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Faculty and Staff

Appendix G. Scientific Misconduct in Research and Scholarship

For specific details regarding the policies and procedures for dealing with and reporting possible misconduct in scholarship and research, please consult the Division of Research and Economic Development, 70 Lower College Road, University of Rhode Island, Kingston 02881.

G.10 Basis

The basis for establishing this policy is 42 CFR Part 50 and 45 CFR Part 689 (Code of Federal Regulations). Reports to the Federal Office of Research Integrity (ORI) or to the National Science Foundation will occur only when required by federal law or regulation or when mandated by grant or contract provisions.

G. 20 Applicable to:

All University employees involved in scholarship, research, research training or research related activities pursued at the University or under the sponsorship of the University. Also applicable to all University employees involved in science and engineering education projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Students who are not included in the above definitions, against whom allegations of misconduct in research and scholarship have been made, shall be subject to regular University procedure.

G.30 Responsibility

The Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the Provost, and the President have primary responsibility for administration of all policies related to scientific misconduct in research and scholarship.

G. 40 Policy

It is the policy of The University of Rhode Island to foster a scholarship and research environment that discourages misconduct in all research, research training or research related activities pursued at the University or under the sponsorship of the University.

G.50 Definition of Misconduct

Misconduct in research and scholarship means: "fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the academic and scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data." Allegations of misconduct in research and scholarship must promptly be reported directly to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development. Acts of retaliation against those who, in good faith, make allegations of misconduct shall be deemed to be misconduct in research and scholarship. Allegations that are determined to have been made in bad faith shall be deemed to be misconduct in research and scholarship. In the interest of protecting the reputation and privacy of those who may be involved, it is important that allegations be treated with confidentiality. In the event of allegations of such misconduct, it is the policy of the University to initiate a preliminary inquiry into such allegations; to conduct an investigation, if warranted, and impose appropriate sanctions, if warranted; and, if appropriate, to report to the federal Office of Research Integrity (ORI), a component of the Office of the Director of the National Institutes for Health, or to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the National Science Foundation. These actions will be undertaken in accordance with 42 CFR 50, Sec. 50.101-105, and 45 CFR Part 689 with the University's procedures set forth below, and with due consideration to the rights and reputation of the accuser and accused.

It is the responsibility of all persons at the University involved in scholarship research, research training or related research activities to familiarize themselves with these policies and procedures. Copies of 42 CFR 50, Sec. 50.101-105 and 45 CFR Part 689 are available from the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development upon request.

  1. Immediate Steps to be Taken when Allegations of Misconduct in Research and Scholarship have been made.

    1. All allegations of misconduct shall be reported promptly in writing directly to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

    2. The Vice President for Research and Economic Development shall advise immediately the Provost and the Dean or comparable administrative officer to whom the accused reports about the allegations.

    3. The Vice President for Research and Economic Development shall determine immediately whether (a) an immediate health hazard is involved, (b) there is an immediate need to protect federal funds or equipment, (c) there is an immediate need to protect the accuser or the accused, (d) it is probably that the incident will become public, or (e) there is reasonable indication of possible criminal violation. If the Vice President for Research and Economic Development determines that any of these conditions may exist, the Vice President for Research and Economic Development shall immediately inform the Provost with recommendations for appropriate action in so far as is necessary to address the identified condition. The Provost shall notify the federal office of Scientific Integrity (OSI) (if the alleged misconduct has been performed under PHS sponsorship) of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the National Science Foundation (if the alleged misconduct has been performed under NSF sponsorship) within 24 hours, and report on action taken, if appropriate.
    4. If at any state of the Inquiry or Investigation process, the Vice President for Research and Economic Development or the Provost determines that any of the above conditions exist, the Provost shall notify the OSI or the OIG within 24 hours, if appropriate.

    5. The Vice President for Research and Economic Development may, within five days of the receipt of the allegations, appoint a person to serve as a mediator. The mediator's sole responsibility shall be to meet with the accuser(s) and the accused, individually or jointly, and/or other appropriate parties to the case to determine whether the matters at issue can, or should, be voluntarily resolved among the parties, and to facilitate that resolution. Bargaining unit employees are entitled to union representation at mediation sessions. Confidentiality shall be maintained by all parties throughout the mediation process. The mediator shall submit a confidential report of the results of his/her mediation efforts to the Vice President for Research and Economic Development within ten days of his/her appointment to the case; such report shall ONLY include that:
      1. the parties have settled their dispute and the charges have been withdrawn, with a written statement to that effect signed by the accuser(s); OR

      2. the mediation of the dispute was not resolved, and that the consideration of the charges should proceed to the Inquiry stage.

      The mediator shall not make recommendations nor offer any commentary relative to the merits of the dispute within this confidential report. Thereafter, neither the mediator nor his/her notes or records may be used in any way whatsoever at any further stage of the "procedures" or otherwise, i.e. he/she may not give testimony or statements, nor may the mediator's notes or records be requested or demanded. Further, nothing said, done, implied or discussed within the mediation process may be heard or considered by those who may conduct an Inquire and/or Investigation in the case.

    For a full description of the remaining procedures to be followed:

  2. Preliminary Inquiry into the Allegations

  3. Investigation of Alleged Misconduct

  4. Procedures at the Investigation

  5. Records

please refer to the University Manual or contact the Division of Research and Economic Development, 70 Lower College Road, University of Rhode Island, Kingston 02881.

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