Allegations of Misconduct in Science

Research Misconduct Defined1

(revised 11/2/2010)

Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.

Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.

Falsification is 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.

The research record is the record of data or results that embody the facts resulting from scientific inquiry, and includes, but is not limited to, research proposals, laboratory records, both physical and electronic, progress reports, abstracts, theses, oral presentations, internal reports, and journal articles.

Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

Research, as used herein, includes all basic, applied, and demonstration research in all fields of science, engineering, and mathematics. This includes, but is not limited to, research in economics, education, linguistics, medicine, psychology, social sciences, statistics, and research involving human subjects or animals.

1 From the Federal Research Misconduct Policy


The following policy was adopted by the Faculty on November 16, 1989.

In order to maintain confidence in the integrity of the School of Public Health’s research program, allegations of misconduct in research must be treated with the utmost seriousness and examined carefully and responsibly. The following outlines a policy that will allow the faculty to respond to allegations of misconduct in an effective and responsible manner. This policy applies to any and all research conducted at the school. Certain parts of the policy (as noted) apply specifically to research conducted at the school which is sponsored by the U. S. Public Health Service (PHS).

  1. All allegations of misconduct (see above for definition) in research shall be brought to the attention of the dean of the School of Public Health.
  2. Upon receiving an allegation of misconduct in research, an inquiry (see above for definition) will be initiated immediately, and normally will be completed within 60 calendar days of its initiation. The dean or his designee shall inform the accused party or parties of both the nature of the allegation(s) and the results of the inquiry. The dean or his designee shall allow an opportunity for a response to the allegation(s), as well as to the findings of the inquiry and/or subsequent investigation (see above for definition).
  3. Any matter brought before the dean which after an initial inquiry is deemed to require further investigation will be investigated in a fair and thorough manner. This may involve convening appropriate faculty committees. The investigation will ordinarily be completed within 120 days of its initiation.
  4. The school, particularly in cases where the research in question is sponsored by the PHS, will make a good faith effort to undertake an investigation, when appropriate, within 30 days of the completion of the initial inquiry.
  5. The school shall make a good faith effort to afford the affected individuals confidential treatment to the extent that this is consistent with the school’s obligations to inform individuals and organizations that may have an interest in the research involved, including where appropriate, the agency(s) funding the research.
  6. In cases of research sponsored by the PHS, the school will notify, keep informed, and cooperate with the Office of Scientific Integrity (OSI) (a component of the National Institutes of Health) as required by PHS regulations.
  7. The dean’s office will prepare and maintain sufficiently detailed documentation to substantiate the inquiry and/or investigation. This documentation shall be retained for a period of at least 3 years.
  8. The school will make a good faith effort to take precautions against real or apparent conflicts of interest on the part of those involved in the inquiry and/or investigation.
  9. The school will take interim administrative actions, as appropriate, to protect federal funds and insure that the purposes of the grant/contract support are carried out.
  10. The school will make a good faith effort, as appropriate, to restore the reputations of persons alleged to have engaged in misconduct when allegations are not confirmed; and also to protect the reputations of those persons who, in good faith, make allegations.
  11. If, after an investigation, misconduct is confirmed, the school will impose appropriate sanctions. (In addition, the funding agency may impose additional sanctions.)
  12. The school will prepare a final report about any investigation that is conducted. In cases that involve research sponsored by the PHS, the report will be submitted to the OSI and shall include documentation of policies and procedures; how and from whom information was obtained; the findings and the basis for the findings; views of any individual(s) found to have engaged in misconduct; and a description of any sanctions.

The school will submit, as required, an annual assurance form to OSI; as well as aggregate information on allegations, inquiries and investigations upon request of the National Institutes of Health. This submission shall only contain information related to research sponsored by the PHS.

The above policy shall remain in effect until such time as it is modified by the administration and/or faculty.