INDIANA UNIVERSITY POLICY AND PROCEDURES ON RESEARCH MISCONDUCT
(Approved: UFC 2/10/98; 4/24/07; BFC: 4/3/07, 12/1/09)
The primary mission of the university is to search for truth, and its members are strongly committed to this mission. Research conducted under the aegis of the university, therefore, must be guided by norms which facilitate this search, and which foster a spirit of creativity and honesty in the process. Because the conduct of research rests on the foundation of intellectual honesty, violations call into question not only the validity of the particular research project but the social context in which it is conducted. Scholars must be able to trust their peers, students must be able to trust their teachers, and citizens must be able to trust the integrity of the results of research performed in institutions of higher education.
The major responsibility for maintaining standards of intellectual integrity rests with individual scholars and with the departments in which they work. Accordingly, it is incumbent upon faculty members to exercise active leadership in their supervisory roles in mentoring, collaborating with, or directing junior colleagues, staff, or students. The larger institution has a major role to play in three respects: (1) providing an environment for open inquiry in which research can be conducted appropriately, (2) declaring the standards which must not be abrogated, and (3) enforcing the standards on those occasions where violations may have occurred.
The purpose of this document is to set forth the policies and procedures by which Indiana University seeks to maintain and enforce such standards through impartial fact-finding and fair adjudication of allegations of research misconduct. Policy and procedures described below are steps in an academic peer review and fact-finding process and are not intended or designed to represent rules of a judiciary proceeding or hearing. Principles of basic fairness and confidentiality shall be observed in these peer-review procedures.
Charge. A written allegation of misconduct that triggers the procedures described by this Policy.
Complainant. A person who submits a Charge of Research Misconduct. Deciding Official. (“DO”). Deciding Official shall be the university official appointed by the President to implement and oversee this policy on a particular campus in a manner that is consistent with applicable federal regulations.
Good Faith Charge. A Charge of Research Misconduct made by a Complainant who believes that Research Misconduct may have occurred. A Charge is not in good faith if it is made with reckless disregard for or willful ignorance of facts that would disprove the Charge.
Inquiry. The process under the Policy for information gathering and preliminary fact-finding to determine if a Charge or apparent instance of Research Misconduct has substance and therefore warrants an Investigation.
Investigation. The process under the Policy for the formal examination and evaluation of all relevant facts to determine whether Research Misconduct has occurred, and, if so, the responsible person and the seriousness of the misconduct.
Investigator. Any person, including but not limited to any person holding an academic or professional staff appointment at Indiana University, who is engaged in the design, conduct, or reporting of Research.
Misconduct. See “Research Misconduct.”
ORI. The Office of Research Integrity within the Department of Health and Human Services.
PHS. The unit of Public Health Services with the Department of Health and Human Services.
Research. A systematic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. The term encompasses basic, applied demonstration and research, as well as research training activities.
Research Integrity Officer (RIO). A person identified by the DO to have primary responsibility for assuring adherence to these procedures.
- (1) Research Misconduct means fabrication, falsification or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.
- (a) Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
- (b) 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.
- (c) Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.
- (2) On all campuses, except IUPUI*, Research Misconduct also includes (in addition to those acts specified in paragraph 1 above):
- (a) material failure to comply with applicable federal requirements for protection of researchers, human participants, or the public; or for ensuring the welfare of laboratory animals;
- (b) material failure to disclose all real or perceived conflict of interests; or
- (c) an abuse of confidentiality, such as the use (or release to others) of ideas or preliminary data of others which were given in the expectation of confidentiality, such as those gained from
- (i) access to privileged information through the opportunity for editorial review of manuscripts submitted to journals; and
- (ii) the opportunity for peer review of proposals by external entities or by internal committees such as the Human Subjects Committee, the Institutional Biosafety Committee or other committees through which one gains access to privileged research-related information.
Research Misconduct does not include disputes regarding honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data, and is not intended to resolve bona fide scientific disagreement or debate. Research misconduct is also not intended to include “authorship” disputes such as complaints about appropriate ranking of co-authors in publications, presentations, or other work, unless the dispute constitutes plagiarism (as defined above).
Research Record. Any data, document, computer file, computer diskette, or any other written or non-written account or object that reasonably may be expected to provide evidence or information regarding the proposed, conducted, or reported research that constitutes the subject of a Charge of Research Misconduct. A Research Record includes, but is not limited to, grant or contract applications, whether funded or unfunded; grant or contract progress and other reports; laboratory notebooks; notes; printed or electronic correspondence; memoranda of telephone calls; videos; photographs; X-ray film; slides; biological materials; computer files and printouts; manuscripts and publications; equipment use logs; laboratory procurement records; animal facility records; human and animal subject protocols; consent forms; medical charts; and patient research files.
Respondent. The person against whom a Charge of Research Misconduct is directed, or the person whose actions are the subject of an Inquiry or Investigation.
RIO. See “Research Integrity Officer.”
Sponsored Programs. Research, training, and instructional projects involving funds, materials, gifts, or other compensation from external entities (including any individual and government agencies) under agreements with the University.
- IUPUI has in place alternative mechanisms for dealing with the types of research misconduct described in paragraphs 2(a), 2(b) and 2(c).
This policy applies to (i) all individuals who hold university appointments and all graduate students who are engaged in the conduct of research, whether or not the research is funded, and to (ii) anyone affiliated with Indiana University engaged in research through a Sponsored Program to the extent of that research. Except as provided in clause (ii) above, academic misconduct of undergraduate students shall be dealt with through the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct.
The Research Integrity Officer (RIO) may, in consultation with the Dean of the Graduate School, determine that an allegation of research misconduct on the part of a graduate student is more appropriately referred to the disciplinary channels provided in the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct or such other disciplinary process duly established by the campus or an academic unit to take the place of the Code of Students Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct.
The procedures adopted pursuant to the policy set forth in this document will apply to all allegations of unethical research practices unless specifically prohibited by an applicable negotiated settlement or by another disciplinary procedure established by the University.
Cases involving multiple Respondents who are subject to the jurisdiction of different Indiana University campuses shall be handled through a single investigatory process pursuant to these Research Misconduct Procedures. The DO(s) of the involved campus(es), in consultation with the provost or chancellor(s) of the involved campus(es), shall determine which campus process will be used. If the DO(s) and provost/chancellor(s) of the involved campuses are unable to reach agreement, then the President shall determine which campus process will be used. Such determinations shall be final.
Duty to Cooperate
All persons to whom this Policy and Procedures apply, including those accused of misconduct, are obligated to cooperate with the process set forth in this document. Such cooperation shall include providing Research Records and other relevant information to the DO or his or her designee, and refraining from actions that are retaliatory or other actions that impair the process set forth in this Policy.
Limitation of Actions
Allegations must be raised within six years of the date on which the alleged Research Misconduct occurred unless (i) the Respondent continues or renews any incident of alleged research misconduct that occurred before the six-year limitation through the citation, republication or other use for the potential benefit of the Respondent of the research record that is alleged to have been fabricated, falsified, or plagiarized; or (ii) if DO, following consultation with ORI, determines that the alleged misconduct, if it occurred, could possibly have a substantial adverse affect on the health or safety of the public.
This Policy and Procedures shall be carried out in such a way as to protect the privacy and confidentiality of Complainants and Respondents to the extent possible consistent with protecting the public health and safety and with carrying out the Inquiry or Investigation. If the Complainant requests anonymity, the University will strive to honor the request within the limits set by applicable policies and regulations and federal, state, and local law.
The University will make diligent efforts, as appropriate, to restore the reputations of persons alleged to have engaged in Research Misconduct when Charges are not confirmed.
Bad Faith Charge
A person who makes a charge of Research Misconduct in bad faith may be subject to sanctions if either the inquiry committee (if no further investigation is recommended) or the investigation committee finds bad faith to exist.
The University will make diligent efforts to protect the positions and reputations of those persons who, in Good Faith, make Charges and those who cooperate with an Inquiry or Investigation into Charge of Research Misconduct. Instances of apparent retaliation will be reviewed by the DO for appropriate action consistent with the University’s Whistleblower Policy. Appropriate preventative measures also may be instituted.
Role of Counsel
The University (including the RIO, DO, or others acting on the University’s behalf in the investigatory process) may consult with the University Counsel on procedural matters at any stage of the proceedings. The Respondent may be accompanied by counsel of his or her choice when interviewed in the course of an Inquiry or Investigation. Respondent’s counsel may provide the Respondent advice, but may not participate in the proceedings.
Conflict of Interest
At each stage of handling an Inquiry or subsequent Investigation, all persons involved shall be vigilant to prevent any real or perceived conflict of interest, or personal conflicts or relationships between colleagues, from affecting the outcome of the proceedings and resolution of the charges. Possible conflicts of interest may include co-authorship of work within the recent past with any of the individuals directly involved with the alleged misconduct, or professional or personal relationship with the Respondent beyond that of mere acquaintances or colleagues. If such relationships are present, the individual shall recuse himself or herself from any investigative or decisional role in the case. If any prospective Committee member at any point in the process presents a conflict of interest, that committee member shall be replaced by another appointee of the appointing authority. If the DO has a conflict of interest, the campus provost or chancellor shall recommend a replacement to the President. The President shall name the replacement who will carry out the functions required of the DO under this Policy for the particular matter that creates a conflict for the DO. Conflicts of interest on the part of deans or department chairs shall be dealt with by the DO. If it becomes necessary to appoint a replacement during the course of the process, the new appointee shall be fully informed regarding earlier procedures and evidence secured, but it shall not be required that any of the process commence anew.
The following Procedures shall be used in connection with the reporting, inquiry, investigation and resolution of all Charges of Research Misconduct on all campuses of the University.
1. Rights and Responsibilities
- a. Research Integrity Officer. The RIO will have primary responsibility for assuring adherence to these procedures. The RIO is responsible for initially assessing Charges of Research Misconduct, determining when such Charges warrant Inquiries, and for overseeing Inquiries and Investigations. The RIO may seek the advice and assistance of the Standing Committee on Research Integrity. The RIO will assist Inquiry and Investigation Committees, and will also assist members of the University community in complying with these procedures and with relevant standards imposed by government or other entities, such as professional associations. The RIO will ensure that all reporting requirements are met. The RIO is responsible for maintaining files of all documents and evidence and for the confidentiality and security of the files.
- b. Complainant. The Complainant shall have an opportunity to be interviewed by the Inquiry and Investigation Committees, to review portions of the Inquiry and Investigation reports pertinent to those interviews, to be informed of the results of the Inquiry and Investigation, and to be protected, to the extent possible, from retaliation. The Complainant is responsible for making Charges in Good Faith, maintaining confidentiality, and cooperating with any subsequent Inquiry or Investigation conducted as a result of information he or she has brought to the attention of the University.
- c. Respondent. When an Inquiry is initiated, the Respondent shall be informed, in writing, of the Charges and shall be notified in writing of the final determinations and resulting actions. The Respondent shall also have the opportunity to be interviewed by, and present evidence to, the Inquiry and Investigation Committees, to review and comment on draft Inquiry and Investigation reports, and receive copies of the final reports. The Respondent is responsible for maintaining confidentiality and for cooperating with the conduct of an Inquiry or Investigation. The Respondent shall refrain from retaliating against Complainants who raise Charges in Good Faith or against other persons who cooperate in inquiries and Investigations.
- d. Deciding Official (DO). The DO is responsible for implementation and oversight of these procedures. The DO retains final decision-making authority over all actions related to these procedures. The DO will appoint Standing Committees on Research Integrity on the IUPUI and Bloomington campuses with the advice of faculty councils and other bodies representing the faculty. The Committee on the Bloomington campus shall serve the Bloomington Campus and the Northwest, South Bend, Kokomo, East and Southeast campuses and shall have appropriate representation from the campuses. The DO will appoint the committees to conduct Inquiries and Investigations. The DO will ensure that the necessary and appropriate expertise is secured to carry out a thorough and authoritative evaluation of the relevant evidence in an Inquiry or Investigation. The DO will also ensure the interim administrative actions are taken, as appropriate, to ensure compliance with all relevant government regulations.
e. Members of the University Community. All members of the University community have a duty to cooperate with the Inquiry and Investigation Committees and provide relevant evidence to the Committees and the RIO in the course of Research Misconduct proceedings.
2. Standards of Review
A finding of Research Misconduct requires that:
- a. There be a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community; and
- b. The Research Misconduct be committed intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly; and
- c. The allegation be proven by a preponderance of the evidence.
3. Preservation of Evidence
- a. Either before or when the RIO notifies the Respondent of a Charge, the RIO shall promptly take all reasonable and practical steps to obtain custody of all the Research Records and evidence needed to conduct the research misconduct proceeding, inventory the records and evidence, and sequester them in a secure manner. Where the Research Records or evidence encompass scientific instruments shared by a number of users, custody may be limited to copies of the data or evidence on such instruments, so long as those copies are substantially equivalent to the evidentiary value of the instruments.
- b. Where appropriate, the RIO shall give the Respondent copies of or reasonable, supervised access to the Research Records.
- c. The destruction, absence of, or Respondent’s failure to provide Research Records adequately documenting the questioned research is evidence of Research Misconduct when the University establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the Respondent had Research Records and intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly destroyed them, had the opportunity to maintain the records but did not do so, or maintained the records and failed to produce them in a timely manner and that the Respondent’s conduct constitutes a significant departure from accepted practices of relevant research community.
4. Initiation of the Process Charges of Research Misconduct may be filed by anyone, whether associated with the University or not. Such charges may be made to:
- (i) the RIO; or
- (ii) the dean of the school in which the Respondent holds principal appointment; or
- (iii) the campus chancellor or provost.
Prior to submitting a formal Charge, a potential Complainant is encouraged to consult informally with the RIO. Any such consultation shall be confidential within the limits set by applicable policies and regulations and federal, state, and local law. The consultation helps to distinguish whether the case involves questions of Research Misconduct, is to be resolved by other deliberative or mediation procedures, or does not warrant further actions.
If a potential Complainant consults with the RIO, the RIO will inform him or her of the need to file written Charges if he or she wishes the matter to go forward. If the Complainant does not file a written Charge, after consulting with the RIO, the matter will be dropped, unless the RIO believes there may be sufficient cause and evidence to warrant an Inquiry in which case the RIO may submit written charges. The Complainant will also be informed of his or her obligation to cooperate in any Inquiry or Investigation that may take place.
Any administrator who receives credible information that Research Misconduct may have occurred, including unwritten information or information submitted anonymously, shall notify the RIO of such information. When such information comes to the attention of the RIO, the RIO shall reduce the concern to a written Charge and apply these Procedures.
- a. Submission of Formal Allegation. Any written allegations received by the administrators other than the RIO shall be forwarded to the RIO.
- b. Receipt of Formal Allegation. On receipt of a written Charge of Research Misconduct, the RIO shall, in consultation with the Standing Committee, determine whether the Charge is frivolous, does not raise questions of Research Misconduct, is more appropriately resolved by other deliberative or mediation procedures, or does not warrant further action. In such a case, the RIO may, at his or her discretion, handle the matter informally or refer it to the appropriate person or process. Such process may include the involvement of the Standing Committee in those instances where the Charges involve the responsible conduct of research, but do not constitute Research
- c. Disposition of the Case. If the Charge does not raise questions of Research Misconduct, does not warrant further action, is determined to be frivolous, or is determined to be more appropriately resolved by other deliberative or mediation procedures, the Complainant and anyone else known to be aware of the Charge will be so notified. If the Charge is determined to be non-frivolous or is not more appropriately resolved by other deliberative or mediation procedures, an Inquiry shall be initiated.