Administrative policy and procedures regarding allegations and instances of misconduct in research and scholarship
(A) Purpose. Recognizing a responsibility for the proper and ethical conduct of research and scholarship by all its personnel, and further recognizing that allegations or instances of conduct inconsistent with accepted standards may occur, the university is committed to providing maximal opportunity for fairness and due process. Toward this end the procedures stated herein shall be applied when misconduct is alleged.
(B) Requirement. As a recipient of federal grants and contracts, particularly from the national science foundation (NSF) and the public health service (PHS), including the national institutes of health, the university is bound by regulations requiring that procedures be established for inquiry into and investigation of alleged or apparent misconduct in scientific activities conducted, funded, or regulated by these agencies. In order to establish a consistent and comprehensive procedure for the university, the procedures set forth below will apply to all instances of alleged or apparent misconduct in research, scholarly and creative activities regardless of funding or source.
(C) Definitions. The following key definitions apply to the implementation of the requirement in paragraph (B) of this rule.
(1) "Misconduct" is defined as deception, fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing, carrying out, or reporting results from research and scholarship; material failure to comply with federal, state and/or university requirements for protection of researchers, human subjects, or the public, or for ensuring the welfare of laboratory animals; or failure to meet other material legal requirements governing research and scholarship.
(2) "Inquiry" is defined as information-gathering and preliminary fact-finding to determine whether an allegation or apparent instance of misconduct warrants an investigation, or other measure, such as referral to the faculty senate ethics committee when appropriate.
(3) "Investigation" is defined as a formal examination and evaluation of relevant facts to determine whether misconduct has taken place or, if misconduct has already been confirmed, to assess its extent and consequences or determine appropriate action. An investigation may be conducted simultaneously with an inquiry if circumstances warrant.
(1) If a university employee is accused of misconduct in research or scholarship, the complaint shall be lodged by the accuser in writing with the chairperson/ director/dean of the accused's department/school. Any accusation of misconduct must be presented with what is perceived by the accuser as supporting evidence; the accused must have the opportunity to review any materials supportive of the complaint as soon as such accusations are made. Chairpersons and directors will immediately notify the research dean, the appropriate undergraduate and graduate dean(s), and the provost. Should the chairperson/director be the accused, the dean of the college will be the first point of contact and that dean will notify the research dean, the appropriate graduate dean, and the provost. Should an independent school or collegial dean be the accused, the first point of contact will be the dean for research and graduate studies.
(2) The research dean, (after appropriate consultation with the chairperson/ director/dean, and the faculty advisory committee) will select an inquiry committee of no less than three persons from among the tenured members of the faculty who have no direct interest in the case but who are otherwise closest in specialty to the area of work of the accused. The inquiry committee will be impanelled to discuss the seriousness of the charges and will be charged to conduct all procedures in the strictest confidence.
(3) Should the majority of the inquiry committee agree that serious misconduct in scholarly pursuits is clearly plausible, then the provost in consultation with the dean for research, and other appropriate members of the university community, shall inform the accused, shall alert appropriate granting agencies as to the possibility of irregularities and shall form an investigation committee from within, and if necessary and/or appropriate, from without the university to give considered opinion as to the gravity and validity of the accusations under consideration and, if appropriate, recommend sanctions. The investigating committee may, if it deems necessary, interview the accused and/or the accuser (separately). The accused and the accuser both have the right to appear before the investigating committee if either so desires. Utmost confidentiality is to be maintained during the investigation.
The committee of investigation will consist of at least five full-time university employees of faculty or administrative rank, one of which will be the dean, research and graduate studies as convener; one of which will be a representative of the undergraduate and graduate dean(s) of the individual to whose activities the investigation applies; and at least two of which will be ordinarily chosen from the membership of or upon the recommendation of the university research council. Additional members will be appointed to provide scientific, legal, or other scholarly expertise required by the nature of the research or scholarship under investigation. The university may invite outside consultants or experts to participate in an investigation.
(E) Sanctions. Upon the completion of its deliberations and in accord with Article V of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the investigating committee may recommend sanctions against the employee(s) found guilty of research misconduct.
(1) Recommendations of sanctions and a summary of its findings are to be made in writing by the investigating committee to the provost, with a copy provided to the faculty or staff member(s) to whom the recommended sanctions would apply.
(2) Possible sanctions recommended by the investigating committee may include:
(a) A letter of concern;
(c) Director to the dean for research and graduate studies to:
(i) Terminate a research grant or contract involved in the misconduct;
(ii) Withdraw research grant or contract proposals connected with the research misconduct;
(iii) Suspend academic year or summer research/creative activity appointments to the faculty member;
(iv) Deny, permanently or temporarily, access to the services and facilities of the office of research and graduate studies;
(v) Deny, permanently or temporarily, access to the university computing facilities, the university library, and similar research tools;
(vi) Deny access for the purposes of university approved research to human subjects or laboratory animals;
(vii) Notify appropriate federal, state and local agencies;
(viii) Notify journal editors, book publishers, etc., as appropriate and necessary.
(d) Director to the dean of the appropriate graduate school to conduct an immediate review of the faculty member's graduate faculty status;
(e) Direction to the dean of the appropriate collegial/independent school/campus unit to:
(i) Place the employee(s) on appropriate probation;
(ii) Reduce pay and/or benefits;
(iii) Suspend the employee(s);
(iv) Initiate termination of employment.
(3) If adopted, all of these recommended sanctions are to be carried out in accord with Article V sanctions for cause, of the current collective bargaining agreement between the university and the local chapter of the American association of university professors and the appropriate sections of this policy register and the Administrative Code.
(F) Appeals. Subjects of investigation who are found guilty of research misconduct may appeal the findings of the committee of investigation to the provost within ten working days of receipt of the decision and recommendations of the investigation. Upon completion of the appeals proceedings, the dean, research and graduate studies will report the final results to any relevant agency and the provost will take final action in the case, as appropriate.
(G) Reports. Upon completion of the investigation and appeal, if any, a report of findings and actions taken will be distributed to committee members, relevant administrators, and the parties involved. Further distribution will be made if needed to preserve the reputation of the person(s) alleged against.
Effective: March 1, 2015
Prior Effective Dates: 6/29/1989, 5/5/1995, 5/28/1997, 2/27/1998, 6/1/2007