Policy RA10 ADDRESSING ALLEGATIONS OF RESEARCH MISCONDUCT (Formerly Handling Inquiries/Investigations Into Questions of Ethics in Research and in Other Scholarly Activities)

Contents:

  • Purpose
  • Preamble
  • Policy
  • Definition of Terms
  • General Policy and Principles
  • Procedure
  • Cross-References

  • PURPOSE:

    To establish policy and procedures to address allegations of research misconduct.

    PREAMBLE:

    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.

    POLICY:

    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. Violation of this policy by a member of the faculty or staff, or a student, may subject the faculty or staff member or student to imposition of disciplinary sanctions, including, but not limited to, dismissal from employment or enrollment.

    DEFINITION OF TERMS:

    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.

    Allegation is defined as any oral or written disclosure of possible research misconduct made to an institutional official.

    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.

    Budget Executive - Those individuals who are responsible to the President, Executive Vice President and Provost, or a Vice President for a section of the budget. These individuals are normally the President's administrative staff, academic Deans, and Chancellors. The budget executive approves transactions at the upper dollar levels and specified categories, affirming the programmatic need for the action and that the action is appropriate within University Policies and Guidelines.

    Budget Administrator - Those individuals designated by the Budget Executive as being responsible for operating and controlling specific budget areas within the Budget Executive's administrative area. These individuals approve documents in their own name within the limits of the authorization policy stated below. This group normally includes associate deans, division heads, and department heads. The budget administrator approves transactions at the specified dollar levels and categories, affirming the programmatic need for the action and that the action is appropriate within University Policies and Guidelines.

    Research Integrity Officer means the person appointed by the Vice President for Research to assume the responsibilities assigned to the Research Integrity Officer under this policy and applicable regulations.

    GENERAL POLICY AND PRINCIPLES:

    1. Responsibility to Report Possible Research Misconduct
    2. 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 a Budget Administrator or Budget Executive or the Research Integrity Officer or may report the facts through other established reporting procedures, such as the University's ethics hotline. A Budget Administrator or Budget Executive who receives information about possible research misconduct shall inform the Research Integrity Officer. If the circumstances described do not meet the definition of research misconduct, the Research Integrity Officer may refer the individual or allegation to other offices or officials with responsibility for resolving the problem.

    3. Confidentiality
    4. The Research Integrity Officer shall endeavor to protect the confidentiality of respondents and complainants, and of research subjects identifiable from research records or evidence, by limiting disclosure 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.

    5. Interim Administrative Actions and Notifying Federal Agencies of Special Circumstances

      Throughout the research misconduct proceeding, the Research Integrity Officer 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 delay in publication.

      To the extent required by regulation or by the sponsor, the Research Integrity Officer 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.1

    6. 1 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).

    PROCEDURE:

    1. Conducting the Inquiry


      1. Assessment of Allegations

        As soon as practicable after receiving an allegation of research misconduct, the Research Integrity Officer 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 Research Integrity Officer determines that unusual circumstances exist that make an inquiry infeasible or otherwise not warranted (such as that the conduct at issue is too old; see 42 CFR 93.105).

      2. Notice to Respondent


      3. At the time of or before beginning an Inquiry, the Research Integrity Officer shall make a good faith effort to notify the respondent in writing of the decision to conduct an Inquiry. If the Inquiry subsequently identifies additional respondents, they shall also be notified in writing.

      4. Sequestration of the Research Records


      5. On or before the date on which the respondent is notified, or the Inquiry begins, whichever is earlier, the Research Integrity Officer shall take all reasonable and practical steps to obtain custody of all the research records and evidence needed to conduct the research misconduct proceeding, inventory the records and evidence, and sequester them in a secure manner. 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 have evidentiary value substantially equivalent to that of the instruments.

      6. Appointment of the Inquiry Committee
      7. The Research Integrity Officer is responsible for conducting, or designating others to conduct, the Inquiry.2 In cases where the allegations and apparent evidence are straightforward, the Research Integrity Officer 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.

        2Inquiry 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).

        In complex cases, the Research Integrity Officer, in consultation with other University officials, as appropriate, will normally appoint a committee of three or more persons, including a committee chair, to conduct the Inquiry. Where warranted, the Research Integrity Officer may determine that a smaller or larger committee is appropriate. The members of the inquiry committee shall consist of individuals who do not have unresolved personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest in relation to the Inquiry and should include individuals with the appropriate scientific expertise to evaluate the evidence and issues related to the allegation and conduct the Inquiry. When necessary to secure expertise or to avoid conflicts of interest, the Research Integrity Officer may select committee members from outside the University.

        The Research Integrity Officer, in consultation with the inquiry committee, will determine whether additional experts are needed to provide special expertise to the inquiry committee regarding the analysis of specific evidence. If experts are utilized, their role will be advisory to the inquiry committee.

        The respondent shall have an opportunity to object to the inquiry official or a proposed member of the inquiry committee based upon a personal, professional, or financial conflict of interest, by submitting written objections to the Research Integrity Officer no more than 10 days following notification of the proposed inquiry official or committee membership. The Research Integrity Officer makes the final determination as to whether a conflict exists.

      8. Charge to the Inquiry Committee
      9. The Research Integrity Officer will prepare a charge to the inquiry official or inquiry committee that: (1) sets forth the time for completion of the Inquiry; (2) describes the allegations and any related issues identified during the allegation assessment; (3) states that the purpose of the Inquiry is to conduct an initial review of the evidence to determine whether an Investigation is warranted, not to determine whether research misconduct definitely occurred or who was responsible; (4) states the criteria for determining that an Investigation is warranted; and (5) states that the inquiry official or inquiry committee is responsible for preparing or directing the preparation of a written report of the Inquiry that meets the requirements of Section V of this Policy.

        The Research Integrity Officer may choose to meet with the inquiry official or inquiry committee to review the charge, discuss the allegations, discuss the appropriate procedures for conducting the Inquiry, assist the inquiry official or committee with organizing plans for the Inquiry, and answer any questions raised by the inquiry official or committee. The Research Integrity Officer or his or her designee will be available throughout the Inquiry to advise the inquiry official or inquiry committee as needed.

      10. Inquiry Process
      11. The purpose of the Inquiry is to conduct an initial review of the available evidence to determine whether to conduct an Investigation. The purpose of the Inquiry is not to decide whether research misconduct definitely occurred, determine who committed the research misconduct or conduct exhaustive interviews and analysis. If interviews are conducted as part of the Inquiry, each interview shall be recorded or transcribed, and the recording or transcript shall be provided to the interviewee for correction and shall be included, with any written corrections, in the record of the Inquiry.

        After evaluation of the evidence, the inquiry official or inquiry committee will consult with the Research Integrity Officer and decide whether to recommend that 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.

        If the respondent admits research misconduct, a determination of misconduct may be made at or before the Inquiry stage if all relevant issues are resolved. In that case, the Research Integrity Officer, in consultation with the Vice President for Research and other appropriate University officials, shall promptly consult with any appropriate federal agencies to determine the next steps that should be taken.

      12. Time for Completion


      13. The Inquiry, including preparation of the final inquiry report and the decision of the Vice President for Research on whether an Investigation is warranted, must be completed within 60 days of its initiation unless the Research Integrity Officer determines that circumstances warrant a longer period. If the Inquiry takes longer than 60 days, and the Research Integrity Officer approves an extension, the Inquiry record shall include documentation of the reasons for exceeding the 60-day period.

    2. The Inquiry Report


      1. Elements of the Inquiry Report
      2. A written inquiry report shall be prepared that includes the following information: (1) the name and position of the respondent; (2) a description of the allegations of research misconduct; (3) pertinent federal agency support, including, for example, grant numbers, grant applications, contracts, and publications listing such support; (4) the basis for recommending or not recommending that the allegations warrant an Investigation; and (5) any written comments on the draft report by the respondent or the complainant.

        The inquiry report should also include: the names and titles of the inquiry official or committee members and experts who conducted the Inquiry; a summary of the inquiry process used; a list of the research records reviewed; and whether any other actions should be taken if an Investigation is not recommended. 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.

      3. Opportunity to Comment on the Inquiry Report
      4. The Research Integrity Officer shall provide the respondent with a copy of the draft inquiry report and, concurrently, with a copy of any applicable federal research misconduct policy. 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 days of his/her receipt of the inquiry report and will be attached to the report. Based on the comments, the inquiry committee may revise the draft report as appropriate and prepare it in final form. The Research Integrity Officer will deliver the final report to the Vice President for Research.

        The Research Integrity Officer may provide the complainant with relevant portions of the inquiry report for comment. Any comments from the complainant must be in writing and received within 10 days of his/her receipt of the inquiry report.

      5. Decision and Notification


        1. Decision by the Vice President for Research


        2. The Research Integrity Officer will transmit the final inquiry report and any written comments to the Vice President for Research, who will determine in writing whether an Investigation is warranted. The Inquiry is complete when the Vice President for Research makes this determination.

        3. Notice to Respondent and Complainant


        4. The Research Integrity Officer shall notify the respondent whether the Inquiry found that an Investigation is warranted. The notice shall include a copy of the inquiry report and include a copy of or refer to this Policy and any applicable federal research misconduct policy.

        5. Notice to Applicable Sponsor or Federal Agency


        6. The Research Integrity Officer 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 days of the Vice President for Research's decision that an Investigation is warranted, but not later than the date the Investigation begins, the Research Integrity Officer shall provide ORI with the Vice President for Research's written decision and a copy of the inquiry report. The Research Integrity Officer will also notify University officials who need to know of the Vice President for Research's decision.

        7. Documentation of Decision Not to Investigate


        8. If the Vice President for Research decides that an Investigation is not warranted, the Research Integrity Officer shall secure and maintain, for seven years 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 shall be provided to authorized federal personnel upon request.

    3. Conducting the Investigation


      1. Initiation and Purpose


      2. The Investigation shall begin within 30 days after the Vice President for Research's determination that an Investigation is warranted. The purpose of the Investigation is to develop a factual record by exploring the allegations 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 an investigation report.

      3. Notice to Respondent


      4. Within a reasonable time after determining that an Investigation is warranted, but before the Investigation begins, the Research Integrity Officer shall notify the respondent in writing of the allegations to be investigated. If allegations not addressed during the Inquiry or in the initial notice of the Investigation are pursued, the Research Integrity Officer shall give the respondent written notice of any such new allegations.

      5. Sequestration of the Research Records


      6. Before or at the time the University notifies the respondent of the Investigation, the Research Integrity Officer shall take all reasonable and practical steps to obtain custody of and sequester in a secure manner all research records and evidence needed to conduct the research misconduct proceeding that were not previously sequestered during the Inquiry. 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, in evidentiary value, to the instruments. If additional items become known or relevant during the Investigation, the Research Integrity Officer shall take reasonable and practical steps to obtain custody of those records.

      7. Appointment of the Investigation Committee
      8. As soon as practicable after the Vice President for Research determines that an Investigation is warranted, the Research Integrity Officer, in consultation with other University officials, as appropriate, will appoint an investigation committee and committee chair, which will conduct the Investigation.

        The investigation committee shall consist of individuals who did not serve on the inquiry committee and who do not have unresolved personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest in relation to the Investigation. Investigation committee members should have appropriate scientific 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 Research Integrity Officer may select committee members from outside the University. The Research Integrity Officer 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 days following notification regarding the committee membership. The Research Integrity Officer makes the final determination as to whether a conflict exists.

      9. Charge to the Investigation Committee
      10. The Research Integrity Officer will define the subject matter of the Investigation in a written charge to the investigation committee that: (1) describes the allegations and related issues identified during the Inquiry; (2) identifies the respondent; (3) informs the investigation committee that it must conduct the Investigation as prescribed in this Policy; (4) defines research misconduct; (5) informs the investigation committee that it must evaluate the evidence and testimony to determine whether, based on a preponderance of the evidence, research misconduct occurred and, if so, the type and extent and who was responsible; and (6) informs the investigation committee that it must prepare or direct the preparation of a written investigation report that meets the requirements of Section VII.A.

        The Research Integrity Officer may choose to meet with the investigation committee to review the charge, the inquiry report, and prescribed procedures and standards for the conduct of the Investigation, including the necessity for confidentiality and for developing a specific Investigation plan.

        The investigation committee shall be provided with a copy of this Policy and any applicable federal research misconduct policy. The Research Integrity Officer or designee will ordinarily be available throughout the Investigation to advise the investigation committee as needed.

      11. Investigation Process
      12. The investigation committee and the Research Integrity Officer shall:

        1. 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;
        2. 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;
        3. 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
        4. 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.

      13. Standard for Making a Finding of Research Misconduct
      14. In order to make a finding of research misconduct, the investigation committee must find by a preponderance of the evidence that: (1) research misconduct occurred, as defined in this Policy or applicable federal agency policy; (2) the research misconduct is a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community; and (3) the respondent committed the research misconduct intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly.

        The Research Integrity Officer will advise the investigation committee of any additional applicable regulatory standards for making a finding of research misconduct.  (See, for example, 42 CFR 93.106.)

      15. Time for Completion


      16. The Investigation shall ordinarily be completed within 120 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 any applicable federal agency. However, if the Research Integrity Officer determines that the Investigation will not be completed within the 120-day period, or as requested by the applicable agency, he/she shall submit to the applicable agency, or if no agency is involved, to the Vice President for Research, a written request for an extension setting forth the reasons for the delay.

    4. The Investigation Report


      1. Elements of the Investigation Report


      2. The investigation committee and the Research Integrity Officer are responsible for preparing a written investigation report which shall: (1) describe the nature of the allegation of research misconduct; (2) describe and document any federal or private funding, including, for example, any grant numbers, grant applications, contracts, and publications listing any such support; (3) describe the specific allegations of research misconduct considered in the Investigation; (4) include a copy of this Policy; and (5) identify and summarize the research records and evidence reviewed and identify any evidence taken into custody but not reviewed.

        The report shall 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, and if so --

        (1) Identify whether the research misconduct was:

        1. falsification, fabrication, or plagiarism,

        2. a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community, and

        3. committed intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly;


        (2) Summarize the facts and the analysis that support the conclusion and consider the merits of any reasonable explanation by the respondent;

        (3) Identify specifically any pertinent federal support or proposals (reports to ORI shall include current support from, and known applications or proposals for support to, PHS as well as other federal agencies);

        (4) Identify whether publications need correction or retraction; and

        (5) Identify the person(s) responsible for the misconduct.

        The investigation report shall either be signed by each member of the investigation committee or shall include other written evidence of each member's concurrence or non-concurrence with the findings and conclusions of the Investigation.

      3. Comments on the Draft Investigation Report and Access to Evidence


        1. Respondent


        2. The Research Integrity Officer shall provide the respondent with a copy of the draft investigation report for comment, and shall provide the respondent, concurrently, with a copy of, or supervised access to, the evidence on which the report is based. The respondent shall be allowed 30 days to review the draft report and submit written comments to the Research Integrity Officer. The respondent's comments shall be taken into consideration when preparing the final investigation report and shall be attached to the final report.

        3. Complainant


        4. The Research Integrity Officer may provide the complainant with a copy of the draft investigation report, or relevant portions of it, for comment. If provided with a copy of the report, the complainant's comments must be in writing and submitted within 30 days of the date on which he/she received the draft report. Comments received from the complainant shall be taken into consideration in preparing the final investigation report and shall be attached to the final report.

        5. Confidentiality


        6. In distributing the draft report, or portions thereof, to the respondent or complainant, the Research Integrity Officer will inform the recipient of the confidentiality under which the draft report is made available and may establish reasonable conditions to ensure such confidentiality. For example, the Research Integrity Officer may require that the recipient sign a confidentiality agreement.

      4. Decision by the Vice President for Research
      5. 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. The Research Integrity Officer will transmit the final investigation report to the Vice President for Research, who will determine in writing: (1) whether the University accepts the Investigation's findings; and (2) the appropriate internal actions to be taken or recommended in response to the accepted findings of research misconduct. If the Vice President for Research's determination varies from the findings of the investigation committee, the Vice President for Research will, as part of his/her written determination, explain in detail the basis for rendering a decision different from the findings of the investigation committee. Alternatively, the Vice President for Research may return the report to the investigation committee with a request for further fact-finding or analysis.

        When a final decision on the case has been reached, the Research Integrity Officer will normally notify both the respondent and the complainant in writing. The Research Integrity Officer is also responsible for ensuring compliance with all notification requirements of funding or sponsoring agencies. The Vice President for Research in consultation as appropriate with the Research Integrity Officer and other University officials will determine whether law enforcement agencies, professional societies, professional licensing boards, editors of journals in which falsified reports may have been published, collaborators of the respondent in the work, or other relevant parties should be notified of the outcome of the case.

      6. Notice to Applicable Federal Agencies of University Findings and Actions


      7. Unless an extension has been granted, within 120 days of beginning the Investigation, the Research Integrity Officer shall submit to any applicable federal agency a copy of the final investigation report with attachments; a statement of whether the University accepts the findings of the investigation report; a statement of whether the University found research misconduct and, if so, who committed the misconduct; and, if required by the agency, a description of any pending or completed administrative actions against the respondent.

      8. Maintaining Records for Review by Federal Agencies
      9. The Research Integrity Officer shall maintain, and upon request, provide to authorized federal officials, records of the research misconduct proceedings, including: (1) records secured by the University for the 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.

    5. Completion of Cases and Reporting Premature Closures to Applicable Federal Agencies


    6. Generally, all Inquiries and Investigations will be carried through to completion and all significant issues will be pursued diligently. The Research Integrity Officer shall, if required by such agency, notify any applicable federal agency in advance if there are plans to close a case at the Inquiry or Investigation stage on the basis that the respondent has admitted guilt, 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 closed after an Inquiry that finds pursuant to Section IV.F that an Investigation is not warranted; and (2) if an Investigation is completed, the University's findings must be reported as specified under Section VII.D of this Policy.

    7. Internal Administrative Actions


    8. If the Vice President for Research determines that a finding of research misconduct is substantiated, the University, through the Vice President for Research, the Budget Executive, the Budget Administrator or other appropriate official, may adopt sanctions, which may include, for example:

      1. Re-training;

      2. Unannounced or announced audits;

      3. A letter of reprimand or admonishment to be included in respondent’s file;

      4. Supervision or monitoring of future work, including a requirement for certification by senior personnel that a person’s work met specified conditions;

      5. Removal from the research project in question;

      6. Formal notification of sponsoring agencies, funding sources, co-authors, co-investigators, collaborators or journal editors;

      7. Withdrawal or correction of pending abstracts and papers emanating from the research where research misconduct was found;

      8. Formal withdrawal of pending applications for research support;

      9. Public announcements; and/or

      10. Restitution of funds.


      If the Vice President for Research determines that a finding of research misconduct is substantiated, the Vice President for Research may also recommend to the Budget Executive or other appropriate University official, disciplinary sanctions, which may include, for example:

      1. Probation or suspension;

      2. Initiation of steps leading to possible impact on salary; and/or

      3. Initiation of steps leading to possible termination of employment.


      None of these sanctions limits the authority of the funding sponsor to impose its own sanctions.

    9. Other Considerations


      1. Protecting the Respondent
      2. 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. During research misconduct proceedings, the respondent may be accompanied by counsel or a personal adviser at interviews and meetings, but the lawyer or personal adviser's role will be limited to counseling the respondent, and the respondent will be responsible for answering all questions.

        As requested and appropriate, the Research Integrity Officer 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 Research Integrity Officer 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 expunge references to the research misconduct allegation from the respondent's personnel file.

      3. Protecting the Complainant, Witnesses and Committee Members
      4. University faculty, staff, and students may not retaliate in any way against complainants, witnesses, or committee members. Faculty, staff, and students should immediately report any alleged or apparent retaliation against complainants, witnesses, or committee members to the Research Integrity Officer.

        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 Research Integrity Officer 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.

      5. Allegations Not Made in Good Faith


      6. If relevant, the Vice President for Research will determine whether the complainant's allegations of research misconduct were made in good faith, or whether a witness or committee member acted in good faith. If the Vice President for Research determines that the complainant knowingly made a false allegation of research misconduct, the Vice President for Research shall determine whether any administrative action will be taken against the complainant or whether any disciplinary action against the complainant will be recommended to the Budget Executive or other appropriate University official.

    CROSS-REFERENCES:

    Other Policies should also be referenced, especially the following:

    IP01 - Ownership and Management of Intellectual Property
    RA12 Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurial Activity (Faculty Research)
    RA14 The Use of Human Participants in Research


    Effective Date: August 13, 2013
    Date Approved: July 29, 2013
    Date Published: August 13, 2013

    Most Recent Changes:

    Revision History (and effective dates):

    | top of this policy | GURU policy menu | GURU policy search | GURU home | GURU Tech Support | Penn State website |