Policy on Integrity in Research; Supercedes EM 89-036; Revised by EM 12-064

Executive Memorandum 06-036; Supercedes EM 89-036

June 12, 2006

From: Paul J. Zingg, President

Subject: Policy on Integrity in Research; Supercedes EM 89-036; Revised by EM 12-064

This policy, which replaces EM 89-036, results from changes in federal regulations regarding this topic.

INTEGRITY IN RESEARCH

Statement of Principle

California State University, Chico embraces the principle that the academy is responsible for promoting and encouraging the highest standards of honesty and ethical conduct in carrying out research.

In order to maintain integrity in research, the university community accepts the responsibility for investigating, reporting, and resolving allegations of misconduct in research.

Scope of This Policy

The Policy on Integrity in Research shall apply specifically to university administrators, faculty and staff, including employees of campus auxiliary organizations conducting any research (externally funded or not), and to students while involved in research funded by external sponsors administered by the University or its auxiliary organizations. Allegations of misconduct directed at student research not involving sponsored projects will be adjudicated through the policy and procedures established by E.O. 969 and E.O. 970 as locally implemented by EM 96-038 (or any subsequent EM), Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, and EM 04-036 (and any subsequent EM), Policy on Academic Integrity. This policy is also stated in the FPPP, Section 26, as it pertains to faculty.

Policy Administration

As required by CSU Chancellor's Office E.O. 890, the campus President is ultimately responsible for the implementation of this policy. Therefore, the President will have final decision-making authority, including the authority to delegate decision-making authority, about all matters covering the general implementation of this policy and in individual cases involving allegations of misconduct as defined below.

The Office of the Vice Provost for Human Resources will be the designated office where individuals may make inquiries regarding this policy and the related procedures.

The Office of the Vice Provost for Human Resources will manage the administrative activities related to inquiries, investigations, or adjudications stemming from allegations of misconduct directed at individuals who are primarily University (state) employees.

The Human Resources Office of the CSU, Chico Research Foundation will manage the administrative activities related to inquiries, investigations, or adjudications stemming from allegations of misconduct directed at individuals who are primarily Research Foundation employees.

In cases where a sponsored project or a proposal for a sponsored project is involved, the Vice Provost for Research will be consulted and involved as necessary to insure that sponsor regulations are met and the sponsor is informed.

Reporting Allegations of Misconduct

Allegations of misconduct may be reported to any administrative official (for example, department chairs, deans, vice provosts, vice presidents, provost, president) of the University. The individual receiving the allegation of misconduct will then forward the allegation to an appropriate University official as necessary:

  • If the allegation is against a student, to the Vice President for Student Affairs or the Director of the Student Judicial Affairs Office.
  • If the allegation is against a faculty member, to the Vice Provost for Human Resources or the Provost.
  • If the allegation is against an individual who is primarily a University (state) employee, to the Office of the Vice Provost for Human Resources.
  • If the allegation is against an individual who is primarily an employee of the Research Foundation, to the Research Foundation's Human Resources Office.
  • If the allegation involves a sponsored project, or is related to a proposal that may lead to a sponsored project, the Vice Provost for Research must also be informed.

Definitions

Research Misconduct means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research or in reporting research results. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

This definition will be used to define research misconduct where RESEARCH means all basic, applied, and demonstration research in all fields of inquiry.

Fabrication means making up data or results and recording or reporting them.

Falsification means manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.

Plagiarism means the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

Research Record means the record of data or results that embody the facts resulting from the research or inquiry and includes, but is not limited to, research proposals, laboratory records, both physical and electronic, progress reports, theses, oral presentations, internal reports, and journal articles or other publications.

A Finding of research misconduct means there is a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community the misconduct is committed intentionally, or knowingly, or recklessly and the allegation is proved by a preponderance of the evidence.

Preponderance of Evidence means proof by information that, compared with that opposing it, leads to the conclusion that the fact at issue is more probably true than not.

Guidelines for Fair and Timely Procedures

As part of this policy, the University adopts the following commitments and guidelines related to reporting and investigating allegations of research misconduct.

Safeguards for Subjects of Allegations

  • Provide timely written notification to subjects regarding the substantive allegations made against them and a description of the allegations.
  • Provide the subject with reasonable access to the data and other evidence supporting the allegations.
  • Provide an opportunity for the subject to respond to the allegations, the supporting evidence, and the proposed findings of research misconduct (if any).
  • Make reasonable efforts to protect and restore the positions and reputations of the subjects when no findings of research misconduct are made.
  • Provide fair and objective procedures for examining and resolving allegations of research misconduct.

Safeguards for Informants, Witnesses, and Committee Members

  • Protect informants and witnesses against retaliation for bringing forward good faith allegations of research misconduct and participating in inquiry and investigation phases.
  • Protect the positions and reputations of persons who make good faith allegations of research misconduct or those who appear as witnesses in the inquiry and investigation phases.
  • Protect from retaliation the positions and reputations of individuals who sit on committees investigating allegations of research misconduct.
  • Provide fair and objective procedures for examining and resolving allegations of research misconduct.

Objectivity and Expertise

Select individuals to review allegations of misconduct and conduct investigations who have appropriate expertise and have no unresolved conflicts of interests so that fairness is ensured throughout the process.

Timeliness

Establish reasonable time limits for the conduct of each phase of the process, with allowances for extensions where appropriate.

Confidentiality

  • Limit information regarding the allegation and specific process to those who need to know to the extent possible consistent with a fair and thorough investigation and as allowed by law.
  • The California Whistleblower Protection Act (California Government Code Section 3, 8547) may also come into play depending on the circumstances and individuals involved.

Procedures

Procedures for handling allegations of research misconduct will adhere to federal regulations current at the time the allegation is made.

Allegations of misconduct involving proposals for federal funds or federally funded projects will adhere strictly to the federal regulations appropriate to the federal funding source.

Allegations of research misconduct involving sponsored (funded) projects from non-federal sources or allegations not involving sponsored projects will follow federal procedure guidelines as deemed appropriate for the particular circumstances of each case of alleged misconduct.

At a minimum, each allegation of misconduct will involve a multi-phase process with a report of findings and recommendation(s) to the President at each stage as to what should be the next phase. Typically, an allegation of research misconduct that at each phase receives a recommendation to continue to the next phase will involve the following phases:

  • Inquiry - The assessment of whether the allegation has substance and if an investigation is warranted
  • Investigation - The formal development of a factual record and the examination of that record leading to dismissal of the allegation or to a recommendation for a finding of research misconduct or other appropriate remedies
  • Adjudication - The process by which recommendations are reviewed and appropriate corrective actions determined

Each person against whom an allegation is made will be notified formally no later than at the time it is decided that an investigation (see above) will be undertaken. Notification may take place sooner depending on the circumstances of each case.

Inquiry and investigation phases may involve the appointment by the President, or designee, of one or more ad hoc committees to conduct the activities required of an inquiry and/or investigation. Determination of the need for such a committee will be made by the President based upon the federal or other sponsor regulations that may pertain to specific cases and other circumstances of individual cases.