Policies and Procedures on Ethical Practices in Research

The School hereby affirms its commitment to the highest ethical standards in the conduct of scientific research, the promotion of original research of high quality, and the importance of academic freedom. It also acknowledges that unethical conduct in research is extremely serious and threatens these principles. The School is, therefore, committed to preventing unethical conduct in research from occurring and, should it occur, to dealing with it swiftly, fairly, and thoroughly.

The School expects each faculty member to do his or her part to maintain and further standards of ethical practices in research. As part of the commitment to intellectual honesty and integrity, each faculty member and employee involved with research is responsible for promoting an environment that emphasizes open publication and discussion, high quality research, appropriate supervision, accurate and complete research records, and appropriate attribution of credit and responsibility. Faculty must ensure that everyone involved in their research adheres to federal and institutional policies governing the conduct of research. Further, if faculty and/or staff observe unethical practices in research, it is their obligation to report this information to the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) for review and investigation as provided for below.

The identity of individuals who bring concerns of unethical practices to the RIO will be protected to the extent consistent with the needs of an inquiry or investigation. Individuals who provide information in good faith about questionable conduct will be protected against reprisals.

The policy provides a framework to ensure that unethical practices in research are investigated and corrected as appropriate. It is further intended to satisfy the requirements of the Office of Research Integrity for allegations of research misconduct as that term is specifically defined.

Research for purposes of this policy, "research" is defined as anything that is or purports to be "a systematic investigation including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge." [Federal Policy _____.102 Cd).].

Unethical Practices in Research as it is used in these guidelines, "unethical practices in research" refers to the intentional, knowing or reckless disregard for ethical practices in the conduct of research. The definition is broader than the definition of "research misconduct" used by the Office of Research Integrity ("ORI") and encompasses, but is not limited to: activities that compromise the integrity of the research results such as fabrication, falsification, manipulation of data or results; plagiarism; failure to comply with the guidelines for handling misconduct in research; seriously deviating from the School of Medicine's policies concerning human or animal research subjects; or other practices that significantly deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting or reporting research. The guidelines apply to all research conducted under the auspices of the School of Medicine and to anyone who participates in such research regardless of position, including all members of the faculty regardless of employment status or worksite, house staff, fellows, students, guests, volunteers, and technical support staff.

"Unethical practices in research" as used in these guidelines does not encompass disagreements between authors and/or collaborators regarding manuscript submission, e.g. relative contributions of involved parties and order of authorship. The School Policy On Responsibilities of Authors and Data Retention and the Guidelines for Reporting Research Results provide information on authorship. Authorship disputes should be resolved at the department level unless the case involves unethical practices as defined in this policy.

Research Misconduct is based on the ORI definition and encompasses: fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them. 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. Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

Deciding Official (Dean) means the institutional official who makes final determinations on allegations of research misconduct and any institutional administrative actions. The Dean will serve as the deciding official.

Good Faith Allegation is an allegation made with the honest belief that research misconduct may have occurred. An allegation is not in good faith if it is made with reckless disregard for or willful ignorance of facts that would disprove the allegation.

Inquiry means preliminary information-gathering and preliminary fact-finding that meets the criteria and follows the procedures of 42 CFR §§ 93.307-93.309.

Investigation means the formal development of a factual record and the examination of that record leading to a decision whether to recommend a finding of research misconduct and/or other appropriate actions, including administrative actions. An investigation shall follow the procedures of 42 CFR SS 93.310-316.