Policies, Responsibilities, and Procedures
A pdf version is available here
The University of Wisconsin-Madison strives to foster the highest scholarly and ethical standards among its students, faculty, and staff. Though extremely rare, we realize there are times when misconduct may occur in our midst and that it is our responsibility as an academic community to take steps to rectify it. This policy is directed to research misconduct and wrongdoing associated with the research process. Such misconduct may occur in the preparation of grant proposals or in the investigative process, including publication and communication of research findings. For additional details on how scientific misconduct is defined, please see the Federal Research Misconduct Policy from the Office of Science and Technology Policy, located on the website of the Office of Research Integrity at http://ori.dhhs.gov/misconduct/definition_misconduct.shtml. Academic misconduct, or that strictly associated with instruction, is managed separately at UW-Madison through the Division of Student Life. Details on this process can be found at http://students.wisc.edu/saja/misconduct/misconduct.html.
Graduate students and research associates are among the most vulnerable groups when reporting misconduct because their source of financial support and the progress in their careers may be at risk by raising questions of wrongdoing. They are also often the closest witnesses to wrongdoing when it occurs and therefore must be appropriately protected from the consequences of reporting wrongdoing and be informed of their rights.
To this end, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed a policy to apply in cases where disclosed information has the potential to jeopardize status, appointment, funding, and degree progress.
It is our goal to support and protect our students and research associates from circumstances arising because of their good faith disclosure of wrongdoing and misconduct that is not their fault and to encourage them to step forward and report misconduct that they may witness. Graduate and postdoctoral study represents unique endeavors that cannot always be supervised by interchangeable advisors. There may be circumstances where considerable research time is lost and/or when it becomes necessary for students to find a new advisor or research associates to find a new supervisor and in some cases, it may not be possible for the Dean’s Office to provide an advisor or supervisor at UW-Madison or to secure funds to support the affected students and research associates.
It is, however, important to recognize that unfounded or bad faith allegations of scientific misconduct have a serious impact on the individual accused of the wrongdoing even when the allegations are proven wrong. Students are reminded that under UWS 17, “Student Nonacademic Disciplinary Procedures”, disciplinary sanctions may be imposed for knowingly making a false statement to any university employee or agents regarding a university matter. Similarly regarding Research Associates, disciplinary sanctions up to and including termination may be imposed for knowingly making a false statement to any university employee or agents regarding a university matter.
Graduate students and research associates should report wrongdoing or misconduct to their faculty supervisor, or if necessary, the department Chair. In cases where the Chair is the target or is conflicted, witness should contact the Associate Dean for Research of their respective college or school. Faculty supervisors should discuss the situation with department Chairs, who in turn should to discuss the situation with the appropriate School/College Associate Dean for Research. At any time in this process, and particularly if a witness does not believe that due attention has been given to a written report of wrongdoing, the Associate Dean for Research may be consulted and will serve as the college’s main point of contact in such matters.
This policy will be disseminated by the Graduate School along with the Schools’/Colleges’ Associate Deans for Research and be posted on the Schools'/Colleges' Websites.
 Research misconduct means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. (a) Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them. (b) 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. (c) Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit. (d) Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.
 Certain students who are considered employees may also be covered under Wisconsin Statutes, Chapter 230, Subchapter III "Employee Protections", s230:80-89. Additional rights may exist under this statute.