(3-10-03)

RECOMMENDATIONS AND POLICY FRAMEWORK ON RESPONDING TO MISCONDUCT
IN RESEARCH AND SCHOLARSHIP


Preamble

The work of the committee charged with reviewing the “academic misconduct policy” has been guided by several broad themes.

First, the policy needs to cover allegations of fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those commonly accepted within the academic community in research and scholarship and in artistic performance and expression. It is intended as a policy to address these violations of academic integrity as related to misconduct in research and scholarship. The committee recognizes that the ongoing revisions of the federal guidelines will have an impact on nuances of policies on “misconduct in research,” but that the general proposed structure of the campus approach to issues of academic integrity would be able to encompass such federally mandated directives.

A second theme that guided the committee’s work is the clear need for a strong faculty role in the institutional response to allegations of violations of academic integrity principles.

A third theme is the recognition that the Vice President for Research is the institutional official charged with the responsibility of handling cases of alleged violations of academic integrity principles and with conducting inquiries and investigations.

In addressing these themes, the committee has not created a full revision of the existing campus policy. Rather, a policy framework is proposed. This policy framework lays out guiding principles and a process that can (a) be immediately used as a supplement to the existing policy, and (b) serve as the core of a fully revised policy. This policy framework adds to the existing policy; it does not replace it. Recommendations are also made regarding several outstanding issues as well as a method for completion of a full revision of the existing misconduct policy.

A proposal is hereby made for a new faculty committee, the Committee on Ethics in Research and Scholarship (CERS).

CERS Charge


CERS Composition

General Procedural and Implementation Philosophies

[end of preamble]

Policy Framework

Assessment of Allegation

Vice President for Research (VPR) receives allegation of misconduct.

VPR promptly and fully informs CERS Chair of the allegation and consults with him or her to determine if the allegation meets criteria of academic misconduct or pertains instead to another compliance area (human subjects, animal use, law breaking, etc.). In the latter case, VPR refers allegation, as appropriate, to other institutional officials or authorities.

If either VPR or CERS Chair concludes that a reasonable basis for an inquiry exists, then an Inquiry will be conducted.


Inquiry

VPR notifies respondent and complainant of initiation of inquiry. VPR ensures that pertinent records (or citations to them) are obtained and placed in an inquiry file.

In consultation with CERS Chair, the VPR appoints the Inquiry Committee, including at least one CERS member, and appoints the chair of the Inquiry Committee.

VPR ensures that individual meetings are being scheduled with respondent and complainant so that the inquiry process has direct input from both parties. These meetings are conducted by the Inquiry Committee and staffed by the VPR’s office.

The Inquiry Committee examines the evidence and recommends to the VPR whether an investigation is warranted.

The Inquiry Committee Chair may consult with the VPR regarding the inquiry.

Any member of the Inquiry Committee concerned about procedures or the process of the inquiry should first
consult with the Inquiry Committee Chair and, if the issue cannot be resolved, with the VPR as the institutional official responsible for the case. In this instance, the VPR will adjudicate the issue in consultation with the Inquiry Committee Chair, the committee member, and the CERS chair.

Admission to any material aspect of the allegation(s) by the respondent at any point in time triggers an investigation.

The inquiry committee prepares a report. The VPR transmits this inquiry report and his or her recommendations to the President for determination whether to terminate case or to initiate an investigation.

VPR notifies CERS Chair of these recommendations.

As applicable, VPR’s office notifies sponsors, including federal agencies, and Research Foundation if an investigation is to be conducted.

Investigation

President authorizes VPR to initiate investigation

VPR notifies respondent and complainant of initiation of investigation and gives the full inquiry report to respondent for comment.

In consultation with CERS Chair, the VPR appoints the Investigation Committee, including at least one CERS member, and appoints the chair of the Investigation Committee. The Investigation Committee will normally include the CERS member(s) who served on the Inquiry Committee.

VPR provides necessary support and staff to Investigation Committee for conduct of investigation and follows up on progress each week

The Investigation Committee Chair may consult with the VPR regarding the investigation.

Any member of the Investigation Committee concerned about procedures or the process of the investigation
should first consult with the Investigation Committee Chair and, if the issue cannot be resolved, with the VPR as the institutional official responsible for the case. In this instance, the VPR will adjudicate the issue in consultation with the Investigation Committee Chair, the committee member, and the CERS chair.

Upon concluding the investigation, the Investigation Committee prepares report concluding whether the evidence supports the allegations. The Investigation Committee may offer recommendations on how to correct any relevant public record.

VPR receives investigation report, prepares recommendations to the President, and transmits both the report and the recommendations to the President.

VPR notifies CERS Chair of these recommendations.


Determination of Misconduct

President reviews the report and recommendations of the Investigation Committee and determines appropriate institutional actions, including institutional disciplinary actions or sanctions.

In this process, President may consult with Investigation Committee to clarify facts or seek further information.

When there is a finding of misconduct, the President consults with CERS regarding disciplinary actions or sanctions. In such cases, the President may reveal, to CERS, any information pertaining to the case or the respondent as might be required for effective consultation.

President issues the institutional determination in writing and, if there is a finding of misconduct, actions to be taken. With recommendation of VPR, President also makes final determination as to which concerned parties should be notified. Typically, this would include respondent, complainant and Investigation Committee members.

President, via VPR, notifies CERS Chair of finding and actions to be taken.


Final Resolution

As applicable, VPR’s office notifies sponsors, including federal agencies, and Research Foundation of President's decision.

As applicable, VPR’s office takes appropriate action to restore reputation of respondent or notify other affected parties of nature of misconduct finding

VPR provides annual redacted report to CERS with statistics on misconduct proceedings (the report will contain no specific information on individuals; files will be retired to the offices of the University attorney for safekeeping).

[End of Policy Framework]

Implementation Issues and Additional Recommendations

Documents and Sources Used for Background in Construction of this Recommendation

1.    Current University Policy on Misconduct in Research.
       http://www.albany.edu/senate/handbook/section1.html#Policy_on_Misconduct_in
2.    U.S. Office of Research Integrity Model Policy and Procedures for Responding to Allegations of Scientific Misconduct (ORI, 1995) subsumed in        http://ori.dhhs.gov/html/policies/fed_research_misconduct.asp
3.    PHS Regulations: Responsibility of PHS Awardee and Applicant Institutions for Dealing With and Reporting Possible Misconduct in Science (42 CFR 50).        http://ori.dhhs.gov/html/misconduct/regulation_subpart_a.asp
4.    DHHS Office of Research Integrity Policies on Handling Misconduct.
       http://ori.dhhs.gov/html/misconduct/introduction.asp#
5.    Sheetz, M.D. “Promoting Integrity Through ‘Instructions to Authors’ A preliminary Analysis. Study commissioned by DHHS Office of Research Integrity.        http://ori.dhhs.gov/multimedia/acrobat/instruction_authors.pdf
6.    DHHS Office of Research Integrity. “Analysis of Guidelines for the Conduct of Research Adopted by Medical Schools or Their Components.” A study of institutional practices.
       http://ori.dhhs.gov/html/publications/analysisofguidelinesfortheconduct.asp
7.    Ryan Commission Report on Integrity and Misconduct in Research. 1995. Reported to DHHS, House Committee on Commerce, and Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources.
       http://www.faseb.org/opar/cri.html
8.    Office of Science Technology and Policy. “Research Misconduct - A New Definition and Guidelines for Federal Research Agencies - December 6, 2000”        http://www.ostp.gov/html/misconduct.html
9.    NIH Grants Policy Statement. Section on Misconduct.
       http://grants2.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2001/nihgps_2001.pdf (pp 55-56)
10.    Patricia Keith-Spiegel, Keith Aronson, and Michelle Bowman,* Ball State University (May, 1994). “SCIENTIFIC MISCONDUCT: AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY”. OFFICE OF TEACHING RESOURCES IN PSYCHOLOGY (OTRP), Society for the Teaching of Psychology (APA Division 2).        http://www.lemoyne.edu/OTRP/otrpresources/otrp_sci-misc.html
11.    University Policies Reviewed:
   a.   UC Berkeley
   b.   U. Minnesota
   c.   Ohio State University
   d.   Stony Brook
   e.   Binghamton University
   f.    UCONN
   g.   UMASS Amherst
   h.   Emory
   i.    University of Michigan
   j.    University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)
   k.   University of Pittsburgh
   l.    University of Maryland (College Park)
   m.  University of South Florida