Research Misconduct

The integrity of the research process is an essential aspect of a university's intellectual and social structure. Research is defined as all investigative, scholarly, and creative activity that supports the intellectual endeavors of the University. Although incidents of misconduct in research (see definition below) may be rare, those that do occur threaten the entire research enterprise.

The University is responsible both for promoting academic practices that prevent misconduct and also for developing policies and procedures for dealing with allegations or other evidence of fraud or serious misconduct. All members of the University community--students, staff, faculty and administrators--share responsibility of developing and maintaining standards to assure ethical conduct of research and detection of abuse of these standards.

In dealing with this problem it is important to create an atmosphere that encourages openness and creativity. Good and innovative science cannot flourish in an atmosphere of oppressive regulation. Moreover, it is particularly important to distinguish misconduct in research and scholarship from the honest error and the ambiguities of interpretation that are inherent in the scientific process and are normally corrected by further research. The Ethical Conduct in Academic Research & Scholarship Policy and Procedures apply to faculty, staff and students; however, they are not intended to address all academic issues of an ethical nature. For example, academic misconduct (see the Student Code of Conduct) is not necessarily research misconduct and discrimination and affirmative action are covered by other University policies (see for example the Equal Employment Opportunity Policy .)

Definition of Research Misconduct (in the first paragraph)

"Misconduct in research and scholarship" means any form of behavior which entails an act of deception whereby one's work or the work of others is misrepresented. Other terms, such as research fraud or scientific misconduct, are subsumed within the term as defined. Misconduct in research and scholarship does not include honest error, or honest differences of interpretations or judgments of data. The principal element of misconduct in research and scholarship is the intent to deceive others or misrepresent one's work. Misconduct involves significant breaches of integrity which may take numerous forms such as, but not limited to, those outlined below:
1. Falsification of Data: Ranging from fabrication to deceptive selective reporting of findings and omission of conflicting data, or willful suppression and/or distortion of data with the intent to falsify results.
2. Plagiarism: The misappropriation of the written work of another and its misrepresentation as one's own original work.
3. Improprieties of Authorship: Improper assignment of credit, such as excluding other authors, inclusion of individuals as authors who have not made a definite contribution to the work published; or submission of multiauthored publications without the knowledge of all authors.
4. Misappropriation of the ideas of others: The unauthorized use of privileged information (such as violation of confidentiality in peer review), however obtained.
5. Violation of Generally Accepted Research Practices: Deceptive practices in proposing, conducting, or reporting research.
6. Material Failure to Comply with Governmental Requirements or Contractual Agreements Affecting Research: Including but not limited to serious, substantial, or repeated, willful violations involving the use of funds, care of animals, human subjects, investigational drugs, recombinant products, new devices, radiation, or radioactive, biologic or chemical materials.
7. Inappropriate Behavior in Relation to Misconduct: Including unjust and malicious accusation(s) of misconduct; failure to report misconduct; withholding or destruction of information relevant to a claim of misconduct in research and scholarship; or malicious retaliation against persons involved in the allegation or investigation of misconduct in research and scholarship.