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Reporting Misconduct in Science 8.3-1


Academic & Research
Authorizing Body:
President - PRES
Responsible Department:
Sponsored Programs
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Federal law and rules and regulations of granting agencies such as the Public Health Service (PHS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) require that applicant institutions have policies and procedures for dealing with and reporting alleged or suspected misconduct in science involving research, research training, applications for support of research or research training, or related activities for which federal funds have been provided or requested.

Policies and Procedures

The following policies and procedures represent the framework of how SVSU will deal with instances of possible misconduct in science:

  1. PREVENTION OF MISCONDUCT IN RESEARCH . It is the policy of the University to create and maintain an environment in which misconduct is precluded. To this end the following procedures are adopted: 

    1. The Human Resource Office will conduct an initial orientation on this operations policy for all new faculty and staff likely to be involved in scientific research. Each academic college will review this policy at the annual faculty/staff orientation. Where possible, standards of ethical scientific research will be incorporated into employee and student handbooks and applicable student course material.

    2. Administrators and faculty having supervisory responsibilities for research will exercise due diligence in monitoring, recording, retaining and storing scientific data in accordance with ethical standards.

    3. Scientific researchers will accept full responsibility for work published under their name and will ensure that professional and open relationships are maintained in the interest of scientific integrity and objectivity.

  2. HANDLING ALLEGATIONS OF MISCONDUCT IN RESEARCH . Allegations of misconduct in research will be referred in confidence to the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA). The VPAA will seek a resolution to the allegation through the procedure described herein or through other more appropriate University processes. 

    1. The Inquiry . The VPAA may choose to conduct the inquiry personally or to form an ad hoc inquiry committee with three members. If an inquiry committee is designated, it will be chaired by an academic dean not in the college from which the allegation originated. Other members will include one faculty member not in the department involved and one administrative/professional with some knowledge of the research in question. The inquiry will be conducted in accordance with recommended procedures (Reference 3 above) and will be completed within 60 days. Based upon the findings of the inquiry, the VPAA will determine whether or not a formal investigation is warranted.

    2. The Investigation . The investigation will be initiated within 30 days of the determination from the inquiry that it is warranted. If the research in question is supported by a federal agency, the VPAA will report the initiation of the investigation to that agency, if required. The VPAA will designate an ad hoc investigating committee comprised of three members: a senior University administrator serving as chair and two knowledgeable members of the scientific community. The investigation will be conducted in accordance with recommended procedures (Reference 3 above) and the investigation should be concluded in a period of 120 days. Committee findings will be submitted in writing to the VPAA and, if required, to the funding agency.

    3. The Appeal Process . Respondents will have the right to appeal in writing to the VPAA the findings of the investigation. The results of a review by the President following the appeal will be considered final.

    4. Disposition . The nature and severity of disciplinary action will be directly related to the nature and severity of the findings. Disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with existing disciplinary policies for faculty and staff. 


NSF: "Misconduct" means (1) fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or other serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing, carrying out or reporting results from research; (2) material failure to comply with Federal requirements for protection of researchers, human subjects or the public or for ensuring the welfare of laboratory animals; or (3) failure to meet other material legal requirements governing research.

PHS: "Misconduct" is defined as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting or reporting research.

Governing Law and Regulations

NSF: "Misconduct in Science and Engineering Research." First appeared in 52 FR 24466, codified Title 45 Code of Federal Regulations Part 689.

PHS: Section 493 of the Public Health Service Act; Section 501(f) of the Public Health Service Act as amended by Section 2058(a)(2)(C) of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. (Subpart A to 42 CFR Part 50 sets forth responsibilities of institutions.)


In addition to the above mentioned laws and regulations, the following references provide useful guidance on structuring and implementing institutional policies and procedures:

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "Responsibilities of Awardee and Applicant Institutions for Dealing With and Reporting Possible Misconduct in Science," NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Vol. 18, No. 30, September 1, 1989.

  2. Association of American Medical Colleges, The Maintenance of High Ethical Standards in the Conduct of Research, Washington, D.C., June, 1982.

  3. Association of American Medical Colleges, Framework for Institutional Policies and Procedures to Deal With Misconduct in Research, Washington, D.C., March, 1989.

  4. Association of American Universities, Report of the Association of American Universities Committee on the Integrity of Research, Washington, D.C., 1982.