Research Misconduct (III.A.2)

Volume III: Ethics
Chapter A: Conduct
Responsible Executive: Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity
Responsible Office: Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity
Date Issued: October 1, 2008
Date Last Revised: March 1, 2018

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Contacts
Statement of Policy
Reason for This Policy
Individuals and Entities Affected by This Policy
Exclusions
Responsibilities
Definitions (defined terms are capitalized throughout the document)
Related Documents, Forms and Tools
Website Address for This Policy
History and Updates
Appendix

CONTACTS

Policy Clarification

Title/Office

Telephone

Email/Webpage

Research Integrity Officer

765-496-6670

researchintegrity@purdue.edu

Allegations of Research Misconduct

Title/Office

Telephone

Email/Webpage

Research Integrity Officer

765-496-6670

researchintegrity@purdue.edu

STATEMENT OF POLICY

Integrity with regard to discovery, scholarly investigation, and the recording and reporting of these activities is a core principle of academic life and is essential to scientific and scholarly progress. The proper conduct of scientific and scholarly research serves the best interests of the University community and society. Hence, a commitment to truth, objectivity and honesty should guide everyone engaged in research at the University. Those participating in scientific or scholarly research must report discoveries, observations and scholarly and artistic activities accurately and fairly.

The University's goals under this Policy are to (1) conduct fair, thorough, competent and objective proceedings to determine the truthfulness and accuracy of allegations of Research Misconduct, (2) impose fair and reasonable disciplinary sanctions on any person who is found to have committed Research Misconduct and who is subject to University discipline, and (3) comply with laws and regulations applicable to Research Misconduct and Research Misconduct proceedings, including but not limited to regulations promulgated by federal agencies that sponsor research.

This Policy applies to allegations of Research Misconduct brought forward against a person who, at the time of the alleged misconduct, was engaged in research at Purdue. The University will address all such allegations of Research Misconduct under this Policy and its supporting Procedures for Addressing Allegations of Research Misconduct.

Retaliation against Complainants, Respondents, witnesses, committee members or anyone else involved in Research Misconduct proceedings is prohibited.

No Complainant, Respondent or Purdue Associate may publicize or disclose the identity of Complainants, Respondents or members of any Inquiry, Investigation or Appeals Committee, or any records or evidence from which research subjects might be identified, except as authorized by the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) pursuant to this Policy and applicable law. 

REASON FOR THIS POLICY

This Policy confirms the University’s commitment to foster an environment that preserves the integrity of the research record and promotes truth, objectivity, fairness and honesty in the conduct of all research at the University. This Policy is also designed to comply with applicable federal laws and regulations requiring Purdue to establish and implement policies and procedures to address allegations of Research Misconduct in connection with federally funded research.

INDIVIDUALS AND ENTITIES AFFECTED BY THIS POLICY

Every Purdue Associate involved in any aspect of research at the University.

EXCLUSIONS

Allegations of misconduct occurring outside the research setting are excluded from this Policy, as are allegations of misconduct in the context of research that would not affect the integrity of research (for example, disputes about agreements for collaboration or mentoring, misallocation of funds, sexual harassment, illegal discrimination or academic misconduct that is not Fabrication, Falsification or Plagiarism as defined in this Policy). Allegations determined by the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) to fall outside the scope of this Policy may be addressed under other University policies (see Related Documents, Forms and Tools). Issues that involve the ethical treatment of human and animal research subjects but not Research Misconduct are also not covered by this Policy.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Purdue Associates

  • Report in good faith alleged Research Misconduct to the RIO.
  • Forward to the RIO any information received from any person that might constitute Research Misconduct or an admission of conduct constituting Research Misconduct.
  • Cooperate with the RIO and other Purdue officials in connection with Research Misconduct proceedings, which includes providing evidence and information relevant to an allegation of Research Misconduct.
  • Adhere to the confidentiality requirements and the prohibition on retaliation stated in this Policy.

Complainants

  • Report Research Misconduct in good faith.

Respondents

  • Participate in all levels of Research Misconduct proceedings and adhere to the stated time frames as outlined in the Procedures.

Provost

  • Appoint a tenured full professor to serve as the RIO.
  • With guidance from the RIO, and in consultation with the Involved Dean, appoint an Appeals Committee upon receipt of a timely written appeal from a Respondent.
  • Determine and impose appropriate sanctions on the Respondent in the event of a finding of Research Misconduct that either is not appealed or is upheld by an Appeals Committee.
  • In consultation with the Faculty Chairperson, Deans and Chancellors, as appropriate, and with guidance from the RIO, appoint individuals to the Standing Committee on Research Integrity.
  • With guidance from the RIO, select members of the Standing Committee on Research Integrity to serve on Inquiry Committees.
  • With guidance from the RIO, and in consultation with the Involved Dean, appoint individuals to serve on Investigation Committees.

Research Integrity Officer (RIO)

  • Administer this policy and oversee coordination of the Procedures.
  • Maintain University compliance with laws and regulations applicable to Research Misconduct proceedings, including but not limited to providing notices and maintaining and retaining records in accordance with the requirements of Research Sponsors.
  • Receive reports of Research Misconduct and information suggestive of an instance of Research Misconduct; assess whether the Inquiry Criteria have been satisfied and, if so, prepare an allegation based on the report or available information.
  • Train members of the Standing Committee on Research Integrity, as well as members of Investigation, Inquiry and Appeals Committees concerning their duties under this Policy.
  • Regularly brief the Involved Dean, Faculty Chairperson, Chancellor, as applicable, and the Provost on matters administered under this Policy.

Involved Dean

  • Provide consultation to the Provost and RIO on appointments to the Standing Committee on Research Integrity as well as Investigation and Appeals Committees.

Faculty Chairperson

  • Provide consultation to the Provost and RIO on appointments to the Standing Committee on Research Integrity.

Inquiry Committee

  • Review allegations of Research Misconduct as presented by the RIO and determine whether the Investigation Criteria have been satisfied.
  • Prepare a draft determination for review and comment by the RIO; revise as needed.
  • Allow the Respondent to comment on a finalized draft determination; revise as needed.
  • Submit a final written determination to the RIO.

Investigation Committee

  • Review allegations of Research Misconduct determined to have met the Investigation Criteria by an Inquiry Committee and determine for each allegation whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent engaged in Research Misconduct.
  • Prepare a draft investigation report for review and comment by the RIO; revise as needed.
  • Allow the Respondent to comment on a finalized draft investigation report; revise as needed.
  • Submit a final investigation report to the RIO for delivery to appropriate parties.

Appeals Committee

  • Review an appealed finding of Research Misconduct.
  • Prepare a draft determination for review and comment by the RIO.
  • Submit a final written determination to the RIO for delivery to the appropriate parties.

President

  • Upon receipt of a timely appeal of disciplinary sanctions from a Respondent, review and make a determination whether to affirm, modify or overturn the sanctions.

DEFINITIONS

All defined terms are capitalized throughout the document. Additional defined terms may be found in the central Policy Glossary.

Appeal Committee
A committee appointed by the Provost, with guidance from the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) and in consultation with the Involved Dean, to review and make a determination regarding an appeal of Research Misconduct findings from a Respondent. Composition of the committee is outlined in the Procedures. 

Complainant
The source of an allegation of Research Misconduct. The source may be a Purdue Associate, the University, or a person or entity outside of the University. 

Culpable Intent
A knowing, intentional or reckless act or omission. An act or omission attributable only to mere negligence, honest error or a difference of opinion lacks Culpable Intent.

Fabrication
Making up data or results and recording or reporting them.

Faculty Chairperson
The chairperson of the Faculty Affairs Committee of the University Senate. 

Falsification
Manipulating research materials, equipment or processes, or changing or omitting data or results so that the research involved is not accurately represented in the research record.

Inquiry Committee
A committee of three members appointed by the Provost, with guidance from the Research Integrity Officer (RIO), from the membership of the Standing Committee on Research Integrity to review an allegation of Research Misconduct that the RIO has determined satisfies the Inquiry Criteria. The committee determines if the Investigation Criteria have been satisfied for any of the allegations provided to them.

Inquiry Criteria
The following two criteria, which must both be answered in the affirmative by the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) in order for an inquiry to commence: 

  1. Would or might the allegation, if taken as true, fall within this policy's definition of Research Misconduct?
  2. Is the allegation sufficiently specific and credible so that potential evidence of Research Misconduct may be identified and gathered?

Investigation Committee
A committee of at least three members appointed by the Provost, with guidance from the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) and in consultation with the Involved Dean, to review allegations of Research Misconduct that an Inquiry Committee has determined satisfy the Investigation Criteria. The committee determines whether an identified Respondent has committed Research Misconduct with respect to each such allegation. 

Investigation Criteria
The following two criteria, which must both be answered in the affirmative by an Inquiry Committee in order for an investigation to commence: 

  1. Taking the alleged facts as true, does the allegation describe conduct that may fall within this Policy’s definition of Research Misconduct?
  2. Does there exist evidence that has been or could be readily obtained, which would help show whether Research Misconduct (as defined in this policy) has occurred?

Involved Dean
The Purdue dean whose school, college or program is most directly involved with the research that is the subject of a particular allegation of Research Misconduct. 

Plagiarism
The appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results or words without giving appropriate credit. Plagiarism does not include disputes about authorship or credit. 

Policy
The policy on Research Misconduct (III.A.2).

Preponderance of Evidence
The standard for an Investigation Committee’s assessment whether alleged Research Misconduct is proved. There is a Preponderance of Evidence if the weight of the evidence shows a fact or conclusion to be more likely true than not.     

Procedures
The Procedures for Addressing Allegations of Research Misconduct.

Purdue Associate
An individual, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, association, institution, organization, unit of government or any other legal entity, however organized, that is employed by, is an agent of or is affiliated by contract or agreement with, Purdue University. Examples of Purdue Associates include, but are not limited to: Purdue officers; tenured and non-tenured Purdue faculty; all other University employees (whether full time, part time or temporary); Purdue postdoctoral research associates or research scientists (including visiting scholars); Purdue fellows; Purdue students; any person or entity helping to conduct research at the University; Purdue volunteers; and Purdue contractors, subcontractors, awardees, sub-awardees and their employees.

Research Misconduct
Conduct by a Purdue Associate taking place at Purdue or in connection with Purdue research that constitutes Fabrication, Falsification or Plagiarism with Culpable Intent in proposing, performing or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Conduct by a person taking place before or after the period during which the person is a Purdue Associate does not constitute Research Misconduct under this Policy.

Research Sponsor
A funding source for research that is the subject of an allegation of Research Misconduct.

Research Integrity Officer (RIO)
A tenured full professor who is appointed to serve as the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) pursuant to this Policy. 

Research Sponsor Requirement
A research integrity requirement imposed by a Research Sponsor, either pursuant to applicable law or as a funding condition.

Respondent
A person against whom an allegation of Research Misconduct is made. 

Standing Committee on Research Integrity
The standing panel of individuals appointed by the Provost, with guidance from the RIO and in consultation with the Deans and Chancellors, to serve on Inquiry Committees as needed. The Standing Committee on Research Integrity is comprised of two faculty representatives from each of the Purdue University West Lafayette’s colleges and equivalent academic units, and two faculty representatives from each of Purdue’s Regional Campuses. Individuals serve a term of three years with one-third of the panel members’ terms expiring each year. The Provost may remove any individual from the Standing Committee on Research Integrity for cause, and in consultation with the Deans, Chancellors and RIO as appropriate, appoint a replacement. 

RELATED DOCUMENTS, FORMS AND TOOLS

Procedures for Addressing Allegations of Research Misconduct

Statement of Integrity and Code of Conduct

Regulations Governing Student Conduct:

Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships—Regulatory Affairs

Related Policies:

Related Federal Requirements

WEBSITE ADDRESS FOR THIS POLICY

www.purdue.edu/policies/ethics/iiia2.html

HISTORY AND UPDATES

March 1, 2018: Policy was updated for clarity and sections were rearranged to reduce redundancies and alleviate the need for an appendix. Procedures were moved to a separate document in accordance with current template. Definitions for the various committees, Culpable Intent, Preponderance of Evidence, Research Sponsor and Research Sponsor Requirement were added.

November 18, 2011: Policy number changed to III.A.2 (formerly VIII.3.1).

October 1, 2008: Supersedes Executive Memorandum C-22.

APPENDIX

There are no appendices to this Policy.

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