Research Protections Policies
RP02 Addressing Allegations of Research Misconduct
Subject Matter Expert:
Policy Steward:Associate Vice President for Research, Director of the Office for Research Protections>
- Definition of Terms
- General Policy and Principles
- Further Information
To establish policy and procedures to address allegations of research misconduct.
Public trust in the integrity and ethical behavior of scholars is essential if research and other scholarly activities are to play their proper role in the University and in society. The maintenance of high ethical standards is a central and critical responsibility of faculty and administrators of academic institutions. Policy AD47 sets forth statements of general standards of professional ethics within the academic community. It is the shared responsibility of all members of our academic community to comply with the processes outlined in this policy in a timely and effective manner.
Research misconduct is prohibited. Allegations of research misconduct shall be addressed in accordance with this policy and applicable regulations.
Faculty and staff members and students are required to comply with this policy and applicable regulations. Individuals in violation of this policy may be subject to imposition of corrective actions, including, but not limited to, dismissal from employment or enrollment (see Section XI of this Policy).
Regardless of funding or funding source, this Policy applies to the research of faculty, staff, students, and any persons employed at the University.
Research & Research Misconduct:
Research means a systematic investigation, study, evaluation, demonstration, or experiment designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. This applies to all fields of scholarly study, including but not limited to all fields of science, mathematics, engineering, arts, and the humanities.
Research Misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. It does not include honest error or differences of opinion.
Fabrication is defined as making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
Falsification is defined as manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.
Plagiarism is defined as the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.
Research Misconduct Process:
Allegation is defined as any oral or written disclosure of possible research misconduct made to the Research Integrity Officer.
Assessment is defined as reviewing an allegation of research misconduct to determine whether to move forward to Inquiry. The Assessment phase seeks to determine if the allegation falls within the definition of research misconduct and whether it is sufficiently credible and specific such that potential evidence of research misconduct may be identified.
Inquiry is defined as information-gathering and preliminary fact-finding to determine whether an allegation or apparent instance of research misconduct warrants an investigation.
Investigation is defined as a formal examination and evaluation of relevant facts to determine whether research misconduct has taken place or, if research misconduct has already been confirmed, to assess its extent and consequences and determine appropriate action.
Research Misconduct Roles:
Complainant is defined as the person who makes a good-faith allegation of research misconduct.
Deciding Official (“DO”) is the institutional official who makes the final determination regarding allegations of research misconduct and institutional recommendations and/or corrective actions at Inquiry and Investigation.
Research Integrity Officer (RIO) means the individual appointed by the Senior Vice President for Research to assume the responsibilities assigned to the Research Integrity Officer under this policy and applicable regulations.
Respondent is defined as the person against whom an allegation of research misconduct is directed or who is the subject of a research misconduct proceeding.
I. Responsibility to Report Possible Research Misconduct
Anyone having reason to believe that a member of the faculty, staff or student body has engaged in research misconduct has a responsibility to report pertinent facts in accordance with this policy. The person may discuss the situation with the RIO or may report the facts through other established reporting procedures, such as the University's ethics hotline. If the circumstances described do not meet the definition of research misconduct, the RIO may refer the individual or allegation to other offices or officials with responsibility for resolving the problem.
II. Responsibility to Cooperate
All individuals subject to this Policy shall cooperate with the RIO and other institutional officials in the review of allegations and the conduct of Inquiries and Investigations. All individuals subject to this Policy, including Respondents, have an obligation to provide evidence relevant to research misconduct allegations to the RIO or other institutional official(s). Failure to cooperate or to provide relevant evidence will not prevent the process defined in this Policy from proceeding and may lead to other disciplinary actions.
To the maximum extent possible, the RIO and all participants in the process will endeavor to protect the confidentiality of Respondents and Complainants, and of research subjects identifiable from research records or evidence, by limiting disclosure of information related to the research misconduct proceedings to those who need to know in order to carry out a thorough, competent, objective, and fair research misconduct proceeding or as required by law. At the RIO’s discretion, written confidentiality agreements or other mechanisms may be used when appropriate to maintain the confidentiality required by this Policy and any applicable federal, state, and/or local regulations and/or any other funder-specific requirements . The goal of maintaining confidentiality shall not prohibit University officials from consulting, on a confidential basis and to the extent necessary, with other offices or individuals at the University and/or persons outside the University community with relevant experience or expertise to thoroughly investigate the allegations. The RIO, in consultation with other University officials and offices as appropriate, shall be the University official responsible for determining when a release of information to University affiliated individuals is necessary or appropriate. The DO, in consultation with the RIO and other University officials and offices as appropriate, shall be the University official responsible for determining when a release of information outside of the University is necessary or appropriate.
IV. Interim Administrative Actions and Notifying Federal Agencies of Special Circumstances
Throughout the research misconduct proceeding, the RIO will ensure that warranted interim actions are taken to protect public health, sponsor funds and equipment, and the integrity of the research process, and to ensure that the purposes of the research activity and the financial assistance are carried out. Such actions may include, for example, additional monitoring of the research process and the handling of federal funds and equipment, reassignment of personnel or of responsibility for handling federal funds and equipment, additional review of research data and results, and/or delay in publication.
To the extent required by regulation or by the sponsor, the RIO shall, at any time during a research misconduct proceeding, notify appropriate federal or other officials of facts that may be relevant to protect public health, federal or other sponsor funds and equipment, and the integrity of the sponsor-supported research process and shall make other interim reports required by research sponsors*.
A. Assessment of Allegations
As soon as practicable after receiving an allegation of research misconduct, the RIO will assess the allegation to determine whether it (1) falls within the definition of research misconduct in this Policy and any applicable federal regulations, and (2) is sufficiently credible and specific so that potential evidence of research misconduct may be identified. If both of these criteria are met, an Inquiry will be conducted unless the RIO determines that unusual circumstances exist that make an Inquiry infeasible or otherwise not warranted (such as that the data at issue is no longer available).
B. Documentation of Decision not to Proceed to Inquiry
If an Assessment of the allegation(s) determines that the allegation(s) do not meet the criteria to proceed to Inquiry, the RIO shall secure and maintain sufficiently detailed documentation to justify why an Inquiry was not performed or to permit a later Assessment by supporting federal agencies. These documents shall be maintained by the RIO for the applicable retention period and provided to authorized federal personnel upon request.
C. Sequestration of the Research Records
The RIO has the authority to secure and/or copy data, research records, and other evidence related to the allegation(s) in order to fulfill obligations under federal, state, and/or local regulations, funder-specific requirements, and University policy to thoroughly review and resolve allegations of research misconduct. On or before the date on which the Respondent is notified, or the Inquiry begins, whichever is later, the RIO shall take all reasonable and practical steps to obtain custody of all the original research records and evidence needed to conduct the research misconduct proceeding, inventory the records and evidence, and sequester them in a secure manner. If deemed appropriate, sequestration may be limited to copies of the data or evidence, so long as those copies have substantially equivalent evidentiary value. When appropriate, additional or new evidence discovered after the initial sequestration should be sequestered as soon as practicable after it is identified. Failure to provide evidence at the time of sequestration may impact the credibility of such evidence.
VI. Admissions of Misconduct
An allegation may be resolved on the basis that the Respondent has admitted responsibility and a resolution with the Respondent has been satisfactorily reached, provided that applicable federal agency requirements regarding early termination of the process are met. Should a Respondent make an admission, the RIO, in consultation with the DO and other appropriate University officials, shall promptly consult with any appropriate federal agencies to determine the next steps that should be taken. If resolving an allegation due to Respondent admission, the RIO must ensure this action would not prejudice or interfere with the University's review of another allegation against that Respondent or against a different Respondent.
A. Notice to Respondent
At the time of or before beginning an Inquiry, the RIO shall make a good faith effort to notify the Respondent and other relevant parties as determined by the RIO in writing of the decision to conduct an Inquiry. If the Inquiry subsequently identifies additional Respondents, they shall also be notified in writing.
B. Initiation and Purpose of the Inquiry
The purpose of the Inquiry is to conduct preliminary information-gathering and fact-finding to determine if an allegation of research misconduct has substance. The purpose is not to determine whether research misconduct occurred, who was responsible, or to conduct exhaustive interviews and/or analysis. If an allegation appears to have substance, then an Investigation is warranted. See part H of this Section for further information regarding the standard for determining when to move to Investigation.
C. Appointment of the Inquiry Official or Committee
The RIO is responsible for conducting, or designating others to conduct, the Inquiry. In cases where the allegations and apparent evidence are straightforward, the RIO may choose to conduct the Inquiry directly or designate another qualified individual, referred to as the Inquiry Official, to do so. The Inquiry Official shall not have unresolved personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest in relation to the Inquiry and should have appropriate scientific expertise to evaluate the evidence and issues related to the allegation and conduct the Inquiry.
In complex cases, the RIO may appoint a committee of three or more persons, including a committee chair, to conduct the Inquiry. Where warranted, the RIO may determine that a smaller or larger committee is appropriate. The members of the Inquiry Committee shall be individuals with the appropriate scientific or other expertise to evaluate the evidence and issues related to the allegation. The RIO may seek recommendations from other University officials when choosing an Inquiry Official or Committee member. Where necessary to secure expertise or to avoid conflicts of interest, the RIO may select committee members or officials from outside the University.
The Inquiry Official or Committee members will be vetted for and shall not have unresolved personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest in relation to the Inquiry. If, after the Inquiry has begun, it comes to light that either the Inquiry Official or a member of the Inquiry Committee has any unresolved personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest with the individual(s) involved in the allegations, then that person shall be recused from participation in the research misconduct proceeding.
Upon receiving notification of the proposed Inquiry Official or Committee, the Respondent shall have no more than 10 calendar days to object to the proposed individual(s) based upon a personal, professional, or financial conflict of interest, by submitting written objections to the RIO. The RIO makes the final determination as to whether a conflict exists.
D. Charge to the Inquiry Official or Committee
The RIO will prepare a charge to the Inquiry Official or Inquiry Committee that:
- sets forth the time for completion of the Inquiry;
- describes the allegation(s) and any related issue(s) identified during the Assessment;
- states the purpose of the Inquiry as defined in part B of this Section;
- states the criteria for determining that an Investigation is warranted (see part H of this Section); and
- states that the Inquiry Official or Committee is responsible for preparing a written report of the Inquiry that meets the requirements of part I of this Section.
The RIO or his or her designee will be available throughout the Inquiry to advise the Inquiry Official or Committee as needed.
E. Adding Respondents and/or Allegations
If additional Respondents are identified during the Inquiry, the RIO will notify the new Respondent(s) in writing of the allegations to be added. Additionally, all existing Respondents should be made aware of any new or modified allegations not in the initial notice of the Inquiry. If appropriate, the RIO should sequester any additional relevant evidence pursuant to part C of Section V.
F. Interview Process
If interviews are conducted as part of the Inquiry at the discretion of the Inquiry Official or Committee, each interview shall be recorded or transcribed. The transcript shall be provided to the interviewee for review and will be included (with any written corrections) in the record of the Inquiry.
G. Time for Completion
The Inquiry, including preparation of the final Inquiry Report and the decision of the DO on whether an Investigation is warranted, must be completed within 60 calendar days of its initiation unless the RIO determines that circumstances warrant a longer period. If the Inquiry takes longer than 60 calendar days, and the RIO and/or any federal agency (as applicable) approves an extension, the Inquiry record shall include documentation of the reasons for exceeding the 60 calendar-day period. The Respondent will be notified of any extension of time granted to the Inquiry Official or Committee.
H. Standard for Determination
After evaluation of the evidence the Inquiry Official or Committee shall determine whether an Investigation is warranted. An Investigation is warranted if: (1) there is a reasonable basis for concluding that the allegation falls within the definition of research misconduct in this Policy and (2) preliminary information-gathering and preliminary fact-finding from the Inquiry indicate that the allegation may have substance.
I. The Inquiry Report
A written Inquiry Report shall be prepared by the Inquiry Official or Committee, with the assistance of the RIO, that includes the following information:
- a description of the allegation(s) of research misconduct;
- pertinent federal agency support, e.g., grant numbers, grant applications, contracts, and publications listing such support;
- a summary of the Inquiry process and the research records reviewed;
- explanation of which allegations warrant an Investigation;
- any written comments on the draft report by the Respondent; and
- whether any other actions should be taken if an Investigation is not warranted.
The Inquiry Report shall either be signed by the Inquiry Official or by each member of the Inquiry Committee or shall include other written evidence of each person’s concurrence or non-concurrence with the findings and conclusions of the Inquiry.
J. Opportunity to Comment on the Inquiry Report
The Research Integrity Officer shall provide the Respondent with a copy of the draft Inquiry Report and all attachments, including a copy of this Policy and any applicable federal research misconduct policy. In the case of physical evidence, the RIO will provide the Respondent with supervised access if requested. The Respondent shall be provided with an opportunity to review and comment on the Inquiry Report. Any comments from the Respondent must be in writing and received within 10 calendar days of his/her receipt of the Inquiry Report. Based on the comments, the Inquiry Official or Committee may revise the draft report as appropriate before finalizing and submitting the signed report to the RIO.
K. Decision and Notification
1. Decision by the Deciding Official
The RIO will transmit the final Inquiry Report and any written comments to the DO, who will determine in writing whether an Investigation is warranted. The Inquiry is complete when the DO makes this determination.
If the DO’s determination differs from the findings of the Inquiry Official or Committee, the DO will, as part of their written determination, explain in detail the basis for rendering a decision different from the findings of the Inquiry Official or Committee. Alternately, the DO may return the report to the Inquiry Official or Committee with a request for further fact-finding or analysis.
2. Notice to Respondent and Complainant
When a final decision has been reached, the RIO shall notify the Respondent of the DO’s determination. This notice shall include a copy of the Inquiry Report and any attachments and include a copy of or refer to this Policy and any applicable federal research misconduct policy. The RIO may also notify the Complainant of the outcome of the Inquiry.
3. Notice to Applicable Sponsor or Federal Agency
The RIO is responsible for ensuring compliance with all notification requirements of funding or sponsoring agencies. When required, the RIO shall provide to applicable sponsors or federal agencies any required reports regarding the Inquiry and decision to initiate an Investigation. For cases involving ORI jurisdiction, within 30 calendar days of the DO’s decision that an Investigation is warranted, but not later than the date the Investigation begins, the RIO shall provide ORI with the DO’s written decision and a copy of the Inquiry Report and all attachments. The RIO will also notify University officials of the DO’s decision as necessary. In cases involving current or former students, the University will not release educational records without receipt of a subpoena unless the individual has signed a family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) release form.
4. Documentation of Decision Not to Investigate
If the Inquiry Official or Committee recommends and the DO determines that an Investigation is not warranted, the RIO shall secure and maintain, for the required retention period after the termination of the Inquiry, sufficiently detailed documentation of the Inquiry to permit a later assessment by supporting federal agencies of the reasons why an Investigation was not conducted. These documents will be provided to authorized federal personnel upon request.
A. Initiation and Purpose
In accordance with federal regulations, the Investigation shall begin within 30 calendar days after the DO’s determination that one is warranted. If an extension of time to begin the Investigation is needed, it must be requested from the appropriate federal agency, or if the allegation(s) involve non-sponsored research, the RIO must document the reason for the extension in the case file. The purpose of the Investigation is to develop a factual record by exploring the allegation(s) in detail and examining the evidence in depth, leading to findings on whether research misconduct has been committed, by whom, and to what extent. The Investigation will also determine whether there are additional instances of possible research misconduct that would justify broadening the scope beyond the initial allegations. The findings of the Investigation shall be set forth in the Investigation Report as outlined in part I of this Section.
B. Appointment of the Investigation Committee
The RIO will appoint an Investigation Committee and committee chair to conduct the Investigation. The RIO may seek recommendations from other University officials when choosing Investigation Committee members. The Investigation Committee shall consist of individuals who do not have unresolved personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest in relation to the Investigation. Investigation Committee members shall have appropriate scientific or other expertise to evaluate the evidence and issues related to the allegation, interview the Respondent and Complainant, and conduct the Investigation. When necessary to secure expertise or to avoid conflicts of interest, the RIO may select committee members from outside the University. The RIO may not serve as a member of the Investigation Committee.
The Respondent shall have an opportunity to object to proposed members of the Investigation Committee based upon personal, professional, or financial conflict of interest, by submitting written objections to the Research Integrity Officer no more than 10 calendar days following notification regarding the committee membership. The Research Integrity Officer makes the final determination as to whether a conflict exists.
C. Charge to the Investigation Committee
The RIO will define the subject matter of the Investigation in a written charge to the Investigation Committee that:
- describes the allegation(s) and related issues identified during the Inquiry;
- identifies the Respondent(s);
- informs the Investigation Committee that it must conduct the Investigation as set forth in this Policy;
- defines “research misconduct”;
- informs the Committee of the purpose of Investigation, as described in part A of this Section; and
- informs the Investigation Committee that it must prepare a written Investigation Report that meets the requirements of part I of this Section.
The RIO will be available throughout the Investigation to advise the Inquiry Committee as needed.
D. Adding Respondents and/or Allegations
If additional Respondents or allegations are identified during the Investigation, the RIO will notify the new Respondent(s) in writing of the allegations to be added. Additionally, all existing Respondents should be made aware of any new or modified allegations not in the initial notice of the Investigation. If appropriate, the RIO should sequester any additional relevant evidence pursuant to part C of Section V of this Policy.
E. Investigation Process
The Investigation Committee and the RIO shall:
- Use diligent efforts to ensure that the Investigation is thorough and sufficiently documented and includes examination of all research records and evidence relevant to reaching a decision on the merits of each allegation;
- Take reasonable steps to ensure an impartial and unbiased Investigation to the maximum extent practical, including participation of persons with appropriate scientific expertise who do not have unresolved personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest with those involved with the Inquiry or Investigation;
- Interview each Respondent, Complainant, and any other available person who has been reasonably identified as having information regarding any relevant aspects of the Investigation, including witnesses identified by the Respondent, and record and transcribe each interview, provide the recording or transcript to the interviewee for correction, and include the recording or transcript, and any written corrections, in the record of the Investigation; and
- Pursue diligently all significant issues and leads discovered that are determined relevant to the Investigation, including any evidence of additional instances of possible research misconduct, and continue the Investigation to completion.
Additionally, when a University student is the Respondent in an allegation of research misconduct, the RIO may consult with the relevant University office(s) on behalf of the Investigation Committee to determine whether the student has ever been disciplined for violations of academic integrity involving plagiarism, fabrication, or falsification. The RIO will provide any relevant information obtained to the Investigation Committee to inform them in their consideration of any pattern of behavior and level of intent of the Respondent pursuant to this Policy.
F. Additional Sequestration of Research Records during Investigation
Throughout the Investigation, the RIO shall take all reasonable and practical steps to obtain custody of and sequester in a secure manner all research records and evidence necessary to conduct the research misconduct proceeding that were not previously sequestered during the Inquiry. See part C of Section V of this Policy for additional details about the sequestration process and procedures.
G. Standard for Making a Finding of Research Misconduct
In order to make a finding of research misconduct, the Investigation Committee must find by a preponderance of the evidence that:
- research misconduct, as defined in this Policy and/or applicable federal agency regulations or policies, occurred;
- the research misconduct is a significant departure from the accepted practices of the relevant research community; and
- the Respondent committed the research misconduct recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally.
The RIO will advise the Investigation Committee of any additional applicable regulatory standards for making a finding of research misconduct. (See, e.g., 42 CFR 93.106—Evidentiary Standards.)
H. Time for Completion
The Investigation shall ordinarily be completed within 120 calendar days of its initiation, including conducting the Investigation, preparing the report of findings, providing the draft report for comment, and sending the final report to the DO, the Respondent, and any applicable federal agency. However, if the Investigation Committee determines that the Investigation will not be completed within the 120 calendar-day period, or as requested by the applicable agency, the RIO (on behalf of the Committee) shall submit the request for an extension to the applicable agency. If no agency is involved, the Committee shall submit a written request to the RIO for an extension, including an explanation of the reason for the delay.
I. The Investigation Report
The Investigation Committee is responsible for preparing a written Investigation Report, with the assistance of the RIO, which shall:
- describe the nature of the allegation(s) of research misconduct;
- describe and document any federal or private funding, including grant numbers, grant applications, contracts, and publications listing such support;
- describe the specific allegation(s) of research misconduct considered in the Investigation;
- include or reference a copy of this Policy and any applicable federal regulations; and
- identify and summarize the research records and evidence reviewed.
The report shall summarize the facts and analysis that support the conclusions of the report and consider the merits of any explanation by the Respondent. The report should also include a statement of findings for each separate allegation of research misconduct identified during the Investigation. Each statement of findings shall provide a decision as to whether misconduct did or did not occur, as per the standard set forth part G of this Section, and the responsible parties. Additionally, the Committee shall provide recommendations for corrective actions as appropriate, such as retraction or correction of publications, monitoring, retraining, etc., as noted in Section XI of this Policy.
The Investigation Report shall either be signed by each member of the Investigation Committee or include other written evidence of each member's concurrence or non-concurrence with the findings and conclusions of the Investigation.
J. Comments on the Draft Investigation Report and Access to Evidence
The RIO shall provide the Respondent with a copy of the draft Investigation Report for comment with all attachments, including a copy of this policy and any applicable federal regulation. In the case of physical evidence, the RIO will provide the Respondent with supervised access, if requested. The Respondent will be given 30 calendar days to review the draft report and submit written comments to the RIO. The Respondent’s comments will be taken into consideration by the Investigation Committee when preparing the final Investigation Report and shall be included as an attachment.
K. Decision and Notification
The Research Integrity Officer will assist the investigation committee in finalizing the draft Investigation Report, including ensuring that the Respondent's and, in appropriate cases, the Complainant's written comments are included and considered.
1. Decision by the Deciding Official (DO)
The RIO will transmit the final investigation report to the DO, who will determine in writing the following:
(a) whether the University accepts the Investigation's findings; and
(b) the appropriate internal actions to be taken or recommended in response to the accepted findings of research misconduct.
If the DO ’s determination differs from the findings of the Inquiry Official or Committee, the DO will, as part of their written determination, explain in detail the basis for rendering a decision different from the findings of the Inquiry Official or Committee. Alternately, the DO may return the report to the Inquiry Official or Committee with a request for further fact-finding or analysis.
2. Notice to Respondent and Complainant
When a final decision has been reached, the RIO shall notify the Respondent of the DO’s determination. This notice shall include a copy of the DO’s determination as well as the Investigation Report and any attachments and include a copy of or refer to this Policy and any applicable federal research misconduct policy. The RIO may also notify the Complainant of the outcome of the Investigation.
3. Notice to Applicable Sponsore or Federal Agency
The RIO is responsible for ensuring compliance with all notification requirements of funding or sponsoring agencies. When required, the RIO will provide the applicable sponsor or agency with a copy of the DO’s written determination, a copy of the Investigation Report, including all attachments, and, if required by the agency, a description of any pending or completed administrative actions involving the Respondent(s). In cases involving current or former students, the University will not release educational records without receipt of a subpoena unless the individual has signed a family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) release form.
4. Notice to Others
The DO, in consultation with the RIO and other University officials as necessary, will determine whether law enforcement agencies, professional societies, professional licensing boards, editors of journals in which affected articles or reports may have been published, collaborators of the Respondent(s), or other relevant parties should be notified of the outcome of the Investigation.
IX. Completion of Cases and Reporting Resolutions to Applicable Federal Agencies
Generally, all Inquiries and Investigations will be carried through to completion and all significant issues will be pursued diligently. However, as noted in Section VI of this Policy, the RIO shall, if required by a federal agency, notify said federal agency in advance if there are plans to resolve a case at the Inquiry or Investigation stage on the basis that the Respondent has admitted to committing research misconduct, a settlement with the Respondent has been reached, or for any other reason except that: (1) no notification to federal agencies need be provided when a case is resolved after an Inquiry that finds pursuant to part H of Section VII of this Policy that an Investigation is not warranted; and (2) if an Investigation is completed, the University's findings must be reported as specified under part G of Section VIII of this Policy.
X. Maintaining Records for Review by Federal Agencies
The RIO shall maintain, and upon request, provide to authorized federal officials, records of research misconduct proceedings, including: (1) records secured by the University for the Assessment, Inquiry, and Investigation; (2) documentation of the determination of irrelevant or duplicate records; (3) the Inquiry Report and final documents produced in the course of preparing that report, including the documentation of any decision not to investigate; and (4) the Investigation Report and the records in support of that report, including the recording or transcript of each interview conducted pursuant to this Policy.
Unless custody has been transferred to the applicable federal agency or the agency has advised the University, in writing, that the records no longer need to be retained, these records shall be maintained in a secure manner for seven years after the later of completion of the proceeding or the completion of any federal agency proceeding involving the research misconduct allegation.
The Research Integrity Officer is also responsible for providing any information, documentation, research records, evidence, or clarification requested by authorized federal officials to carry out their review of an allegation of research misconduct or of the University's handling of such an allegation.
XI. Internal Corrective Actions
If the DO determines that a finding of research misconduct is substantiated, the University, through the DO, RIO, or other appropriate official(s) may adopt corrective actions, which may include, but are not limited to:
- unannounced or announced audits;
- a letter of reprimand or admonishment to be included in Respondent’s file;
- supervision or monitoring of future work, including a requirement for certification by senior personnel that a person’s work met specified conditions;
- removal from the research project in question;
- formal notification of sponsoring agencies, funding sources, co-authors, co-investigators, collaborators or journal editors;
- withdrawal or correction of pending abstracts and papers emanating from the research where research misconduct was found;
- formal withdrawal of pending applications for research support;
- public announcements; and/or
- restitution of funds.
If the DO determines that a finding of research misconduct is substantiated, the DO may also recommend disciplinary actions to the appropriate University official(s), which may include, but are not limited to:
- probation or suspension;
- initiation of steps leading to possible impact on salary or financial aid;
- initiation of steps leading to revocation of a degree;
- initiation of steps leading to possible expulsion from the University; and/or
- initiation of steps leading to possible termination of employment.
None of these actions limit the authority of the funding sponsor to impose its own sanctions or corrective actions.
XII. Other Considerations
A. Protecting the Respondent
Respondents may consult with legal counsel or a non-lawyer personal adviser (who is not a principal or witness in the case) to seek advice.
As appropriate, the RIO and other University officials shall make all reasonable and practical efforts to protect or restore the reputation of persons alleged to have engaged in research misconduct but against whom no finding of research misconduct is made. Depending on the particular circumstances and the views of the Respondent, the RIO should consider whether to notify those individuals aware of or involved in the research misconduct proceeding of the final outcome, publicize the final outcome in any forum in which the allegation of research misconduct was previously publicized, and/or recommend the expungement of references to the research misconduct allegation from the Respondent's personnel file.
B. Protecting the Complainant, Witnesses and Committee Members
In accordance with Policy AD67, Disclosure of Wrongful Conduct and Protection from Retaliation, any individual under the purview of Policy RP02 University may not retaliate in any way against Complainants, witnesses, or Committee members. Individuals subject to this policy should immediately report any alleged or apparent retaliation against Complainants, witnesses, or Committee members to the RIO.
During the research misconduct proceeding and upon its completion, regardless of whether or not the University or a federal agency determines that research misconduct occurred, the RIO shall undertake all reasonable and practical efforts to protect the position and reputation of, or to counter potential or actual retaliation against, any Complainant who made allegations of research misconduct in good faith and of any witnesses and Committee members who cooperate in good faith with the research misconduct proceeding.
C. Allegations Not Made in Good Faith
If necessary, the DO, in consultation with the RIO, Investigation Committee, and other University officials (as appropriate) will determine whether the Complainant's allegations of research misconduct were made in good faith, or whether a witness Official, or Committee Member acted in good faith. If the DO determines that the Complainant knowingly made a false allegation of research misconduct or that a witness, Official, or Committee Member did not act in good faith, the DO shall determine whether any administrative action will be taken or whether any disciplinary action will be recommended to the appropriate University official(s).
*Regulations applicable to research misconduct allegations under U.S. Public Health Service (“PHS”) jurisdiction require immediate notification of the PHS Office of Research Integrity (“ORI”) if the University has reason to believe that any of the following conditions exist: (1) health or safety of the public is at risk, including an immediate need to protect human or animal subjects; (2) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) resources or interests are threatened; (3) research activities should be suspended; (4) there is a reasonable indication of possible violations of civil or criminal law; (5) federal action is required to protect the interests of those involved in the research misconduct proceeding; (6) the University believes the research misconduct proceeding may be made public prematurely (so that HHS may take appropriate steps to safeguard evidence and protect the rights of those involved); or (7) the research community or public should be informed. 42 C.F.R. 93.318. Regulations applicable to research misconduct allegations under National Science Foundation (“NSF”) jurisdiction require prompt notification of the NSF Office of Inspector General (“NSF OIG”) should the University become aware during an Inquiry or Investigation that: (1) Public health or safety is at risk; (2) NSF’s resources, reputation, or other interests need protecting; (3) There is reasonable indication of possible violations of civil or criminal law; (4) Research activities should be suspended; (5) Federal action may be needed to protect the interests of a subject of the Investigation or of others potentially affected; or (6) The scientific community or the public should be informed. 45 C.F.R. 689.4(c).
For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this policy, please contact the Office of the Associate Vice President for Research, Director of the Office for Research Protections.
Other Policies should also be referenced, especially the following:
AD47 - General Standards of Professional Ethics
AD67 - Disclosure of Wrongful Conduct and Protection from Retaliation
IP01 - Ownership and Management of Intellectual Property
IP02 - Co-Authorship of Scholarly Reports, Papers, and Publications
RA12 - Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurial Activity (Faculty Research)
RP03 - The Use of Human Participants in Research
Most Recent Changes:
- September 1, 2023 - Updated Subject Matter Expert to Debra Thurley.
Revision History (and effective dates):
- November 16, 2022 - Updates throughout to clarify policy procedures.
- March 18, 2022 - Minor editorial changes.
- September 13, 2019 - Changed Vice President for Research to Senior Vice President for Research.
- June 8, 2015 - This policy was previously a Research Administration policy, RA10. It has been moved from the Research Administration section to the Research Protections section to reflect the reorganization, and links/cross references have been edited as appropriate.
- January 26, 2015- Editorial change to the DEFINITION OF TERMS section, clarifying the definition for the Research Integrity Officer (addition of the Associate Vice President for Research and Director of the Office for Research Protections to the definition).
- August 13, 2013- Major revisions to the entire policy.
- February 24, 2010 - Editorial changes. Changed the title of "Senior Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School" TO "Vice President for Research," along with capitalizing Budget Executive and Budget Administrator references, where necessary. Updated links and other policy titles throughout the policy.
- January 1, 2010 - Editorial changes. Title changed FROM "Senior Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School" TO "Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School," to reflect position changes, effective January 1, 2010.
- November 7, 2007 - Editorial changes; revised title in "Definitions" section- changed “Campus Executive Officers” to “Chancellors."
- May 21, 2007 - Revisions to the POLICY, DEFINITIONS and PROCEDURES sections to clarify the handling of inquiries and investigations.
- November 8, 2006 - Editorial change - changed Vice President for Research to Senior Vice President for Research.
- November 11, 2003:
- Purpose revised to emphasize ethic related to research and other scholarly activities.
- Under the DEFINITIONS section: changed "misconduct" to "research misconduct" and updated the definition thereof; added a definition for "allegation."
- For the reporting and oversight of misconduct investigations, changed "budget administrator" to "Vice President for Research."
- Provided for sequestering of relevant documents and records.
- Other editorial clarifications.
- February 20, 1998 - Relocating and renumbering Policy RA10 from AD04, and updated RA11, RA12, and RA14 locations.
Date Approved:June 4, 2015>
Date Published:June 8, 2015>