Policies, Responsibilities, and Procedures
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Procedure for Dealing with Allegations
The University is bound ethically and legally to respond to allegations of scientific misconduct in a fair, objective and timely manner. The University has an effective policy (Faculty Policy II-314) for dealing with allegations of misconduct in scholarly research. It provides for a three phase process consisting of an inquiry phase, a Chancellor's review and a hearing phase. Although the Dean is authorized to make the determination to proceed to an inquiry of allegations made against individuals in their respective college, the course of events from that point on is essentially driven by the process described in Faculty Policy II-314.
Mishandling of allegations of scientific misconduct, particularly early in the process, can have devastating consequences. The University's response to allegations of this type therefore needs to be precise and uniform. Consequently, the Graduate School and the Provost's office have implemented measures to ensure that the letter and spirit of Faculty Policy II-314 are met in a consistent, uniform manner. These measures are consistent with Faculty Policy II-314, and are designed to facilitate better institutional handling of these serious and difficult situations, including completion of reporting obligations to federal agencies when required. A summary of the key measures follows:
The Graduate School Dean's office should be notified as early as possible about allegations and will be available for consultation as needed. Associate Dean William Mellon is the designated institutional contact for issues related to scientific misconduct.
Once the respective Dean's office has made the decision to proceed to an inquiry, it is strongly recommended that the Graduate School be consulted concerning selection of the inquiry committee. Faculty Policy II-314 imposes strict time limits on the inquiry process, limits which are initiated with the formal appointment of the inquiry committee (i.e. sixty days). Therefore, it would be most beneficial if the Graduate School was consulted prior to formal appointment of the panel.
If not consulted prior to committee selection, the Graduate School should be consulted immediately following determination of the committee membership. From that point onward the Graduate School will coordinate and monitor the process on behalf of the institution and in accordance with Faculty Policy II-314. The Graduate School, in consultation with the appropriate representative(s) of the involved college, will be responsible for developing the committee's charge, and will orient and charge the committee to initiate the inquiry phase.
These measures emphasize early institutional notification and centralized responsibility for conducting and monitoring the actual process. The present format is compatible with a consistent institutional response to allegations and with the application of a standard, uniform procedure for dealing with them.
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. A printable version of Reporting Research Misconduct: Policy for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Research Associates is available.
Reporting Research Misconduct
Please contact Associate Vice Chancellor Daniel Uhlrich in the Graduate School Dean's office if you have any questions or require assistance with this or related issues.
As a reminder, allegations of misconduct in scholarly research should be referred to the appropriate department chair or Dean's office. Under no circumstances should faculty engage in independent investigations into the validity of allegations. Such actions can jeopardize the integrity of the process and needlessly complicate the timely, judicious resolution of the situation.
Reporting Research Misconduct: Policy for Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Research Associates added February 12, 2010.
This Web page, revised April 21, 2005, is an update of the memo to Deans, Directors, and Chairs from John Wiley, Provost, and Virginia Hinshaw, Dean of the Graduate, dated April 8, 1998.