Institutional Policy on Research Misconduct

Policy Title Institutional Policy on Research Misconduct (PDF)
Policy Category Academic Research
Policy Approval Date March 26, 2019
Policies Superseded None
Responsible Office Provost
Related Policies Principal Investigator Eligibility and Assurances Policy
Frequency of Review 3 Years
Date of Revision     

I. Scope

The Institutional Policy on Research Misconduct ("Policy") applies to the Research proposed, conducted, or reported at Arcadia University ("University") by all related individuals, including those with an appointment or official affiliation with the University including faculty members and staff, as well as part­time and adjunct faculty, visiting scholars, members of the research staff, other teaching or research staff with consulting appointments, postdoctoral scholars, technicians, as well as United States and foreign students, volunteers, contractors, consultants, subcontractors and subawardees, and employees involved in research at the University or elsewhere as a part of the University duties regardless of the funding source. This Policy also applies to the research undertaken in fulfillment of a course requirement if there is an expectation of publication, presentation, or dissemination outside the University. This Policy does not cover authorship disputes unless they involve plagiarism. The definition of all capitalized terms are set forth in Section IV below. 

II. Policy Statement

Arcadia faculty, staff, and students are expected to conduct Research in accordance with the highest ethical standards and relevant regulations. Research Misconduct is damaging to the reputation of the University and undermines the integrity and credibility of scholars. The University takes seriously all Allegations of Research Misconduct and will investigate all such incidents. The purpose of this Policy is to provide members of the academic community with the framework for resolution of alleged incidents of Research Misconduct in a fair, prompt, and consistent manner. 

The University understands the need to protect the Complainant, the Respondent, and Witnesses involved in any misconduct proceedings. Therefore, the procedures for the inquiry, investigation, and resolution of any Research Misconduct are spelled out in this Policy.

III. Policy

This Policy is required by the Public Health Services ("PHS") Policy on Research Misconduct (42 CFR Part 50 & 93)ofMay 17,2005 .

A. Compliance with Laws, Regulations and Policies

For the purposes of externally funded Research, if the terms of this Policy are inconsistent with a Sponsor's policy, the Sponsor policy and procedures will apply for the purposes of investigating and resolving an alleged incident of Research Misconduct. The University will comply with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations with respect to Research Misconduct. 

B. Standards and Administrative Procedures

The Provost is responsible for setting and communicating standards with respect to Research Misconduct and overseeing the administrative procedures relating to the review of any Allegation of Research Misconduct. 

C. Making an Allegation of Research Misconduct
  1. The University encourages reasonable efforts be made to resolve allegations of Research Misconduct prior to the beginning of the formal administrative procedures described in this Policy. If an individual believes that there are grounds for making an Allegation of Research Misconduct, such individual may initially notify the appropriate Dean or the Provost, who will use good faith efforts to resolve an individual's concerns informally. The administrative procedures described in this Policy (other than the safeguards described in Section H below) shall not be applicable to any such informal process.
  2. Allegations of Research Misconduct should be communicated in writing and directed to the appropriate Dean (or Deans when more than one College/School is involved) who must then notify the Provost. Allegations against a Dean should be submitted directly to the Provost. Allegations against a Provost should be submitted directly to the President.
  3. Upon receipt of an Allegation, the Provost and the appropriate Dean(s) will conduct a preliminary assessment of the information presented to determine whether the incident constitutes alleged Research Misconduct and whether the Allegation is sufficiently credible and specific so that potential evidence of Research Misconduct may be identified. If both of these criteria are met, the Provost shall immediately begin an Inquiry as defined below in Section E. If these criteria are not met, then an Allegation is dismissed.
  4. An Allegation of Research Misconduct may have profound implications for the Complainant, the Respondent, and any Witness in a Research Misconduct proceeding. Therefore, any individual making an Allegation of Research Misconduct should take great care in documenting the facts.
D. Response to an Allegation of Research Misconduct

A response to an Allegation shall consist of two phases:

  1. Inquiry: the gathering of preliminary information to assess whether an Allegation has substance and if so, whether a formal investigation is warranted;
  2. Investigation: the formal development of a factual record with respect to an Allegation and evaluation of the collected record leading to dismissal of the case or a recommendation of a finding of Research Misconduct and appropriate corrective actions; and the formal procedure for reviewing and evaluating the evidence and an investigation report to determine whether to agree with the recommended findings and to impose disciplinary actions.

It is expected that the Complainant, the Respondent, and any other persons involved m the administrative procedures described in this Policy will act in good faith. 

E. The Inquiry
  1. If the preliminary assessment of the Allegation confirms that the Allegation constitutes Research Misconduct (Section C.3), the Provost shall notify the Complainant, the Respondent, the appropriate Dean(s), and other administrators for the need to assess the Allegation. If the Inquiry subsequently identifies additional respondents, the Provost shall also notify them.
  2. The Provost shall establish an Inquiry Committee comprised of three members (tenured faculty members and administrators) who will be responsible to assess the Allegation. The Inquiry Committee should be comprised of members who do not have an unresolved conflict of interest with the Complainant, Respondent, or any Witness, and who have the subject matter expertise pertinent to the Allegation. If a Respondent is a staff member, Human Resources will be involved in both stages of a response to an Allegation described in Section D. Any alleged Research Misconduct conducted by students will be subject to the administrative actions and processes governing students and found in the Student Handbook.
  3. On or before the date on which a Respondent is notified of the filing of an Allegation, the Inquiry Committee shall promptly take all reasonable and practical steps to obtain custody of all of the Research records and evidence needed to conduct the Research Misconduct proceeding, inventory them, and keep them in a secure manner. In cases where the Research record or evidence encompasses scientific instruments shared by a number of users, custody may be limited to copies of the data or evidence of such instruments.
  4. The Inquiry Committee shall review the evidence and conduct interviews as may be necessary to assess whether the Allegation has substance and whether an Investigation is warranted. The draft Inquiry Report (defined below), will be provided to the Provost.
  5. The safeguards described in Section H shall be provided to the Complainant, the Respondent, any Witness and members of the Inquiry Committee, as applicable, during the Inquiry.
  6. Upon completion of the Inquiry, the Inquiry Committee shall provide the Respondent with a draft written report ("Inquiry Report") of the findings and recommendation as to whether or not there is sufficient evidence to undertake an Investigation. The Inquiry Committee shall also provide the Complainant with copies of those portions of the Inquiry Report relevant to the Complainant. The Respondent and the Complainant may comment on the draft Inquiry Report within thirty (30) days of receipt and these comments should be attached to the final Inquiry Report.
  7. Following the review of the Respondent's and the Complainant's comments on the draft Inquiry Report, the Inquiry Committee shall provide the Provost and the appropriate Dean(s) the final Inquiry Report. The Inquiry Report should contain the following: the information reviewed, a summary of the interviews conducted, conclusions reached, indication of whether an Investigation is warranted, and Complainant's and/or Respondent's comments.
  8. The Provost may accept or reject the recommendation of the Inquiry Committee and shall promptly provide the Complainant, the Respondent, and the appropriate responsible Dean(s) with written notification of the decision, indicating the principal reasons for such decision. A copy of the final Inquiry Report will be provided to all parties except the Complainant. The Complainant will receive relevant portions of the final Inquiry Report.
  9. In general, an Inquiry should be completed within sixty (60) days of its initiation. The Provost may approve one or more reasonable extensions as necessary or appropriate. If the Inquiry takes longer than sixty (60) days, then the Inquiry record should include documentation of reasons for exceeding the recommended 60-day period.
F. The Investigation
  1. If, at the conclusion of an Inquiry, the Provost determines that an Investigation is warranted, the applicable Sponsor will be notified. The Investigation should begin within thirty (30) days of the completion of the Inquiry and after written notice is provided to the Respondent. The Investigation is to be completed and the final Report sent to the Provost within ninety (90) days. In the case of federally funded Research, it may be necessary to request a time extension from the Sponsor if an Investigation cannot be completed within ninety (90) days.
  2. The Provost shall establish an Investigation Committee to conduct the Investigation. In constituting the Investigation Committee the Provost will nominate those persons who have the subject matter expertise pertinent to the Allegation and who will carry out the Investigation thoroughly, fairly, and promptly. The Provost may appoint a person who is not affiliated with the University to the Committee if such person has the necessary expertise. The Committee will have up to five (5) members. An Inquiry Committee member could also serve on the Investigation Committee.
  3. The Investigation Committee shall:
    1. Use diligent efforts to ensure that the Investigation is thorough and properly documented and includes the examination of all Research records and evidence relevant to reaching a decision regarding the Allegation;
    2. Carry out additional custody of records when new items after the Inquiry stage become known to the Investigation;
    3. Take reasonable steps to ensure an impartial and unbiased Investigation;
    4. Interview the Complainant, the Respondent and others identified as having information regarding the Investigation;
    5. Pursue all significant issues and leads discovered that are relevant to the Investigation; and
    6. Transcribe all Witness interviews; recording or transcripts should be provided to the Witness for review and correction; and this evidence should be included in the record of the Investigation.
  4. The safeguards described in Section H below shall be provided to the Complainant, the Respondent, any Witness, and member of the Committee, as applicable, during an Investigation.
  5. Upon completion of the Investigation, the Investigation Committee shall provide the Respondent with (a) a draft Investigation Report which will contain findings and recommendations as to whether a finding of Research Misconduct was made and what corrective actions would be appropriate and (b) a copy of, or supervised access to, the Evidence of the Investigation. The Investigative Report should include information described in 42 CFR § 93. 313. The Investigation Committee shall provide the Complainant with copies of those portions of the draft Investigation Report that are relevant to the Complainant. The Respondent and the Complainant may comment on the draft Investigation Report. Such comments must be given to the Investigation Committee within thirty (30) days of receiving the draft. Comments on the draft from the Respondent and the Complainant, if applicable, shall be appended to the final Report. Comments should be considered and addressed before issuing the final Report.
  6. The Investigation Committee shall provide the Provost with a final Investigation Report. The Provost may accept, reject, or modify recommendations of the Investigation Committee. If the Provost accepts the Investigation Committee's recommendation that a finding of Research Misconduct should be made, the Provost shall promptly, after the review of the final Investigation Report, provide the Complainant, the Respondent, the appropriate Dean, and the Sponsor, if applicable, with a written decision and reasons for such a decision.
  7. Research records and all documentation developed to investigate the Allegation on Sponsored Projects should be kept for seven (7) years after the completion of the Research Misconduct proceedings unless directed differently by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) or appropriate Sponsor(s). All other documentation on non-sponsored projects will be kept according to the University procedures.
  8. The University may decide to use an external consultant to conduct Research Misconduct proceedings.
  9. For PHS related funding (42 CFR § 93.309) and other external funding:
    1. Within 30 days of finding that an Investigation is warranted, the institution must provide ORI, or appropriate Sponsor(s), with the written finding and a copy of the Inquiry Report which must include the following information:
      • The name and position of the respondent;
      • A description of the Allegations of Research Misconduct;
      • The PHS support information, including grant numbers, grant applications, contracts, and publications listing PHS support;
      • The basis for recommending that the alleged actions warrant an Investigation;
      • Any comments on the Report by the Respondent or the Complainant.
    2. At the conclusion of the Investigation, the University must submit the following items to ORI or appropriate Sponsor(s): the Investigation Report (with attachments and any appeals if available), final University actions, the University findings, and the University administrative actions.
    3. The complete cycle of the Investigation must be no more than 120 days. If an institution is unable to complete an Investigation in 120 days, it should submit a written extension request to ORI or the appropriate Sponsor(s).
    4. If the University plans to end an Inquiry or Investigation before its completion for any reason, then ORI or appropriate Sponsor(s) must be contacted before closing the case and submitting the final Investigative Report.
    5. The University must keep sufficiently detailed documentation of inquiries to permit a later assessment by ORI or appropriate Sponsor(s) of the reasons why the University decided not to conduct an Investigation. Consistent with 42 CFR §93 .317, the University must keep these records in a secure manner for at least seven (7) years after the termination of the Inquiry, and upon request, provide them to ORI or other authorized Health and Human Services (HHS) personnel.
    6. In accordance with 42 CFR §93 .318, institutions must notify ORI and other PHS agencies or appropriate Sponsor(s), as relevant, of any special circumstances that may exist.
    7. The University must provide the following information to ORI or appropriate Sponsor(s) on request: the institutional policies and procedures under which the Inquiry was conducted; the charges for the Investigation, the Research records and Evidence reviewed, transcripts or recordings of any interviews, and copies of all other relevant records of the University's Research Misconduct proceedings. 
  10. The final Investigation Report to ORI or appropriate Sponsor(s) (42 CFR § 93.313) must be in writing and include:
    1. Allegations. Describe the nature of the Allegations of Research Misconduct.
    2. PHS support. Describe the PHS support, including any grant numbers, grant applications, contracts, and publications listing PHS support.
    3. Institutional charge. Describe the specific Allegations of Research Misconduct for consideration in the Investigation.
    4. Policies and procedures. If not already provided to ORI or appropriate Sponsor(s) with the Inquiry Report, include the University policies and procedures under which the Investigation was conducted.
    5. Research Records and Evidence. Identify and summarize the Research Records and Evidence reviewed, and identify any Evidence taken into custody but not reviewed.
    6. Statement of findings. For each separate Allegation of Research Misconduct identified during the Investigation, provide a finding as to whether Research Misconduct did or did not occur, and if so:
      • Identify whether the Research Misconduct was falsification, fabrication, or plagiarism, and if it was intentional, whether it was knowing or in reckless disregard;
      • Summarize the facts and the analysis which support the conclusion and consider the merits of any reasonable explanation by the respondent;
      • Identify the specific PHS support;
      • Identify whether any publications need correction or retraction;
      • Identify the person(s) responsible for the Research Misconduct; and
      • List any current support or known applications or proposals for support that the Respondent has pending with non-PHS Federal agencies.
    7. Comments. Include and consider any comments made by the Respondent and Complainant on the draft Investigation Report.

The final Investigation Report, which is not related to external funding, should contain a., c., e., f, and g. 

G. Appeal
  1. A Respondent shall have the right, within 30 days after his/her receipt of the notification of the Provost's decision with respect to an adjudication, to file a written appeal with the President as to either the finding of Research Misconduct or the corrective actions imposed. The President may affirm, overturn, or modify the decision of the Provost. The decision of the President shall be final and the Respondent shall have no further right of appeal.
  2. The President shall promptly provide the Complainant, the Respondent, the appropriate Dean(s) and, if applicable, the Sponsor with written notification of the decision including reasons for it.
  3. In general, an appeal should be completed within 120 days of its filing with the President if it could result in reversal or modification of the finding. An appeal that would not result in a reversal or modification of the findings of research misconduct is excluded from 120-day limit.
H. Safeguards
  1. Confidentiality: Knowledge about the identity of a Complainant, a Respondent, and any Witness shall be limited to those persons identified in this Policy and others who need to know. All written materials and information with respect to Research Misconduct proceedings shall be kept confidential.
  2. Conflicts of Interest: The Provost, shall take reasonable steps to ensure that all individuals responsible for carrying out administrative procedures described in this Policy do not have unresolved personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest with the Complainant, Respondent, or any Witness.
  3. Safeguards for a Complainant: In addition to any other safeguards provided for in this Policy, the following safeguards shall be provided to a Complainant:
    1. If an Allegation has been made by a Complainant in good faith, the University shall ensure that:
      • The Complainant is treated fairly and reasonably;
      • All reasonable efforts are made to protect the Complainant from potential retaliation;
      • Diligent efforts are made to protect or restore the position and reputation of the Complainant.
    2. ​​However, in the event that the Provost and appointed Committees determine that a Complainant has made an Allegation for malicious reasons, or was otherwise not acting in good faith in making such Allegation, an appropriate action will be taken against a Complainant.
    3. During an Inquiry, the Complainant shall have the right to meet with the preliminary reviewer(s).
    4. During an Investigation, the Complainant shall have the right to obtain a copy of a transcript of his/her own testimony, if any, and to correct such transcript, if necessary.
  4. Safeguards for a Respondent: In addition to any other safeguards provided for in this Policy, the following safeguards shall be provided to a Respondent:
    1. A Respondent is assumed not to have committed Research Misconduct unless a finding of such has been made in accordance with this Policy. A Respondent should be protected from penalty and public knowledge of any accusation until proven guilty. The Respondent in tum shall cooperate with the administrative procedures described in this Policy.
    2. The University shall not impede the ability of a Respondent to continue to do his/her work, and shall ensure that other disciplinary or adverse actions are not taken, during an Inquiry or Investigation unless the Provost determines that there are compelling reasons to suspend the Respondent's work during all or a portion of such period.
    3. During an Inquiry, the Respondent shall have the right:
      • To meet with the members of the Inquiry Committee;
      • To have reasonable access to the data and other Evidence supporting the
        Allegation; and
      • To respond to the Allegation orally and in writing.
    4. During an Investigation, the Respondent shall have the right:
      • To appear before the Investigation Committee to present his/her testimony;
      • To identify persons who have information regarding any aspect of the Investigation in order to be interviewed by the Investigation Committee;
      • To obtain a copy of a transcript of his/her own testimony, and to correct such transcript, if necessary.
    5. During an appeal, the Respondent shall have the right to review the final Investigation Report.
    6. The University shall take all reasonable efforts to protect and/or restore the reputation of any Respondent against whom no finding of Research Misconduct is made.
    7. The Respondent is entitled to utilize an advisor of the Respondent's choosing throughout the Investigation. This advisor shall be provided at the Respondent's expense and may, for example, be a member of the University faculty or staff or a personal attorney, if the Respondent so chooses. The advisor is required to abide by and honor the confidentiality requirements and protections set forth in this Policy. The advisor has no right to directly participate in the proceeding (e.g., the advisor cannot directly address the Investigation Committee), but the Respondent can consult with the advisor throughout the process.
  5. Safeguards for Witnesses: In addition to any other safeguards provided for in this Policy, the following safeguards shall be provided to Witnesses:
    1. If a Witness has cooperated with a Research Misconduct proceeding in good faith, the University shall ensure that: 
      • All reasonable and practical efforts are made to protect the Witness from potential retaliation; and
      • Diligent efforts are made to protect and/or restore the position and reputation of the Witness.
  6. Safeguards for Committee Members: The University shall ensure that all reasonable efforts are made to protect Committee members from potential retaliation.
I. Disciplinary Actions

The disciplinary actions with respect to a finding of Research Misconduct shall be based upon the seriousness of the Research Misconduct, the degree to which the Research Misconduct was knowing, intentional, or reckless; was an isolated event or part of a pattern; or had significant impact on the Research record, Research subjects, other researchers, the University, other institutions or the public, and whether the Respondent accepted the responsibility. 

If the Research Misconduct is found, the following actions may be considered: 

  1. Withdrawal, correction of papers/abstracts, and notification of journals and societies to which inaccurate or fraudulent papers or abstracts have been submitted or published;
  2. Removal of the responsible person from the particular project, letter of reprimand, special monitoring of future work, probation, suspension, salary reduction, or initiation of steps leading to possible rank reduction or termination of employment;
  3. Repayment of funds to the University and/or a Sponsor, as appropriate;
  4. For PHS funding 42 FR Part 93.407 describes possible administrative actions (other Sponsors might have similar or additional administrative actions in place);
  5. Past and present collaborating researchers and institutions may be notified with which the Respondent is or was affiliated; or
  6. Any other administrative actions deemed appropriate.
J. Anonymous Complaints

To make anonymous claims about alleged Research Misconduct, follow the procedure described in the Whistleblower Policy of the University. 

K. Notifications to a Sponsor for Federally Funded Research

In addition to the notices required by Sponsors, the Provost shall, during the course of any phase of the procedures provided for in this Policy, notify the applicable Sponsor if any of the following events shall occur with respect to federally funded Research: 

  1. Public health or safety is at risk including an immediate need to protect human and animal subjects;
  2. Human Health Services resources or interests are threatened;
  3. Research activities should be suspended to protect integrity of the research process;
  4. There is reasonable indication of possible violations of civil/criminal law;
  5. Federal action is required to protect the interests of those involved in the Research Misconduct proceedings;
  6. The Provost believes that the administrative processes may be made public prematurely, and appropriate steps must be taken by HHS to safeguard Evidence and protect the rights of those involved;
  7. The research community or the public should be informed.
     

IV. Definitions

  • Allegation means a disclosure of possible Research Misconduct through any means of communication. The disclosure may be by written or oral statement or other communication to an institutional official. 
  • Complainant (42 CFR § 93.203) means a person who in good faith makes an Allegation of Research Misconduct. 
  • Evidence ( 42 CFR § 93 .208) means any document, tangible item, or testimony offered or obtained during a Research Misconduct proceeding that tends to prove or disprove the existence of an alleged fact. 
  • Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them. 
  • Falsification is manipulation of research materials, equipment or processes, or change or omission of data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record. 
  • ORI means Office of Research Integrity which "oversees and directs Public Health Service (PHS) research integrity activities on behalf of the Secretary of Health and Human Services with the exception of the regulatory research integrity activities of the Food and Drug Administration" (from https://ori.hhs.gov/about-ori). 
  • Public Health Service (PHS) includes all of the Agency Divisions of Health and Human Services. PHS central mission is to protect the health of the country's population 
  • PHS support ( 42 CFR § 93 .221) means PHS funding, or applications or proposals therefore, for biomedical or behavioral research, biomedical or behavioral research training, or activities related to that research or training, that may be provided through: Funding for PHS intramural research; PHS grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts or subgrants or subcontracts under those PHS funding instruments; or salary or other payments under PHS grants, cooperative agreements or contracts. 
  • Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results or words without giving appropriate credit. 
  • Research ( 42 CFR § 93 .222) means a systemic experiment, study, evaluation or survey designed to develop or contribute to general knowledge (basic research) or specific knowledge (applied research) relating broadly to public health by establishing, discovering, developing, elucidating or confirming information about, or the underlying mechanism relating to, biological causes, functions or effects, diseases, treatments, or related matters to be studied. 
  • Research Misconduct is defined ( 42 CFR § 93 .103) as any fabrication, falsification or plagiarism in proposing, performing or reviewing research or reporting research results. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion. Arcadia University adheres to this definition of the research misconduct. 

    A finding of Research Misconduct requires that all three of the following be present: 

    1. there is a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community;
    2. the Research Misconduct is committed intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly; and
    3. the Allegation is proven by a preponderance of the Evidence.
  • Research Record ( 42 CFR § 93 .224) means the record of data or results that embody the facts resulting from the research inquiry, including but not limited to, research proposals, laboratory records, both physical and electronic, progress reports, abstracts, theses, oral presentations, internal reports, journal articles, and any documents or materials provided to Health and Human Services (HHS) or an institutional official by a respondent in the course of the research misconduct proceeding. 
  • Respondent ( 42 CFR § 93 .225) means the person against whom an Allegation of research misconduct is directed or who is the subject of a research misconduct proceeding. 
  • Sponsor means the organization or funding agency that funds a Sponsored Project 
  • Sponsored Project means an externally funded activity in which a formal written agreement such as, a grant, award, sub-award agreement, cooperative agreement, contract, or fellowship is executed between the University and the Sponsor. 
  • Witness means any individual who testifies or provides information with regard to an Allegation or whose research record is used as evidence during the research misconduct proceeding. 

VI. Effective Date

This Policy is effective on the date that it is signed by the President of the University.

VII. Date of Approval

March 26, 2019.