes the Allegation against the Respondent and advises the Committee that:
    1. The purpose of the Inquiry is to make a preliminary evaluation of the Evidence and testimony of the Complainant, Respondent, and key witnesses to determine whether there is sufficient substantive Evidence of possible Research Misconduct to warrant an Investigation.
    2. The Committee is not being asked to make a determination whether Research Misconduct has occurred, and, if so, who is responsible.
    3. The Committee must take reasonable steps to ensure the confidentiality of their proceedings.
  2. The Associate Vice President for Research shall review the charge with the Committee at its first meeting.
  3. The Committee of Inquiry shall:
    1. Either before or when notifying the Respondent of the Allegation, take all reasonable and practical steps to obtain custody of the Research Records and other Evidence needed to conduct the Inquiry, inventory the records and other Evidence, and sequester them in a secure manner, except that where the Research Records or Evidence encompass scientific instruments shared by a number of users, custody may be limited to copies of the data or Evidence on such instruments, so long as those copies are substantially equivalent to the evidentiary value of the instruments. The Committee shall notify the Associate Vice President for Research immediately if it discovers that relevant documents are at a site not under University control. In such a case, the Associate Vice President for Research shall notify the OIG (in the case of federally funded Research) or other appropriate governing body and request its assistance in obtaining custody of the relevant documents. Where appropriate, the Committee shall give the Respondent copies of, or reasonable supervised access to, the Research Records.
    2. Review this policy, and other University Policies that relate to faculty responsibilities in regard to Research;
    3. Require all individuals contacted to agree to maintain confidentiality and to review this policy, and other University Policies that relate to faculty responsibilities in regard to Research;
    4. Identify any outside funding source(s) for the Research that is the subject of the Inquiry and review the applicable regulations and policies of that source.
    5. At the time of, or before the beginning of the Inquiry, notify the Respondent in writing of the Allegations, and invite the Respondent to comment on them.
    6. Interview all relevant individuals, including the Complainant(s), if known.
    7. Determine if the Allegations against the Respondent were made in Good Faith.
    8. Within 60 days of their appointment to conduct an Inquiry, prepare for the Associate Vice President for Research a final report, including a recommendation as to whether an Investigation is warranted. (If this time frame is not possible in a particular case, the Committee of Inquiry shall document the reasons and inform the Associate Vice President for Research, who may extend the time limit for a specific number of days). The final report must describe the information reviewed; include a summary of the interviews conducted; state conclusions reached, including whether the Allegations were made in Good Faith; and indicate whether the person or persons who conducted the Inquiry believe an Investigation is warranted. Before submitting the final report to the Associate Vice President for Research, the Committee shall provide the Respondent with a copy of the draft final report of the Inquiry, and give the Respondent an opportunity to comment on the report and its findings. The final report must include any comments provided by the Respondent in response to the draft report or its findings. The Committee of Inquiry shall use their best efforts (where feasible) to protect the identity and confidence of the Complainant(s).
    9. Ensure that the Research Records, other Evidence, interview notes, and other documentation include sufficient detail to permit a later assessment of the determination of whether an Investigation was warranted.
  4. After receiving the final report from the Committee of Inquiry, the Associate Vice President for Research shall:
    1. Make a recommendation to the Provost as to whether the University should conduct an Investigation.
    2. If no Investigation is begun, maintain the final report of the Inquiry and the documentation upon which the person or persons conducting the Inquiry relied for a period of seven years after the termination of an Inquiry, and shall, upon an appropriate request in the case of sponsored Research, provide a copy to an authorized official of the entity or agency that sponsored the Research (hereinafter referred to as "sponsor official"). The final report and the documentation must be kept confidential.

9. Investigation

  1. If the final report of the Committee of Inquiry leads to a decision that an Investigation is warranted, the Associate Vice President for Research, in consultation with the Provost, shall appoint within 15 days following his or her receipt of the Committee’s final report an impartial Committee of Investigation to conduct the Investigation and name one member as chair.
  2. The Committee of Investigation must consist of the president of the Faculty Senate (or, if he or she is unable to serve or has a conflict of interest with the Respondent, his or her designee) and no more than six additional tenured faculty or professional staff members of the University or from another institution or a combination thereof.
  3. The Committee of Investigation members must be selected based on their individual expertise in regard to the issues that are raised by the Allegation of Research Misconduct. In the case of federally sponsored Research, the Associate Vice President for Research shall forward a copy of the curriculum vitae of each Committee member to the OIG.
  4. The president of the Faculty Senate serves as an ex officio member with vote on the Committee of Investigation. Because a finding of Research Misconduct may result in a recommendation that a faculty member be discharged, the Senate president, in addition to the expertise he or she may bring to the committee, serves to ensure that committee procedures, which are intended to result in fair and impartial findings of fact, are judiciously followed.
  5. The Associate Vice President for Research shall prepare a charge for the Committee that sets forth the Respondent’s name and describes the Allegation against the Respondent and related issues identified by the Inquiry. The charge should advise the Committee of Investigation of the following:
    1. The purpose of the Investigation is to thoroughly evaluate the Evidence and the testimony of the Respondent, Complainant, and relevant witnesses in order to determine whether, based on a Preponderance of the Evidence, Research Misconduct occurred, and if so, to what extent, who was responsible, and its seriousness. The scope of the Committee’s Investigation is not limited to the Allegations presented in the charge to the Committee; any new Evidence or Allegations of Research Misconduct that may be revealed during the Investigation must be investigated also.
    2. The Committee shall take reasonable steps to ensure the confidentiality of the proceedings, including those involved in it.
    3. If additional information becomes available that substantially changes the subject matter of the Investigation or suggests additional Respondents, the Committee shall immediately notify the Associate Vice President for Research so that he or she may determine if it is necessary to notify the Respondent of the new subject matter, or provide notice to additional Respondents.
  6. The Associate Vice President for Research shall review the charge with the Committee at its first meeting.
  7. The Committee of Investigation shall:
    1. Begin the Investigation within 30 days after the completion of the Inquiry and after written notice to the Respondent. The Committee of Investigation shall complete the Investigation and file its final report with the Associate Vice President for Research within 90 days from the start of the Investigation. (Although most agency regulations permit 120 days for completion of an Investigation and submission of a final report, the University requires the Investigation and preparation of the final report to occur within 90, unless the time is extended for good cause by the Associate Vice President for Research. This allows 30 days for the disciplinary process, if it is necessary to pursue one. For federally funded Research, the final report to the federal funding agency must include a statement about the sanction, if any, imposed by the institution.) If the Committee of Investigation is unable to complete its Investigation and prepare the final report within this time frame, the Committee of Investigation shall notify the Associate Vice President for Research as soon as possible so that the Associate Vice President for Research may provide an appropriate extension (if it is determined an extension is warranted) or, in the case of federally funded Research, request an extension of time from the federal or state funding agency.
    2. Examine the relevant documentation, including, but not limited to, relevant Research data and proposals, publications, correspondence, and memoranda of telephone calls.
    3. Interview each Complainant and Respondent and every person who may have substantive information related to the matter. The Committee of Investigation shall prepare written summaries of each interview. The Committee of Investigation shall provide a copy of the written interview summary to the individual who was interviewed so that interviewee may make appropriate changes and comments to ensure the accuracy of the facts stated in the summary. Changes made by the interviewee must be appended to the summary, or incorporated into a revised summary, as the interviewer may agree. The Associate Vice President for Research shall retain the interview summaries with the other records of the Investigation.
    4. Pursue all significant issues until the Committee of Investigation is reasonably certain that they have amassed all relevant information.
    5. Prepare for the Associate Vice President for Research a draft written report of findings based on a Preponderance of the Evidence. Upon receipt of the Committee of Investigation’s draft written report, the Associate Vice President for Research shall provide a copy to the Respondent who will have an opportunity to provide comments. If the Committee of Investigation’s draft written report identifies a Complainant, the Associate Vice President for Research, if he or she deems it appropriate, shall provide the Complainant with those portions of the draft report that relate to the Complainant so that he or she may review them for accuracy. The Committee of Investigation shall review the comments of the Respondent and the Complainant(s), and, if they deem it appropriate to do so, may revise the draft written report based on these comments. All comments on the draft from the Respondent and from the Complainant(s) must be appended to the final report.
      1. NOTE: If there is more than one Respondent, and their involvements are found not to be identical, separate draft reports should be prepared if practical, in order to preserve confidentiality.
    6. Prepare a final written report for the Associate Vice President for Research. This final written report must include the following:
      1. Interview summaries;
      2. Respondent and Complainant comments on the draft written report;
      3. A description of the University Policies and procedures followed by the Committee of Investigation;
      4. A description of how and from whom relevant information was obtained; and
      5. A finding based on a Preponderance of the Evidence of whether Research Misconduct has occurred and the basis for the finding.
      6. If the Committee is not unanimous in its views on any aspect of the final report, and if the minority wishes to file a separate opinion, they may do so, and the minority report must be attached to the majority report.
      7. A recommendation to the Associate Vice President for Research of an appropriate sanction, if a majority of the Committee finds that the Respondent has engaged in Research Misconduct. The nature of the sanction recommended by the Committee should depend on the severity of the misconduct or violation, and may range from a letter of reprimand, up to dismissal of the Respondent.

10. Appeals

  1. The Respondent has the right to appeal a finding of Research Misconduct to the Associate Vice President for Research within 10 days of receipt by the Respondent of the final report of the Committee of Investigation. The only grounds for appeal are (a) procedural error or (b) substantive new Evidence in favor of the Respondent. The appeal must be in writing and must specifically enumerate the grounds for appeal and provide documentation or affidavits of any substantive new Evidence for consideration. If no appeal is received by the end of the 10-day period, the Respondent will be deemed to have waived any appeal rights. If an appeal is received in a timely fashion, the Associate Vice President for Research shall review the appeal. The Associate Vice President for Research has 10 business days within which to review the appeal.
  2. If the Associate Vice President for Research determines that the Investigation was not procedurally flawed, or there is no substantive new Evidence that could justify reversing the Committee of Investigation’s original decision, or both, then the appeal is denied.
  3. If the Associate Vice President for Research determines that there was one or more significant procedural errors committed during the Investigation or that substantive new Evidence exists that could justify reversing the Committee of Investigation’s original decision, then the Associate Vice President for Research shall grant the appeal. If the appeal is granted, the Associate Vice President for Research shall direct the Committee of Investigation to reopen its Investigation in order to correct the procedural error or to take into consideration the new Evidence or both; unless, however the reason for granting the appeal is procedural error only, and the procedural error is of such significance, in the sole opinion of the Associate Vice President for Research, that fundamental fairness dictates the appointment of a new Committee of Investigation, then the Associate Vice President for Research shall appoint a new Committee to conduct a new Investigation.
  1. If the appeal is granted, and the Allegations concern Research Misconduct involving federally sponsored Research, then the Associate Vice President for Research shall contact the Research sponsor to request an extension of the time by which the new Investigation must be concluded.

11. Sanctions

  1. After all appeals of a finding of Research Misconduct by the Committee of Investigation, if any, have been exhausted, or the Associate Vice President of Research and Dean of Graduate Studies’ receipt of the Committee’s final report, whichever occurs last, the Associate Vice President for Research shall within three days impose sanctions against each Respondent who has been found by the Committee of Investigation to have committed Research Misconduct.
  2. The nature of sanctions imposed should depend on the severity of the misconduct or violation, and may range from a letter of reprimand, up to dismissal of the Respondent.
  3. A sanction of dismissal is subject to review of the Faculty Ethics and Tenure Committee as outlined in this policy.
  4. Other sanctions that may be imposed by the Associate Vice President for Research upon a Respondent include, but are not limited to, withdrawal of all pending abstracts and papers emanating from any Research tainted by the Research Misconduct; notification of editors of journals in which previous abstracts and papers were published; notification of institutions and sponsors with which the Respondent has been associated if there is reason to believe that the validity of previous Research might be questionable; release of information about the incident to the press in cases in which health and safety issues or public funds were involved.
  5. In the case of federally sponsored Research, the Associate Vice President for Research shall append information about the sanction imposed to the final report to the OIG.

12. Appeal of a Sanction of Dismissal

  1. The Respondent has the right to appeal a sanction of dismissal to the Faculty Ethics and Tenure Committee within 10 days of receipt by the Respondent of notice of the imposition of the sanction.
  2. The only ground for an appeal is that the sanction of dismissal is too harsh based on the Committee of Investigation’s findings of fact.
  3. The appeal must be in writing and must specifically enumerate the Respondent’s argument, rationale and Evidence in support of the Respondent’s belief that the sanction of dismissal is too harsh based on the Committee’s findings.
  4. If no appeal is received by the Faculty Ethics and Tenure Committee by the end of the 10-day period, the Respondent will be deemed to have waived any appeal rights.
  5. If an appeal is received by the Faculty Ethics and Tenure Committee in a timely fashion, the Faculty Ethics and Tenure Committee shall review the appeal in accordance with the criteria set forth in this paragraph. The Faculty Ethics and Tenure Committee has 10 business days within which to review the appeal and make a recommendation to the Provost as to whether the sanction of dismissal should be upheld or a lesser sanction be imposed. After consideration of recommendation of the Faculty Ethics and Tenure Committee, the Provost shall impose against the Respondent either the sanction of dismissal or a lesser sanction that the Provost believes in his or her sole judgment is in the best interests of the University. The sanction imposed by the Provost is final.

13. Internal Coordination/Reports to the Associate Vice President for Research

  1. Any person at the University who is aware of any of the following situations has a duty to report the situation immediately to the Associate Vice President for Research:
    1. An immediate health hazard resulting from Research, and in particular in regard to Research that involves human and animal Research subjects.
    2. An immediate need to protect federal, state, or University funds or equipment.
    3. An immediate need to protect the integrity of Research, a Research Misconduct proceeding, or both.
    4. An immediate need to protect the interests of those involved in a Research Misconduct proceeding.
    5. A likelihood that an alleged incident of Research Misconduct will be reported publicly.
    6. A reasonable indication of a possible violation of criminal or civil laws or regulations.
  2. In emergency situations, the Vice President for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies shall take immediate action; however, deans are authorized to take appropriate action, including notifying external agencies directly, provided it is not possible to first confer with the Associate Vice President for Research in a timely manner. (See section 14 on Notification to External Agencies and Third Parties).
  3. The Associate Vice President for Research shall take immediate action necessary to protect federal, state, or University funds and the purposes of the federal or state grant or contract that may be involved. Such action is administrative and not disciplinary. (See section 14 on Notification to External Agencies and Third Parties below.)

14. Notification to External Agencies and Third Parties

  1. For Research sponsored by a federal or state agency, the Associate Vice President for Research shall file interim reports with each appropriate federal or state funding agency to apprise the agency during an Investigation of facts that may affect current or potential funding of the Respondent(s), or that may need to be disclosed in order to ensure proper use of federal or state funds or for the protection of the public interest.
  2. In the case of Research not sponsored by a federal or state agency, the Associate Vice President for Research, in consultation with the Office of Legal Affairs and the Vice President for Development and External Affairs, shall make the decision whether to disseminate information about a charge of Research Misconduct and its disposition publicly or to a specific party or parties, including, but not limited to the Research sponsor (if one exists), an interested professional organization, or professional licensing organization or agency. In cases where the Respondent or the Complainant requests the University to disseminate information about a charge of Research Misconduct and its disposition to an interested professional organization or professional licensing organization or agency and the request is denied, the requesting party may ask the Associate Vice President for Research to reconsider his or her decision. If the request is denied upon reconsideration, the decision of the Associate Vice President for Research may be appealed to the Provost, whose decision is final.
  3. In cases involving Research funded by a federal or state agency, and in accordance with the agency’s specific requirements, if any, the Associate Vice President for Research shall inform the funding agency’s OIG in each of the following situations:
    1. If the outcome of an Inquiry includes the recommendation to conduct an Investigation. (The Associate Vice President for Research shall provide the records of an Inquiry, to an appropriate agency upon that agency’s request.) This notice must be provided on or before the commencement of the Investigation, and must include all information required specifically by the agency. Generally, this notice must include at least the following: name(s) and position(s) of the Respondent(s); general nature of the Allegation(s); the agency support including any proposal or award numbers; the basis for the recommendation of an Investigation; any comments by the Respondent. The University and the agency shall hold this information in confidence to the extent permitted by law.
    2. If the Investigation or the determination of discipline are likely to take more time to complete than specifically allowed by the relevant funding agency's regulations, the Associate Vice President for Research shall notify the appropriate funding agency and request an extension of time. The request should include a statement of the reasons for the delay, copies of interim progress reports, the estimated date of completion of the final report, and any other information supportive of the request. If an extension is granted, the agency may (if so provided by its regulations) require the submission of periodic interim reports, or the agency may undertake its own Investigation prior to the University's completion of its Investigation.
    3. If there is an admission or finding of Research Misconduct, the Associate Vice President for Research shall direct the involved individual(s) to notify the editors of all publications in which the data in question have been published and to withdraw any relevant work in review from consideration.
    4. If the University terminates an Inquiry or an Investigation prior to completing all of the relevant steps identified above. The notice in this case must include a statement of the reasons for such termination. It is understood that the agency is not bound by this decision and may conduct its own Inquiry and Investigation.
    5. If, at any stage of the Inquiry or Investigation, the University ascertains that any of the following conditions exist, the Associate Vice President for Research shall notify promptly the funding agency’s OIG:
      1. There is an immediate health hazard involved, including an immediate need to protect human or animal subjects;
      2. There is an immediate need to protect federal, state, or University funds or equipment;
      3. There is an immediate need to protect the interests of those involved in the Research Misconduct proceeding;
      4. There is an immediate need to protect the integrity of the Research, the Research Misconduct proceeding, or both;
      5. It is probable that the alleged incident is going to be reported publicly; or
      6. If there is a reasonable indication of possible criminal violation. In that instance, the Office of Legal Affairs must be notified immediately and it shall inform the funding agency’s OIG within 24 hours of University’s first obtaining that information.
    6. Upon the conclusion of an Investigation involving an agency’s funded project(s), and provided it with a complete copy of the final report.

d. In all cases where the University may receive inquiries from the media in regard to Allegations or a finding of Research Misconduct, the Associate Vice President for Research, in consultation with the Office of Legal Affairs and the Vice President for Development and External Affairs, shall make the decision whether to disseminate information about the matter, and if so, what information will be disseminated.

15. Frivolous Allegations

The conduct of Research requires absolute integrity at all levels and by all individuals within the University. Therefore, every effort should be made to protect the identity of the individuals who raise an Allegation of Research Misconduct or who are contacted during an Inquiry or Investigation. Conversely, frivolous, irresponsible or malicious Allegations of Research Misconduct jeopardize the Research enterprise and damage the reputation of the individual(s) involved. Therefore, in cases where an Allegation of Research Misconduct are unsubstantiated by an Inquiry or Investigation, the Associate Vice President for Research shall determine whether there is any indication or Evidence of frivolous, irresponsible, or malicious motivation or action or lack of Good Faith on the part of the individual(s) making the Allegation. If none is found, the Associate Vice President for Research shall place a written statement to this effect into the documentation, and it will become part of the permanent record. If, however, the Associate Vice President for Research finds that, in whole or in part, the Allegation or their motivations were frivolous, irresponsible, or malicious, then such should be handled, in cases involving faculty, pursuant to the University Policy on Procedural Standards for Faculty Sanctions and Dismissals and, in cases involving staff or students, in all other cases in accordance with appropriate University disciplinary policies.

16. Failure to Substantiate Allegation

  1. If either an Inquiry or Investigation fails to substantiate the Allegation of scientific misconduct, the Associate Vice President for Research shall so inform all parties involved and stress that the original Allegation should in no way influence the rights and privileges of the Researcher(s) in question or any aspects of his/her employment, position, or status within the University. Furthermore, neither the Respondent, nor any of his/her activities will be subject to any future form of scrutiny, review, or supervision resulting from an Inquiry or Investigation, except that which is usual and normal for all individuals in comparable positions. The Associate Vice President for Research shall also stress in writing to all parties that confidentiality should be maintained. If, however, during the course of the Inquiry or Investigation all or part of the Allegation becomes common knowledge within a department or school of the University, then the Associate Vice President for Research shall make the letter of apology and exoneration as public as necessary to protect and/or reestablish the good name of the accused.
  2. An unsubstantiated Allegation should in no way prejudice future inquiries or Investigations considering other Allegations of misconduct involving the same individual(s). Individuals who have made Allegations of scientific misconduct may not be subjected to any Retaliation, penalty, or criticism if such Allegations were made in Good Faith.

17. Maintenance of Records of Inquiries and Investigations of Alleged Research Misconduct

The Associate Vice President for Research shall maintain the final report of the Investigation and discipline imposed and the documentation upon which the person or persons conducting the Investigation relied for a period of seven years after the termination of an Investigation and the imposition of discipline, if any, and shall, upon an appropriate request, provide a copy to an authorized official of the entity or agency that sponsored the Research. The final report and the documentation must be kept confidential.

18. Cautions and Assistance

  1. The gathering and assessing of information in cases of alleged Research Misconduct can be extremely difficult. It is essential to protect the professional reputations of those involved, as well as the interests of the public and of any who might be harmed by the alleged misconduct. In the course of conducting inquiries or Investigations, the following provisions are applicable:
    1. Expert assistance should be sought as necessary to conduct a thorough and authoritative evaluation of all Evidence.
    2. Precautions should be taken to avoid unresolved personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest on the part of those involved in the Inquiry or Investigation.
    3. The anonymity of Respondents and, if they wish it, the confidentiality of Complainants shall be protected (where feasible), and care must be taken to protect the positions and reputations of those involved in the Research (including Research subjects) and in the Research Misconduct proceeding from harm (including Retaliation). Except as required in the reporting provisions above, only those directly involved in an Inquiry or Investigation or with a need to know should be aware that the process is being conducted or have any access to information obtained during its course. Where appropriate, efforts will be made to restore the reputations of the Respondent(s) when Allegations are not confirmed.
  2. Questions on the applicability and interpretation of this policy should be directed to the Office of the Associate Vice President for Research and the Office of Legal Affairs

19. Related Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines

Appendix A: Definitions

“Allegation” means a disclosure of possible Research Misconduct through any means of communication.

“Complainant” means a person who in Good Faith makes an Allegation of Research Misconduct.

“Evidence” means any document, tangible item, or testimony offered or obtained during a Research Misconduct proceeding that tends to prove or disprove the existence of an alleged fact.

“Fabrication” means the action of making up of data, results, or time and effort, and recording or reporting such made-up data, results, or time and effort.

“Falsification” means the manipulation of Research materials, equipment, processes, or time and effort reports (“Personal Activity Reports”), or changing or omitting data or results such that the Research is not accurately represented in the Research Record or a Personal Activity Report does not accurately report time and effort.

Federal Policy” means the Federal Policy on Research Misconduct as adopted by the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.

“Good Faith” means having a belief in the truth of one’s Allegation or testimony that a reasonable person in the Complainant’s or the witness’s position could have based on the information known to the Complainant or the witness at the time. An Allegation of, or cooperation with, a Research Misconduct proceeding is not in Good Faith if made with knowing or reckless disregard for information that would negate the Allegation or testimony. Good Faith as applied to a member of a Committee of Inquiry or a Committee of Investigation means cooperating with the Research Misconduct proceeding by carrying out the duties assigned impartially for the purpose of helping the University meet its responsibilities under this policy. A committee member does not act in Good Faith if his or her acts or omissions on the committee are dishonest or influenced by personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest with those involved in the Research Misconduct proceeding.

“Inquiry” means a preliminary information-gathering and preliminary fact-finding process to determine whether an Allegation or an apparent instance of Research Misconduct has enough substance to merit an Investigation. The outcome of an Inquiry is a determination as to whether or not an Investigation should be conducted.

“Investigation” means a formal examination and evaluation of relevant facts to determine whether Research Misconduct has occurred.

“Material Breach” means a failure to comply with a state or federal law or regulation or a University policy in such a way that the act of noncompliance frustrates the purpose for which the state or federal law or regulation or University Policy was enacted or adopted.

“OIG” stands for the “Office of Inspector General” and is used in this policy to designate the division within each federal agency that is charged with the responsibility for addressing Research Misconduct in connection with Research funded by that agency. While OIG is the most common designation among federal agencies for the division charged with handling Research Misconduct, some agencies use other names. For example, the Public Health Service uses the name “Office of Research Integrity” (“ORI”) and the Department of Veterans Affairs uses the name “Office of Research Oversight” (“ORO”).

“Preponderance of the Evidence” is proof by information that, compared with that opposing it, leads to the conclusion that the fact at issue is more probably true than not.

“Plagiarism” means the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

“Research” means basic, applied, and demonstration inquiry within any academic discipline. Here, inquiry should not be confused with the information gathering process described under the investigative procedures of this policy. Research includes, but is not limited to, inquiry in the disciplines of the physical sciences, engineering, mathematics, technology, theology, art, humanities, economics, education, linguistics, medicine, psychology, social sciences, statistics, and Research involving human subjects or animals. The scope of the term “Research” includes, but is not limited to, pilot studies, data collection for theses and dissertations, and Research carried out for scholarly, consulting, or entrepreneurial purposes or a combination thereof. Research is defined differently by various governmental agencies. For example, the definition of Research involving human subjects (see 45 CFR §46.102) is different from the definition of the term found in the Federal Policy. The definition in this policy is an expansion of the definition of the term Research found in the Federal Policy. The intent of this expanded language is to ensure that the definition encompasses all scholarly Research conducted at the University whether by faculty, students, staff, or other Researchers.

"Research Misconduct" means either (a) Fabrication, Falsification, or Plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing Research, or in reporting Research results or time and effort; or (b) the material failure to comply with Federal requirements, University policies, or both, for the protection of Researchers, human subjects or the public, or for insuring the welfare of laboratory animals. Research Misconduct does not include honest errors or honest differences in the interpretations or judgments of data. However, a finding of Research Misconduct must be rendered where a preponderance of Evidence indicates that a person has (a) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly departed significantly from the generally accepted practices within his or her academic discipline’s Research community or (b) committed a Material Breach of a governmental law or regulation, a University policy, or both, for the protection of Researchers, human subjects, or the public, or for insuring the welfare of laboratory animals.

“Research Record” means the documentation of data or results that embody the results of academic Inquiry, including, but not limited to, Research proposals, laboratory records, both physical and electronic, progress reports, abstracts, theses, oral presentations, internal reports, journal articles, and Personal Activity Reports.

“Researcher” means any individual engaged in Research, including, but not limited to, all University faculty members regardless of title or rank, scholars, scientists, trainees, technicians, staff members, students, fellows, guest Researchers, or collaborators.

“Respondent” means the person against whom an Allegation of Research Misconduct is directed or who is the subject of a Research Misconduct proceeding.

“Retaliation” means an adverse action taken by the University against a Complainant, witness, or committee member in response to:

  1. A Good Faith Allegation of Research Misconduct; or
  2. Good Faith cooperation with a Research Misconduct proceeding.

“University Policies” means, for the purposes of this policy, all University Policies included in the University Policy Manual and all other procedures, guidelines and requirements of the Office of Research and Graduate Studies and the Office of Grant and Contract Accounting and the procedures, guidelines and requirements of all University colleges, schools, departments, centers, institutes, and divisions.


Revised: January 2, 2019

Adopted: October 23, 2006