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Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President

University Handbook, Appendix O:
Policy on Integrity in Research and Scholarly Activity

Policy on Integrity in Research and Scholarly Activity
(FSM 12-12-89; revised FSM 11-12-91)

Encouragement of Integrity in Research and Scholarly Activity

It is the responsibility of researchers, scholars, and administrators to create and sustain an atmosphere where honesty and integrity in the conduct of research and scholarly activity are paramount. On the part of individual researchers, integrity requires concern for quality of published works, generosity in recognizing and citing the accomplishments of others, careful review of manuscripts, conferring of co-authorship only to those who have made a significant contribution, and the ability and willingness of all authors to publicly defend published results. Students doing research or scholarly activities are expected to uphold the same standards of academic integrity as are the faculty and staff. Departments and other individual administrative units have the responsibility to provide information regarding accepted standards of professional integrity and quality, including aspects peculiar to their own disciplines. Such information should serve as a continuing reminder to the research staff and as normal training for students. In addition, the members of the faculty, particularly major professors, are responsible for communicating standards for academic conduct to graduate students. Departments should conduct an informed review of the previous work of staff and faculty members at the time of hiring and promotion. It is the responsibility of the administration to prevent fraudulent practices by disseminating to all of its faculty members and research staff a clear statement of its policies and the consequences of misconduct.

Definition of Academic Misconduct

It should be emphasized that reporting misconduct in scholarly work is a responsibility shared by everyone at the university.

However, frivolous, mischievous, or malicious misrepresentation in alleging misconduct cannot be tolerated. Misconduct in scholarly work may take many forms, but it does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data. Academic misconduct is defined to include, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Fraud. For example, the fabrication, falsification, or alteration of data.
  2. Improper experimental manipulation. For example, manipulating experiments to obtain biased data.
  3. Improper selective reporting. For example, the omission of conflicting data or experimental conditions.
  4. Plagiarism. For example, taking credit for an exact copy or the rewritten or rearranged work of another.
  5. Improper assignment of credit. For example, failure to cite the work of others, including associates and students, or inadequately identifying the repetition of data or material that appears in more than one publication.
  6. Abuse of confidentiality. For example, improper use of information gained by privileged access, such as information obtained through service on peer review panels and editorial boards.
  7. Misappropriation of funds or resources. For example, the misuse of funds for personal gain.
  8. Mistreatment of students in the course of their research activities by a member of the faculty. For example, requiring students to work with hazardous materials without providing adequate education and/or necessary precautions.
  9. Misrepresentation of one's credentials. For example, degrees earned, publications, academic awards.
  10. Other practices that seriously deviate in an unethical or illegal manner from those that are commonly accepted within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research.
Procedures To Be Followed in Cases of Alleged Misconduct in Research or Scholarly Activity

This document describes procedures to be followed when misconduct is alleged against a faculty or unclassified staff member. The provost shall appoint 12 tenured members of the graduate faculty, representing diverse areas of research and scholarly activity, to serve as members of the Integrity in Research and Scholarly Activity Committee (IRSAC). Members shall be appointed for three-year terms (initial terms to be one, two, and three years to permit staggering of terms in the interest of continuity). Members may be reappointed for a second consecutive term to the IRSAC. In the event it becomes necessary for the provost to select a Review Committee (RC) to investigate an allegation of misconduct as specified in this policy, members of the RC shall be appointed from the membership of the IRSAC. At every stage, great care shall be taken to ensure the rights of the individual(s) charged with academic misconduct and of those bring the charges to protect the confidentiality of the proceedings. The charged individual(s) shall be informed of their right to counsel as soon as they are informed of the allegations made against them. Counsel may accompany and provide advice to the individual(s) accused of misconduct whenever that (those) person(s) is (are) interviewed, but shall not participate directly in these proceedings. At every stage of these proceedings the burden of proof shall rest with the university and shall be by clear and convincing evidence. The procedures shall be carried out in a timely manner and to ensure due process for all involved.

  1. Any member of the university community who becomes aware of an apparent instance of academic misconduct has the duty to try to resolve the issue directly with the parties involved. If direct consultation is inappropriate or unsuccessful, the individual shall report the incident in writing to the appropriate department head, dean, or the provost.

    Department heads, deans, and other administrators, as well as the entire academic community, are charged with protecting the careers of persons who have reported such possible misconduct charges in good faith. Persons making such charges shall be informed of the possible legal consequences of making frivolous, malicious, or mischievous charges.

  2. The department head shall promptly bring the charges to the attention of the vice president for research (VPR), if they have not already been brought to the VPR's attention by the person making the charges.
  3. The VPR, upon receiving a complaint of misconduct, will conduct an inquiry. The purpose of the inquiry is to determine whether there appear to be grounds for referring the complaint to an RC for a full investigation. The VPR will be assisted in the investigation by the dean of the college and the head of the department in which the accused faculty member is appointed and by the director of the appropriate experiment station (AES and EES) or the director of the Bureau of General Research. The inquiry will include (1) an interview of the complainant to acquire a thorough understanding of the complaint; (2) a determination of whether the complaint, as reported, constitutes academic misconduct; (3) an interview with the person accused, giving a full account of the complaint and affording a full opportunity to respond; (4) as appropriate, a review of pertinent written documentation and interviews with persons who may have knowledge of the complaint. It is expected that the inquiry will be completed within 90 days. The records of the inquiry shall be kept in the provost's office for three years after conclusion of the inquiry.

    If the inquiry leads to the conclusion that academic misconduct has not occurred, both the complainant and the person accused of misconduct will receive a letter from the administrators conducting the inquiry stating the steps that have been taken and the determination that has been made.

    If the inquiry leads to the conclusion that misconduct has occurred but that it is not of such a serious or complex nature as to require a further investigation, that conclusion will be reported to the provost. If the provost concurs with the conclusion, both the complainant and the person accused of misconduct will receive a letter from the administrators conducting the inquiry stating the steps that have been taken, the determination that has been made, and any remedial actions required.

    If it appears from the inquiry that misconduct occurred and that a full investigation is warranted, the VPR will refer the complaint to the provost. The referral to the provost will include a description of the steps taken in the inquiry and the factual basis for the determination that a full investigation is warranted. Any pertinent documentation received during the inquiry will accompany the referral. After review the provost will refer the report from the inquiry to a RC for full investigation. The provost will also notify the person accused of wrongdoing and the complainant of the results of the inquiry and of the referral to a review committee.

  4. The review committee shall consist of five members; four shall be selected from the IRSAC and one shall be a tenured faculty member from the department of the individual whose conduct is in question. In addition, where appropriate, the RC should use a person from the charged individual's discipline outside Kansas State University as an advisor. One appointed member will be named chair to convene the committee, preside over meetings, and provide leadership in preparation of committee reports. The RC shall seek the advice of the university general counsel prior to initiating the review, and then as needed.

    At the time of the appointment of the RC, the person being charged with misconduct shall be informed by the provost in writing of the names of the selected committee members. The person charged shall have the right to two peremptory challenges to the ad hoc appointments by the provost and be informed of the right to counsel.

  5. The review committee shall conduct a thorough investigation of the allegations to determine (1) whether the charges are well founded and (2) if the allegations are unfounded, to determine whether they may be frivolous, mischievous, or malicious.

    The RC is expected to meet with the person lodging the complaint to hear the complaint in full, receive any pertinent written information, receive the names of other persons who should be interviewed, and identify any additional written documentation that should be sought by the committee. This would be followed by a meeting with the person against whom the complaint is brought to review the complaint and to give an opportunity to respond and to provide names of any individuals who should be interviewed or documents that should be sought. The committee would then interview those additional persons and review all relevant documentation.

    The RC shall report the results of their review to the provost, in writing, within 90 days. The report should include an account of the allegations, the persons interviewed, the documents received, the position of the respondent, and the conclusion(s) drawn by the committee. The charged individual will receive a copy of the report. Before the committee makes its report, the person whose conduct is being questioned shall be provided with the opportunity to discuss the matter with the committee, with or without counsel. A summary of such discussions will be made a part of the committee's report.

  6. If the committee concludes that there has been no academic misconduct, the matter shall be considered closed and nothing shall be placed in the personnel files of the person who was charged with misconduct. Both the person making the charges and the person charged shall be notified of this decision in writing.

    If the charges were found by the RC to be not only unfounded, but also frivolous, and the provost concurs, this too shall be noted in writing to both parties.

    All proceedings shall be tape-recorded and all written and tape-recorded records shall be sealed and deposited in the office of the provost. Records will ordinarily be retained for a period of six years.

    The provost may take disciplinary action against the person filing the accusation if an allegation is found to have been frivolous, malicious, or mischievous. The provost may reprimand an individual for lax supervision, faulty techniques, or inattention to propriety even when willful misconduct is not established.

  7. If the committee finds sufficient evidence that academic misconduct occurred, members shall recommend appropriate sanctions which may include, but are not necessarily limited to, (1) a letter of reprimand being placed in the personnel file, (2) loss of rights to conduct research and scholarly inquiry, (3) removal from the graduate faculty, (4) suspension, in cases for which the charges were not deemed serious enough to warrant dismissal, or (5) dismissal.
  8. If academic misconduct is established by the committee, the university provost shall take action appropriate to the seriousness of the misconduct. The provost will promptly give written notice to the person charged with misconduct of the action the university intends to take. Within 20 days of such notification, the person charged may appeal the proposed action to the appropriate board as set out below for a formal hearing. The notice from the provost will state that failure to bring an appeal within 20 days after notification will be considered an informed waiver of the person's right to further appeal the findings of the committee and the sanctions proposed by the provost.
  9. If the provost finds that the misconduct is serious enough to warrant dismissal and the individual charged is a tenured faculty member, the charged individual may appeal the proposed dismissal as prescribed in Appendix M of the University Handbook, Procedure for Review of Dismissal of Tenured Faculty, and the procedure therein followed to its terminus.

    The person charged may appeal the proposed dismissal or other sanctions to the General Grievance Board under the procedures of Appendix G of the University Handbook.

  10. All stages of this process are to be regarded as confidential. The disclosure of information to parties not directly involved is regarded as a serious breach of conduct. Prior to the completion of the entire process, funding agencies will be informed only as required by pertinent laws, regulations, and contractual agreements. Upon completion of the entire process, the provost shall inform additional parties as is deemed appropriate.
  11. Where misconduct is established, the university shall do everything feasible to clarity the public record. This action may take the form of public announcements, published retractions, and disassociations with published papers or abstracts. In particular, funding agencies shall be fully informed to comply with applicable laws, regulations, and contractual agreements.

    All pending abstracts and papers emanating from the fraudulent research shall be withdrawn and editors of journals in which reports, papers, or abstracts of such work have appeared shall be notified in sufficient detail to establish correct public record. This notification shall be done by the provost with information supplied by the faculty member in charge of the fraudulent research and the chair of the review committee.

  12. If academic misconduct is not established, the university shall consider whether a public announcement would be harmful or beneficial in restoring any reputations that may have been damaged. That decision will rest with the exonerated individual(s).

Much of the information in this statement was obtained from the Iowa State University Graduate Council Report, Recommended Policy on Integrity in Research.