CSU Policy: Research Misconduct

Policy Title: Research Misconduct Category: Research
Owner: Vice President for Research Policy ID#: 7-2001-006
Contact:
Research Integrity & Compliance Review Board (RICRO)
Web: http://ricro.colostate.edu/
Phone: (970) 491-1553
Original Effective Date: 2/22/2010
Last Major Revision: 7/24/2015
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POLICY STATEMENT

CSU is committed to upholding the highest standards of ethical conduct. We seek to empower our faculty, staff and students to model ethical behavior in the proposing, performing, reviewing and publishing of all research endeavors.

The prevalence of reported unethical behavior in research and academic research institutions is alarming, and reduces the public trust and confidence in our scientific community. CSU is committed to upholding the highest standards of ethical conduct. We seek to empower our faculty, staff and students to model ethical behavior in the proposing, performing, reviewing and publishing of all research endeavors.

The integrity of our research community can only be maintained if each member strives to "keep their own side of the street clean" by modeling ethical research conduct. However, during a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow's training experience, concerns may arise about the performance of research within their setting. Trainees, like faculty and staff, are members of our scientific community, and are expected to take action when they have reason to believe that someone may be doing something unethical. That action may include speaking to a supervisor, or to that person's supervisor (a Department Head, for example), or even a Dean. They may also contact someone from outside their lab, such as a member of their thesis committee, or the director of their graduate student program. A trainee may wish to speak about their concerns with someone on campus who is formally involved with ethical issues, such as the University Bioethicist, the University Veterinarian, the Research Integrity Officer, or the Director of the Research Integrity and Compliance Review Office. The rights of a person who makes a formal complaint about someone's conduct (a "whistleblower") are protected at both the institutional and federal level.

For the most serious cases, CSU has a formal policy on handling MIS. Research Misconduct means fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reviewing research or reporting research results. Misconduct does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.

The CSU policy entails convening a Pre-Inquiry Panel (which determines whether a claim is frivolous or may have some merit), which could lead to an Inquiry Panel (which determines that there is sufficient evidence of potential misconduct that an investigation is warranted), which could lead to an Investigation Panel (which makes a determination of whether misconduct occurs). The recommendations of these faculty panels are forwarded to the Institutional Officer (The Vice President for Research) for possible institutional action. The findings may also be forwarded to the DHHS Office of Research Integrity, which may impose penalties at the federal level. The entire process is guided by the CSU Research Integrity Officer (RIO). A finding of Misconduct in Science may have permanent, devastating effects on a trainee's career.

A critical component of the mission of RICRO is to assist departments in training their students in the fundamental aspects of research integrity. We do this within our training modules (provided in conjunction with the ACUC, IBC, HRC and DRC). In addition, we have developed teaching resources that may be used by departments who wish to enhance their own training in ethics. We will also work with departments to customize training for their students.

REFERENCES

 

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