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Research Misconduct 

Policy summary: University of Richmond policy and procedures for responding to allegations of research misconduct.

This University's policy for responding to allegations of research misconduct is adapted from the U.S. Office of Research Integrity’s Sample Policy. For ease of use this policy does not “quote” the extensive use of this sample material; nor does it include frequent references to the Public Health Service, which originally promulgated the policy on which the model policy was based. This policy replaces the previous research misconduct policy of the University, effective Jan. 31, 2011.

The University expects adherence to the highest ethical and moral standards in the conduct of research and scholarly activity by all members of the University community, including faculty, staff and students. This policy applies to research misconduct, which is fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, reviewing, or reporting research. Definitions of these and other terms are provided in this policy.

Under this policy, the University provost will serve as or designate the “Deciding Official” for allegations of research misconduct. The provost also will designate the research integrity officer (RIO), who is currently the director of the Office of Research Compliance and Integrity.

When a member of the University community has reason to believe that research misconduct has occurred, he or she is obligated to report such concerns to the RIO. A potential complainant may also seek guidance from the RIO as to whether or not such concerns warrant a complaint. Upon receipt of a complaint, the RIO will assess allegations and determine whether or not an inquiry will be conducted. The process can end at this time with a determination by the RIO that an inquiry is not warranted.

If an inquiry is warranted, an Inquiry Committee will be appointed by the RIO, in consultation with other University officials. The Inquiry Committee will interview the complainant, the respondent (the subject of the complaint), and other key witnesses, as well as review relevant evidence. A draft inquiry report will be provided to the respondent for comment. The Inquiry Committee will decide, in consultation with the RIO, if an investigation is recommended and report its findings to the deciding official. The deciding official will determine in writing whether or not an investigation is warranted. If an investigation is warranted, an Investigation Committee is formed. The RIO will provide the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) with the deciding official’s written decision and the final inquiry report.

The purpose of the investigation is to develop a factual, detailed record of the allegations and evidence and make a recommendation to the deciding official. Members of the Inquiry Committee may subsequently serve on the Investigation Committee. After a thorough review, the Investigation Committee and the RIO will prepare a draft report, which will be made available to the respondent for comment. After the Investigating Committee makes its final report, the deciding official will make a final decision in writing as to whether or not the University accepts the investigation report, its findings, and its recommended actions. The RIO will notify the complainant and the respondent of this decision and provide required materials to the U.S. ORI. The deciding official will ensure that appropriate administrative actions are taken. Records will be retained for seven years.

For more information, please see the full Research Misconduct Policy.