Handbook for Research
Section VI: Misconduct and Review of Alleged Misconduct
Mount Sinai's Faculty Handbook defines misconduct in research as: "... the intentional or reckless disregard for ethical practices in the conduct of research. Examples of misconduct in research shall include, but not be limited to: activities that compromise the integrity of the research results such as fabrication, falsification or wrongful manipulation of data or results; plagiarism; failure to comply with the guidelines for handling misconduct in research; or failure to comply with the School of Medicine's policies concerning human or animal research subjects".
The potential harm done by misconduct in research has been summarized by a study panel convened by the National Academies of Science and Engineering and the Institute of Medicine ("Responsible Science", National Academy Press, 1992, vol. 1, p. 31), which points out that, in addition to being wrong or unethical, misconduct wastes the time and resources of other investigators, can lead to actual harm or injury to the general public, may lead to more restrictive governmental regulation of research, and undermines public support of science. Therefore the School vigorously investigates suspected instances of misconduct in research.
The process of conducting such investigations is described in detail in Mount Sinai's "Guidelines for Handling Misconduct in Research" (Faculty Handbook). An individual who has reason to suspect that a researcher is acting in a manner which represents misconduct is obligated to bring this to the attention of the School administration. Initially, such an individual may wish to speak to the researcher to clarify the situation. If that is not possible, or if the explanation is not acceptable, the allegation must be brought to the attention of the researcher's Department Chair/Center Director or the Dean. Since allegations of misconduct (even if later found to be unsubstantiated) can cause irreparable harm to the scientist's reputation, it is crucial that they are not brought frivolously or publicly.
In order to foster an environment in which suspected misconduct is reported promptly, all investigations of alleged misconduct will be conducted so that the person bringing the allegation is protected from harassment, and all information related to the allegation is kept strictly confidential.
"The anonymity that is the fate of nearly every scientist as the work of one generation blends almost without a trace into that of the next is a small price to pay for its unending progress, the great long march of human reason To feel that one has contributed to this splendid enterprise, on however small a scale, is reward enough for labor at the end of the day. " (E.P. Kennedy, Ann. Rev. Biochem.
1992, 61, 1-28)