Research Misconduct Policy
(Adapted with permission from Montana State University)
• 100.00 Policy on Research Misconduct
• 200.00 Definitions
• 300.00 Reporting the Allegation
• 400.00 The Investigation
• 500.00 Confidentiality and Protection of Reputations
• 600.00 Appointment of Impartial Inquirer or Investigator
• 700.00 Notice to Respondent
• 800.00 Maintenance and Custody of Research Records and Evidence
• 900.00 Interim Protective Actions
• 1000.00 Notification and Coordination with ORI
It is the policy of University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to require the highest ethical standards in the research of its faculty and staff; to inquire into and, if necessary, investigate and resolve promptly and fairly all instances of alleged or apparent misconduct; and, as appropriate, to comply in a timely manner with requirements for reporting cases of possible misconduct to sponsoring agencies when sponsored research funds are involved. Misconduct in research shall be considered a breach of contract between the employee and the University.
This policy applies to any research activity undertaken by faculty or staff. Cases of research/academic misconduct involving students are subject to the disciplinary rules governing students, but may be reviewed, where appropriate, under this policy.
In addition to the research itself, this policy applies to:
This policy addresses only research misconduct as defined herein. Other misconduct such as reckless disregard for accuracy, failure to supervise, and other serious deficiencies-but not within the definition of research misconduct-may constitute breaches of other ethical and professional standards and shall be addressed by the cognizant dean, director, provost, or vice president as provided in other applicable policies.
The following definitions apply in this policy:
"Inquiry" means information gathering and initial fact-finding to determine if the allegation or apparent instance of misconduct warrants an investigation.
"Investigation" means a formal presentation, examination and evaluation of all relevant facts to determine whether misconduct has occurred, the severity of the alleged misconduct and its impact, and the recommendations for specific actions to be taken to address the misconduct.
"Research" means a systemic investigation designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge including, but not limited to, scientific, applied, behavioral and social-sciences research and/or any such activity for which funding is available from federal agencies.
"Research misconduct" means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.
For purposes of this research misconduct policy, the definitions found in 42 CFR Part 93 shall apply in addition to the definitions above. To the extent the definitions are restricted to U.S. Public Health Service research, the university hereby adopts the definitions to apply to all research misconduct regardless of funding source. "ORI" as used herein means the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity.
An allegation of misconduct in research, defined as a disclosure of possible research misconduct through any means of communication, should be made to the Director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs). Promptly after receiving a disclosure of possible research misconduct through any means of communication, the ORSP Director shall assess the allegation to determine if an inquiry (i.e., an initial review of the evidence to determine if the criteria for conducting an investigation have been met) will be conducted. An inquiry is warranted if:
The ORSP Director shall appoint an inquirer who shall complete the inquiry within 60 calendar days of its initiation, unless circumstances warrant a longer period. The inquirer shall conduct the review, prepare the inquiry report, solicit comments on the report from the respondent, consider the respondent's comments, and issue the final inquiry report within the 60 day period. If the inquiry takes longer than 60 days to complete, the inquirer shall include documentation of the reasons for the delay in the inquiry record.
The purpose of the inquiry is to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe misconduct occurred and whether a formal investigation is recommended.
Upon appointment, the inquirer will receive a briefing from the ORSP Director and the University Legal Counsel on the relevant misconduct guidelines, federal regulations, and the legal parameters of the inquiry.
The inquiry report shall contain the following information: (1) The name and position of the respondent(s); (2) A description of the allegations of research misconduct; (3) The federal or sponsor support involved, including, for example, grant numbers, grant applications, contracts, and publications listing support; (4) The basis for recommending that the alleged actions warrant an investigation; and (5) Any comments on the report by the respondent or the complainant.
The ORSP Director will make a written determination of whether an investigation is warranted. In making his or her determination, the ORSP Director may take into account the information provided by the Inquirer and any oral or written statements made by the person accused of misconduct. The ORSP Director may choose not to proceed with an Investigation if there is no reason to believe the misconduct occurred or if the person accused of misconduct admits the misconduct occurred and it is determined that an investigation will not likely uncover further information necessary to reach a final conclusion regarding the allegation.
ORSP Director shall notify the person who reported the alleged misconduct and the person accused of misconduct of his or her determination and recommendations in writing. If an investigation is to be conducted, the notification shall include a clear statement of the allegations to be investigated by the investigators.
If a decision not to investigate is rendered, the complainant may appeal to the President who will render the final decision of the University.
The ORSP Director will notify granting agencies supporting the research/creative activity under investigation as may be required by the granting agency, state or federal law or regulations.
If the inquiry results in a determination that an investigation is warranted, the ORSP Director shall appoint investigators to conduct the investigation. The investigator may be either:
The appointed Investigator(s) shall begin the investigation within 30 calendar days of the ORSP Director's written determination. On or before the date on which the investigation begins, the ORSP Director will send the inquiry report and the written determination to the Office of Research Integrity [ORI], or other federal agency, if required under federal regulations.
The Investigator(s) shall use best efforts to complete the investigation within 120 calendar days of the date on which it began, including conducting the investigation, preparing the report of findings, providing the draft report for comment, and sending the final report to ORI, if applicable.
If it becomes apparent that UWW cannot complete the investigation within that period, the ORSP Director shall promptly request an extension in writing from Office of Research Integrity, if applicable. This time period does not apply to separate personnel actions which may be undertaken as a result of the investigation.
In conducting all investigations, UWW shall:
A finding of research misconduct under this policy requires that:
The Investigator(s) shall prepare the draft and final institutional investigation reports in writing and provide the draft report for comment by respondent in a manner consistent with applicable federal regulations. The final investigation report shall:
Upon receipt of the report, the ORSP Director shall determine whether the institution accepts the findings in the report. If any finding is not accepted, the finding and the reasons why it is not accepted shall be identified and included in a written report by the ORSP Director.
UWW shall maintain and provide to ORl upon request all relevant research records and records of our research misconduct proceeding, including results of all interviews and the transcripts or recordings of such interviews.
To the extent allowed by law, UWW shall maintain the identity of respondents and complainants securely and confidentially and shall not disclose any identifying information, except to: (1) those who need to know in order to carry out a thorough, competent, objective and fair research misconduct proceeding; and (2) the Office of Research Integrity, if applicable, as it conducts its review of the research misconduct proceeding and any subsequent proceedings.
To the extent allowed by law, any information obtained during the research misconduct proceeding that might identify the subjects of research shall be maintained securely and confidentially and shall not be disclosed, except to those who need to know in order to carry out the research misconduct proceeding.
In conducting any inquiry or investigation into allegations of misconduct, the University shall protect, to the maximum extent possible under the law, the privacy of individuals who, in good faith, report apparent misconduct.
UWW shall take all reasonable steps to ensure an impartial and unbiased research misconduct proceeding to the maximum extent practicable. UWW shall select those conducting the inquiry or investigation on the basis of scientific expertise that is pertinent to the matter and, prior to selection, the ORSP Director or designee shall screen them for any unresolved personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest with the respondent, complainant, potential witnesses, or others involved in the matter. Any such conflict which a reasonable person would consider to demonstrate potential bias shall disqualify the individual from selection.
A respondent may request disqualification of an inquirer or investigator upon filing of a timely and sufficient affidavit of personal bias, lack of independence, or other basis for disqualification. The affidavit must state the facts and the reasons for the belief that the inquirer or investigator should be disqualified and must be filed not less than 5 days from the date the respondent receives notice of appointment of the inquirer or investigator. The ORSP Director shall determine the matter and submit a written decision on the request for disqualification.
During the research misconduct proceeding, UWW will provide the following notifications to all identified respondents:
UWW shall take the following specific steps to obtain, secure, and maintain the research records and evidence pertinent to the research misconduct proceeding:
At any time during a research misconduct proceeding, UWW shall take appropriate interim actions to protect public health, federal funds and equipment, and the integrity of the supported research process.
The necessary actions will vary according to the circumstances of each case, but examples of actions that may be necessary include delaying the publication of research results, providing for closer supervision of one or more researchers, requiring approvals for actions relating to the research that did not previously require approval, auditing pertinent records, or taking steps to contact other institutions that may be affected by an allegation of research misconduct.
If the research misconduct allegations involve PHS research, the ORSP Director or designee shall provide ORI with the written finding by the ORSP Director and a copy of the inquiry report containing the information required by42 CFR Section 93.309(a) http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text- idx?c=ecfr&sid=1256259b1812156feb6ce256e222e042&rgn=div8&view=text&node=42:188.8.131.52.71.3.30. 10&idno=42ction 93.309(a).
Upon a request from ORI, UWW shall promptly send: (1) a copy of institutional policies and procedures under which the inquiry was conducted; (2) the research records and evidence reviewed, transcripts or recordings of any interviews, and copies of all relevant documents; and (3) the charges for the investigation to consider.
The ORSP Director or designee shall promptly provide to ORI after the investigation: (1) A copy of the investigation report, all attachments, and any appeals; (2) A statement of whether the institution found research misconduct and, if so, who committed it; (3) A statement of whether the institution accepts the findings in the investigation report; and (4) A description of any pending or completed administrative actions against the respondent.
At any time during a research misconduct proceeding, UWW shall notify ORI immediately if there is reason to believe that any of the following conditions exist:
UWW will cooperate with and assist CR1 and HHS, as needed, to carry out any administrative actions HAS may impose as a result of a final finding of research misconduct by HAS.
UWW shall cooperate fully and on a continuing basis with ORI during its oversight reviews of this institution and its research misconduct proceedings and during the process under which the respondent may contest CR1 findings of research misconduct and proposed HAS administrative actions. This includes providing, as necessary to develop a complete record of relevant evidence, all witnesses, research records, and other evidence under our control or custody, or in the possession of, or accessible to, all persons that are subject to our authority
When required by regulation, the ORSP Director will report to ORI any proposed settlements, admissions of research misconduct, or institutional findings of misconduct that arise at any stage of a misconduct proceeding, including the allegation and inquiry stages.
UWW is committed to operating with integrity and in full compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and policies, and it does not tolerate retaliation against individuals who report compliance concerns in good faith.
There are a number of resources available to individuals who have such a concern. You may be able to discuss the concern with a supervisor or another responsible person in your own department. Any employee with concerns of any kind stemming from possible noncompliance or irregularities may also report them to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs confidentially and without fear of retaliation.
Confidential compliance reports may be submitted 24 hours a day via the following link: