|Document Title||Scientific Misconduct Policy|
Campus Policy on Scientific Misconduct
A crucial element of any policy on scientific misconduct that is to be fair and effective is a process that will distinguish instances of genuine and serious misconduct from insignificant deviations from acceptable practices, technical violations of rules, simple carelessness, and other such minor infractions. The policy proposed in this document will allow such distinctions to be made in a manner that minimizes disruptiveness and protects the conscientious, honest scientist from false or mistaken accusations.
It is the purpose of these policies to instill and promote the principles of professional integrity, to prevent scientific misconduct, and to discover and censure instances of misconduct when they occur. Accordingly,
Scientific Misconduct: "Misconduct" or "misconduct in science" means fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretation or judgment of data.
Inquiry: An inquiry is an information-gathering and initial fact-finding to determine whether an allegation or apparent instance of misconduct warrants an investigation.
Investigation: An investigation is a formal examination and evaluation of all relevant facts to determine if an instance of misconduct has taken place. If misconduct is confirmed, the investigation should determine the seriousness of the offense and the extent of any adverse effects resulting from the misconduct.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs, after consultation with the President and others, as necessary, will appoint an administrator to serve as the Misconduct Policy Officer.
Responsibilities of the Misconduct Policy Officer:
The involvement of faculty and staff in inquiries or investigations pursuant to these Guidelines is considered part of their employment duties and responsibilities within the meaning of Section 17 of the Public Officers Law.
As a first step in the process of inquiry, an initial report of alleged misconduct will be prepared in writing by the Misconduct Policy Officer (MPO). The accuracy of this report must be attested to by a statement signed by the person(s) making the allegations. The Misconduct Policy Officer will then conduct an immediate, informal, discrete inquiry into allegations of misconduct in order to determine whether there is a substantial basis for initiating a formal investigation into the alleged misconduct. The Misconduct Policy Officer will make every effort to safeguard all individual reputations and the integrity of the research. Every effort shall be made to protect the interests, privacy, position and reputation of those who in good faith report apparent misconduct and others who testify. In the conduct of this inquiry, the Misconduct Policy Officer may consult, on an ad hoc basis, with faculty members of his/her choice. Further, the MPO, in consultation with the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and the Research Foundation Campus Operations Manager, will take appropriate administrative actions to protect Federal funds and ensure that the purposes of the Federal financial assistance are being carried out.
The faculty member or other investigator whose research is the subject of the complaint shall be notified that a complaint has been lodged, the nature of the complaint, and the procedures to be followed. The affected individual(s) will be granted confidential treatment to the maximum extent possible, a prompt and thorough investigation, and an opportunity to comment on allegations and findings of the inquiry.
Any evidence pertinent to the resolution of the issue shall be made secure by the Misconduct Policy Officer conducting the inquiry.
The primary purpose of the inquiry is to separate unfounded allegations from those of a more substantive nature. Therefore, in order to avoid unwarranted clouds upon the reputations of the accused, the inquiry shall be conducted in confidence. Whenever possible, the Misconduct Policy Officer will complete the inquiry within 60 days of the filing of the initial report. At the completion of the inquiry, the Misconduct Policy Officer will file a report with the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The report which shall include the initial report described in II.A.1, shall be in writing and shall contain the evidence reviewed, interview summaries and the conclusion of the Misconduct Policy Officer as to whether the allegations are warranted and the reasons attendant thereto. The Misconduct Policy Officer will maintain sufficiently detailed documentation of inquiries to permit a later review of the reasons for each assessment. Such records shall be maintained in a secure manner for at least three years after the termination of the inquiry and shall, upon request, be provided to authorized representatives of any sponsoring or funding agency having a legitimate interest in them.
Precautions should be taken against real or apparent conflicts of interest on the part of those involved in the inquiry or investigation.
The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs shall determine on the basis of the written report of the inquiry, and any other consultation deemed necessary, whether the allegations warrant a formal investigation. In either case, the basis for the decision will be fully documented.
If the decision of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is that no investigation is warranted, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs will notify all those concerned of this determination. The institution will undertake diligent efforts, as appropriate, to restore the reputations of persons alleged to have engaged in misconduct when the allegations are not confirmed. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs may also examine the propriety of the initial charge and take further action if appropriate.
If the decision of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is that an investigation is necessary, it shall be formally undertaken within 30 days of the completion of the inquiry.
If the decision of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is that an investigation is necessary, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or his designee shall:
Conduct of the Investigation
During the course of the investigation, the Misconduct Investigation Committee shall:
At the conclusion of the investigation, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or his designee will:
Responsibility for recommending the nature and severity of disciplinary action will rest in the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. If misconduct is confirmed, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs shall make recommendations to the President for appropriate sanctions against the subject.
The President, upon receiving the report of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and any statement of rebuttal by the accused, will make a final determination regarding what action shall be taken and formally notify all parties, including the awarding agency and Research Foundation of that decision.
If misconduct is confirmed, the institution will take appropriate action in accordance with Article 19 of the Agreement between The State of New York and United University Professions. A faculty/staff member who is the subject of an inquiry or investigation has, as a matter of course, the right to consultation with legal counsel if he or she chooses. However, the faculty member has the right to representation by counsel in institutional proceedings only after formal disciplinary charges have been filed in accordance with section 19.8 of the Agreement between The State of New York and United University Professions.
Consideration will also be given to formal notification of other concerned parties not previously notified, such as:
About these Policies
These policies draw freely on the language and contents of many published and unpublished documents including the guidelines developed by the University of Texas, the State University of New York at Albany, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse, and the SUNY Colleges at Buffalo and Potsdam.