RCR – Part 6

Research Misconduct and Reporting

Research is built on a foundation of truth, which allows society to place a high level of confidence in the outcomes reported from that research. The trust between science and society will endure only if the scientific community devotes itself to ethical conduct of research. Thus, all members of that community share responsibility for promoting and maintaining the principles of academic integrity. Institutions expect the highest ethical standards in the conduct of research activities and are committed to vigorously enforcing those standards. Moreover, good faith complainants are protected from retaliation by the provisions of state law and institutional policy.

Research misconduct in research and scholarship includes:

  1. Fabrication or falsification of data, plagiarism, or other practices which seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the academic or scientific community for proposing, conducting, implementing, or reporting research.
  2. Failure to comply with federal, state, or institutional requirements for protecting researchers, human subjects, and the public during research and for insuring the welfare of laboratory animals.
  3. Use of research funds, facilities, or staff for unauthorized and/or illegal activities.

Research misconduct does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.

Institutions and many of the agencies that fund research have explicit policy requirements related to allegations, investigations and reporting of scientific misconduct.  Integrity and conscience demand not only personal adherence to ethical standards, but reporting of suspected violations of those standards. Violations should be reported in confidence to the Vice President for Academic Affairs and, if grant funded, to the Vice President for External Affairs (the Research Integrity Officer). Reports may be made confidentially, or even anonymously. Reporting such concerns in good faith is a service to the institution and to the larger academic community, and will not jeopardize anyone’s employment.

Additional resources:

Office of Research Integrity (ORI) (The U.S. Department of Human Services)