The review of research misconduct allegations is handled through a three-step process.
The Research Integrity Officer or their designee (RIO) is responsible for managing
When an allegation of research misconduct is received, the RIO reviews the claim against
the following criteria:
- Assuming the claim is true, would it constitute research misconduct?
- Is there sufficient evidence to allow a follow-up?
If the answer to both questions is yes, the RIO requests from the Deciding Official
that a charge letter be drafted and an inquiry committee be appointed to continue
A three-person committee, consisting of senior tenured faculty (or other qualified
individuals), is appointed by the Deciding Official to review the allegations and
initial evidence. The committee reviews available evidence, interviews the complainant,
respondent, and relevant key witnesses, and deliberates on the following criteria:
- Are the allegations credible?
- Is there sufficient evidence that research misconduct occurred?
If the answer is yes to both questions, the inquiry committee can report to the RIO
a recommendation for a full investigation.
A six-person committee, consisting of senior tenured faculty of whom at least three
have expertise in the relevant field of research, is formed to investigate all aspects
of the allegation(s), Their goal is to determine "whether research misconduct occurred,
by whom, and to what extent." (PS-69 VII.A.) Further, they are asked to determine
if additional instances of research misconduct occurred in any other research, publications
or grant applications by the complainant or other persons.
The Investigation Committee provides a written report, which is reviewed by the RIO,
who then makes recommendations to the Deciding Official as to the conclusions of the
committee and any sanctions that are appropriate for the scale and scope of misconduct
(if found). The Deciding Official reviews all of the reports and makes a final determination.
Findings & Administrative Actions
Findings of research misconduct can result in various sanctions or administrative
actions, including but not limited to supervision, retraction of publications, or
disbarment from funding, depending on the scope and severity of the misconduct. Such
sanctions may come from the university, or from the relevant federal agency if the
research was supported by external funds. Additional actions may also be taken by
the university and would follow any relevant administrative processes.
Findings of research misconduct in projects funded by the Public Health Service (PHS),
including the National Institutes of Health, are also referred to the Office of Research
Integrity for their review.
Complainants and respondents are both to be protected through confidentiality throughout
the initial review, inquiry and investigation process to the extent possible. Should
either fail to protect the process, sanctions limiting access to information or other
sanctions may be imposed.
Determinations by the RIO, inquiry committee or investigation committee that the allegations
were made in bad faith can be referred for administrative actions.