4.4 Misconduct in Research, Scholarship, or Creative Activity

Misconduct in research, research training, scholarship, or creative activity is defined as the fabrication or falsification of data (such as deceptively selective reporting, including the purposeful omission of conflicting data with the intent to falsify results); plagiarism, (the misappropriation of the ideas or works of others, including the unauthorized use of privileged information, however obtained); or other unethical practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted in the scholarly community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research or other scholarly or creative activity. It does not include honest error or honest difference in interpretations or judgments of data. Material failure to comply with federal requirements for the protection of researchers, human subjects, or the public, or for ensuring the welfare of laboratory animals, is also considered misconduct under the federal regulations governing the conduct of research; offenses of this type may also be investigated using the procedures in this Section.

Allegations of misconduct should be made directly to the Vice President for Research. The vice president will have the responsibility for determining that the procedures utilized and the reports made are in compliance with state and federal regulations and with sponsor guidelines. If the vice president determines that the allegations fall with the definition of misconduct, the vice president will immediately initiate an enquiry in consultation with the committee on Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Professional Ethics (hereafter referred to as the AFTPE Committee). The accused will be informed of the procedure and invited to respond. The chairperson of the department or unit where the member of the University community works, as well as the appropriate dean or responsible administrative officer, will be notified, in confidence, at the same time. If the complainant or the accused believe that the Vice President for Research has a conflict of interest in the matter to be adjudicated, either may make a request to the Vice Chancellor and Provost to appoint a substitute for the vice president’s role in the procedure. Upon hearing the request, the Vice Chancellor will determine whether the Vice President for Research should be replaced in this specific matter and, if so, by whom. Notwithstanding any other provision of the policy, if the accused at any time admits an offense and agrees to sanctions which are acceptable to the Vice President for Research or the designated replacement for the Vice President for Research, there will be no need for further proceedings.

A preliminary enquiry will be conducted by an ad hoc panel composed of three members appointed the Vice President for Research in consultation with the AFTPE Committee. The panel will elect its chair. The purpose of this enquiry is to establish where an allegation or apparent instance of misconduct warrants an investigation. The membership of the panel should include sufficient expertise to assure an understanding of the issues involved in the allegations. The panel may include one or more individuals from other institutions. Members of the panel will be appointed mindful of the need to avoid any real or apparent conflict of interest. The enquiry will be carried out in a manner that affords the accused notice of the charges and an opportunity to be heard, while at the same time seeking to preserve the confidentiality of the enquiry proceedings. The accused is expected to permit access to appropriate documents that are relevant to the proceedings. Within sixty (60) days after the date of the complaint, the panel will prepare a written report which details the evidence reviewed, summarizes relevant interviews, and presents the conclusions reached. The report will be given to the Vice President for Research, who will transmit it to AFTPE Committee The accused will also be given a copy of the report. The accused may make written comments on the report in a timeframe set forward by the Vice President for Research, and those comments will become part of the record.

If the enquiry panel concludes, by majority vote, that a full investigation is warranted, such an investigation will be initiated within 30 days of the completion of the enquiry and any sponsoring agency or agencies will be notified of the decision to proceed. A new panel of five members will be appointed by the AFTPE Committee in consultation with the Vice President for Research. The panel will elect its chair. The guidelines for membership of the new panel will be the same as for the enquiry committee, but there should be no overlap of membership. The investigation will normally include examination of all documentation, including, but not limited to, relevant research data and proposals, publications, correspondence, and electronic communication. Wherever possible, interviews should be conducted with all involved in making the allegation(s) or against whom allegation(s) are made, as well as with others who might have relevant information. All parties will have the right to be accompanied by an advisor or attorney. The investigation need not be limited to an examination of the particular research or scholarship alleged to have been fraudulent but, with prior notice to the accused and opportunity to be heard, can be broadened to include other research or scholarship. Within 120 days after initiation of the investigation, the panel will submit, to the Vice President for Research, detailed documentation to substantiate the findings of the investigation.

As soon as the alleged misconduct is either substantiated or judged to be not substantiated, any agency or agencies sponsoring the research or scholarly activity must be notified by the Vice President for Research. If the investigation determines that misconduct did not occur, efforts must be made to restore the reputation of the accused. If the investigation determines that misconduct did occur, the panel may make recommendations as to the disposition of the matter. The Vice President for Research will notify all journals in which fabricated, falsified, or misappropriated data have been published, or to which such data have been submitted. If disciplinary action is recommended, the Vice President for Research will forward these recommendations to the Vice Chancellor and Provost, who will determine the final disposition. Nothing in these regulations is to be construed as eliminating any of the procedures which should precede the termination for cause of the employment of a tenured faculty member.

Any members of the University found to have taken retaliatory action against any person making, in good faith, an allegation of misconduct, whether substantiated or not, may also be subject to disciplinary action. Should either the enquiry or the investigation show that the allegations of misconduct were not made in good faith, those making the allegations may be subject to disciplinary action.

This policy may be amended from time to time in accordance with applicable procedures.

Approved by the University Senate, subject to review by legal counsel March 14, 1990

Approved as amended by legal counsel March 15, 1990