Handling Misconduct: Introduction
This section provides an overview of the process established by
the Public Health Service (PHS) for responding to allegations of
research misconduct in biomedical and behavioral research or research
training supported by the PHS. The role of two major figures
in the process are discussed first - the complainant and the respondent.
Then process stages are covered - receipt of an allegation,
preliminary assessment of the allegation, conduct of the inquiry
and investigation, the institutional decision, the ORI oversight
review, the PHS decision, the option to request a hearing before
the an Administratative Law Judge, and the imposition of PHS
administrative actions when research misconduct is found. Finally,
case summaries provide some background information on previous cases.
Responding to an allegation of research misconduct tends to be
a unique rather than a routine event at most institutions [for data,
see New Institutional Research Misconduct Activity: 1992-2001] .
Few institutions have any significant experience in responding to
allegations, and the uniqueness of the event makes it difficult
for an institution to develop expertise in conducting inquiries
There is potential, however, for a research misconduct allegation to have
a high impact both on the individuals involved as well as on the
institution where the alleged misconduct took place.
Factors such as the scope of the misconduct, the length of time
the misconduct went undetected, the prestige of the individuals
or institutions involved, the possible impact on public health or
clinical treatment, retaliation against the complainant or other
mishandling of the allegation, as well as the extent of media coverage
can all play a role in the impact that a particular case may have
on individual researchers or their institutions.
is prepared to provide technical assistance to any institution that
is responding to an allegation of research misconduct through its
Rapid Response Technical Assistance (RRTA) Program. ORI has also developed an orientation video, The Role of the RIO, for new institutional research integrity officers (RIOs). ORI began offering intensive, interactive three-day boot camps for RIOs in 2007.
» ORI Sample Policy and Procedures for Responding to Allegations of Research Misconduct
» Evaluating Research Misconduct Policies at Major Research Universities: A Pilot Study