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1.8 Integrity in Research and Scholarly Activities

I. Introduction

University personnel assure quality and integrity in their research and publications primarily by self-regulation, by adherence to professional standards and ethical codes, and by reference to the traditions and collegiality that characterize research institutions. This document articulates University policy on academic integrity in research and scholarly activity, and prescribes procedures for impartial fact-finding and fair adjudication of allegations of academic misconduct. Although it focuses upon deterring and penalizing misconduct, its purpose is to promote compliance with the highest scholarly standards.

A variety of informal practices exist within the University for addressing questions and controversies that may arise concerning the conduct of scholarly activities. Most problems are and should be handled by reasoned discussion or informal mediation at the level of University organization closest to the persons involved. It is nevertheless incumbent upon a university both to articulate its policies on academic integrity and to provide effective procedures for institutional treatment of incidents of academic misconduct that cannot be handled satisfactorily by informal mediation or other procedures.

Many professional associations have ethical codes and guidelines for the conduct of research; University personnel are expected to comply with such standards. Violations of such ethical codes and guidelines are a matter for peer review and censure; in some instances, they may become grounds for University disciplinary action as well.

University personnel in leadership or supervisory positions have a special obligation to foster academic integrity in their relationships and in their work. By virtue of their positions, they are mentors. It is their responsibility to exercise supervisory responsibility through examples of fastidious compliance with ethical standards.

II. General Provisions

  1. Coverage - This policy includes, but is not limited to, all members of the University community: administrators, faculty, university staff, graduate or undergraduate students, and agents or collaborators who are engaged in research or other scholarly activity and acting as an agent for, under the auspice of, or in any way related to Illinois State University. In this policy, the person against whom an allegation is made will be referred to as the respondent.
  2. Oversight Authority - The Associate Vice President for Research has primary responsibility for fostering academic integrity and for disseminating information about integrity in research practices and scholarly activities.
  3. Academic Integrity Officer - The Associate Vice President for Research will appoint an Academic Integrity Officer (AIO) who will be primarily responsible for the correct observance of the policies and procedures set forth in this document. An AIO will be a tenured faculty member or an administrative officer who is well qualified to deal with procedural requirements and is sensitive to the varied demands to which those who conduct research must respond.
  4. Confidentiality - All persons involved in administering these procedures will make diligent efforts to protect the academic reputations and positions of persons who in good faith report suspected misconduct in research and scholarly activities and persons against whom are made allegations that are determined to be unfounded. All of the procedures and the identity of those involved should be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law. Protection of confidentiality does not preclude disclosures that are necessary in the process of handling allegations of misconduct, are in the public interest, or are a component of sanctions and/or corrective action in the resolution of allegations of misconduct.
  5. Academic Freedom - It shall be a prime concern of all persons who implement this policy and these procedures to protect the policies of academic freedom and tenure that are fundamental to the academic enterprise. Academic freedom affords no license for misconduct in the research and scholarly activitiesdescribed in Part III.

III. Definition of Misconduct

It is a fundamental responsibility of all the members of the University community to maintain the trust of the public in all research and scholarly activity. All members of our University community share the responsibility to assure that misconduct in research and scholarlyendeavors is dealt with in a timely and effective manner, and that the reputation of the University for high standards of scholarly integrity is preserved.

Misconduct or fraud in research and scholarlyendeavors may be grounds for disciplinary action or even for termination of employment under appropriate University procedures. Such serious offenses include the following:

  1. Fabrication of Data: dishonesty in reporting results, ranging from fabrication of data, improper adjustment of results, and gross negligence in collecting or analyzing data to selective reporting or omission of conflicting data for deceptive purposes;
  2. Plagiarism: taking credit for someone else's work and ideas, stealing others' results or methods, copying the writing of others without proper acknowledgment, or otherwise falsely taking credit for the work or ideas of another;
  3. Abuse of Confidentiality: taking or releasing the ideas or data of others which were shared with the legitimate expectation of confidentiality, e.g., stealing ideas from others' grant proposals, award applications, or manuscripts for publication when one is a reviewer for granting agencies or journals;
  4. Falsification in Research: in addition to deliberately misrepresenting research, misrepresenting the progress of research; knowingly publishing, presenting or releasing material that will mislead audiences, e.g., misrepresenting data, particularly its originality, misrepresenting research progress, or adding the names of other authors without permission;
  5. Deliberate Violation of Regulations: flagrant or repeated failure to adhere to or to secure the required approval for work under research regulations of Federal, State, local or University agencies, including, but not limited to, guidelines for: protection of human subjects; protection of animal subjects; use of recombinant DNA; use of radioactive material; use of hazardous chemicals or biologicals; conduct of classified research;
  6. Property Violations: stealing or intentionally destroying the research-related property of others, such as research papers, supplies, equipment, or products of research or scholarship;
  7. Retaliation: taking punitive action against an individual for having reported alleged seriousintegrity in research offenses;
  8. Failure to Report Observed Major Offenses: covering up or otherwise failing to report known major offenses or breaches of research ethics by those covered in section II.A that one has observed. It is the responsibility of members of the scholarly community to avoid such misconduct in their own research or creative efforts and to report serious violations to University authorities according to the procedures outlined in this document.

IV Procedures

A. General

The procedure for handling allegations of misconduct in research and scholarly activitiesis separated into two stages: an Inquiry to determine whether there is sufficient credible evidence to justify an investigation; and, in those instances in which the Inquiry yields sufficient evidence, an Investigation to make definitive findings of fact and reach conclusions as to whether a Respondent has committed academic misconduct.

  1. Procedural Responsibility of Academic Integrity Officer (AIO) - The Academic Integrity Officer will have primary responsibility for compliance with procedures and notice requirements mandated by applicable laws and regulations or by external sponsors of research. The AIO also will assist Inquiry Teams, Investigating Panels, and all University personnel to comply with these procedures and with applicable standards imposed by government or external funding sources. During the course of an Inquiry and an Investigation, the AIO will provide information about the status of the proceedings to, and respond to inquiries from, the Unit Director and the Respondent.

    The Academic Integrity Officer will maintain a file of all documents and evidence, and is responsible for the confidentiality and the security of the file. All information and items furnished will be made available to any Inquiry Team or Investigation Panel that may be appointed.
  2. Consultation - The Academic Integrity Officer may consult the Office of General Counsel at any time. The Respondent may consult private counsel and may be accompanied by an advisor/counsel of choice at any interview or hearing for the purpose of providing advice to the Respondent. The respondent may not consider University legal counsel as counsel. The responsibilities assigned to the AIO shall not be deemed to constitute rights of the Respondent.
  3. Conflict of Interest - If any administrator has a conflict of interest in a case (i.e., has significant involvement with the individuals or the facts that are the basis of the case), that administrator will be replaced for that case. A person who has such a conflict is responsible for informing the AIO; if the AIO has such a conflict, the AIO will inform the Associate Vice President for Research. The Provost will assign responsibilities to a Dean or Unit Director, in cases involving central administration personnel. All those involved should avoid conflict of interest.
  4. Expedition; Procedural Changes - All procedures prescribed in this document should be conducted expeditiously. After consultation with the Integrity Officer and the Respondent (if feasible),for good cause the Provost may extend any of the time periods and may make other reasonable alterations of the procedures set forth in this document, provided that the changes do not infringe upon a Respondent's rights or impair the ability to defend.

B. Initiation of Procedures

Any member of the University community who becomes aware of misconduct in research or scholarly activity (the Initiator) is obligated to report the incident or practice, and provide all relevant information or evidence. The report may be made to the Chair, Director, or appropriate supervisor of the unit in which the person alleged to have committed the misconduct (the Respondent) holds principal appointment, or to the Academic Integrity Officer. Each will notify the other, in writing, within 24 hours of receiving the report of the allegation in writing

  1. Transmission of Report of Allegation. Unless the report or allegation of misconduct in research or scholarly activity is clearly frivolous or mistaken, or should be referred to another body (for example, SCERB), the Chair, Director or appropriate unit supervisor, with the assistance of the AIO, will bring the matter to the attention of the Dean or appropriate supervisor within 15 calendar days.
  2. Inquiry Decision. Within 15 calendar days after the matter has been brought to the Dean or appropriate supervisor's attention by the AIO, the Dean or appropriate supervisor, after consultation with the AIO and the appropriate Chair, Director or appropriate unit supervisor, will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant an Inquiry. If an Inquiry is warranted, the University will proceed with an Inquiry as described in Section C.

    If the Dean or appropriate supervisor decides that the matter is not to be pursued further, the AIO will make sure that all reference to the matter is expunged from the Respondent's personnel file. The Respondent, the Initiator and all persons who have been interviewed or otherwise informed of the charge shall be notified in writing of the nature and disposition of the allegation. At this point the matter may be referred to other campus constituencies responsible for dispute resolution.
  3. Interim Administrative Action. At any time after an allegation of academic misconduct has been made and before final disposition of the case, the AIO or the Dean or appropriate supervisor, with the approval of the Provost or appropriate University official, may take interim administrative action required to protect the health and safety of research subjects or patients, to protect the interests of students and colleagues, to preserve evidence, or to protect resources. Any interim action should be devised and taken so as to create minimal interference with the regular activities of the Respondent and others, and in accord with the University policies and procedures. If at any time the person responsible for appointing the committee discovers that a member of the inquiry committee does not meet the criteria in section IV. C., that person may replace the member.
  4. Criminal Activities. If any criminal activity is suspected during an academic integrity Inquiry or Investigation, the AIO will notify in writing the Office of General Counsel; however, the Inquiry or Investigation should not be suspended.

C. Inquiry

The purpose of an Inquiry is to determine whether there is sufficient credible evidence of academic misconduct to warrant an Investigation.

  1. Appointment of Inquiry Team - If the Dean or appropriate supervisor decides that an Inquiry should be conducted, the Dean or appropriate supervisor, in consultation with the AIO, will appoint an Inquiry Team consisting of individuals who have no conflicts of interest in the case, are unbiased, and have appropriate qualifications to judge the issues. The AIO cannot be a member of the team but serves in a nonvoting capacity and is available to the team for consultation. Whenever feasible, the Inquiry Team shall consist of one faculty member or academic professional from the unit in which the Respondent holds a primary appointment, or in which the activity in question has been conducted; and one faculty member or academic professional from elsewhere within the University. In all cases the team shall include at least one faculty member. The Dean or appropriate supervisor may appoint a faculty member or an academic professional from elsewhere in the University as a third member of the Inquiry Team. Any exception to the designated composition of the Inquiry Team shall be made only for good cause and with the approval of the Provost.
  2. Notification of Respondent - Upon initiation of the Inquiry, the AIO shall notify the Respondent and the Inquiry Team, in writing, of the allegations and will notify the Respondent of the right to private counsel. The AIO shall inform the Respondent of the Respondent's right to submit a written response to the allegation. The AIO shall explain to the Respondent the obligation and the advantages of full cooperation in providing information and materials relevant to the Inquiry/Investigation of the allegation. The AIO shall notify the Respondent of the obligation and the right to provide the Inquiry Team with pertinent evidence and of the ability to challenge a member of the Team for failure to meet the criteria set forth in IV.C.1.
  3. Challenge - If the Respondent makes a reasonable, written objection within 15 calendar days of the written notification of the allegation, that any of the persons appointed to the Inquiry Team fails to meet the criteria stated in IV.C.1, the Dean or appropriate supervisor shall replace the challenged person with another person who meets the stated criteria. The decision of the Dean or appropriate supervisor whether the challenge is reasonable shall be final.
  4. Agreed Statement of Facts - If the Respondent, in writing, agrees with the facts alleged, that may be the basis for a decision whether there should be an Investigation in lieu of the continuation of the Inquiry. The Agreed Statement of Facts will serve as the Inquiry Report.
  5. AIO Assistance to Inquiry Team - The AIO should advise the team during the initial inquiry, review the allegations, and describe appropriate procedures for conducting an Inquiry. The AIO should be present throughout the Inquiry to advise the Team.

D. The Inquiry Report

  1. Time Limit for Report. The Inquiry Team shall complete the Inquiry and submit its Report in writing no more than 30 calendar days after the challenge interval is completed. If the Provost approves an extension of this time limit, the reason for the extension will be entered in the Report, and the Respondent will be notified of the extension.
  2. Contents of Inquiry Report. The Report of the Inquiry Team shall be drafted with the assistance of the AIO. It shall contain both findings of fact and descriptions of the evidence upon which the findings are based, and recommendations as to whether there is sufficient credible evidence of misconduct to warrant a full-scale Investigation. If the Report recommends that an Investigation be conducted, it may propose subject matter to be included in the Investigation.
  3. Distribution of Report. The Report will be delivered to the Dean or appropriate supervisor who will transmit it promptly to the AIO for inclusion in the file. The AIO will deliver a copy of the Report to the Associate Vice President for Research and to the Respondent.
  4. Comment by Respondent. If the Inquiry Team recommends that an Investigation be conducted, the Respondent may, within 10 calendar days of receipt of a copy of the Report, file written comments on the Report with the Associate Vice President for Research.
  5. Decision by Associate Vice President for Research. Within 10 calendar days after receiving both the Report and the written comments of the Respondent, if any are made, the Associate Vice President for Research, after consulting with the Dean the Chair, Director, or appropriate unit supervisor; the Inquiry Team; and the AIO, shall determine whether to conduct an Investigation, dismiss the case, or to take some other appropriate action.

    If the Associate Vice President for Research decides that the matter is not to be pursued further, the AIO will make sure that all reference to the matter is expunged from the Respondent's personnel file. The Respondent; the appropriate Chair, Director, or appropriate unit supervisor; the Initiator; and all persons who have been interviewed or otherwise informed of the charge shall be notified in writing that the case has been dismissed.

    If the Associate Vice President for Research decides that an Investigation shall be conducted, the AIO will notify the Respondent and the Initiator in writing and remind them of their obligation to cooperate in the Investigation. Also, the AIO will notify appropriate campus administrators, including the President, the Provost, the Dean, and the Director of the unit in which the Respondent holds primary appointment; appropriate collaborators of the Respondent in the work; appropriate external funding agencies; and appropriate governmental offices.

E. Investigation

The purpose of an Investigation is to make an official determination of whether the alleged misconduct did occur, and to consider appropriate sanctions if the finding is affirmed.

  1. Focus of the Investigation. The Associate Vice President for Research, after reviewing the Report of the Inquiry Team, shall define the focus of the Investigation in a written charge to the Investigation Panel. If during the Investigation, additional information that substantially changes the focus of the Investigation should come to the attention of the Panel, the Panel will notify the Associate Vice President for Research. The Associate Vice President for Research will determine whether the Panel should continue its investigation with the original focus or with altered focus or whether to initiate a new Investigation based upon the altered focus indicated by the Panel.
  2. Appointment of Panel. Within 15 calendar days after the Respondent has been notified that an Investigation will be conducted, the Associate Vice President for Research, after consulting with the AIO, shall appoint an Investigation Panel consisting of persons who have no conflicts of interest with the Respondent or in the case in question, are unbiased persons of judicious temperament, and have academic backgrounds that qualify them to understand and judge the focus of the alleged misconduct. A Panel shall consist of three persons, each of whom shall be a faculty member or an administrative professional; at least one shall be a faculty member. Whenever feasible, it will include one person from the unit in which the Respondent holds primary appointment, one faculty member from elsewhere in the University, and one peer professional from outside the University. No member of the Inquiry Team may serve on the Investigation Panel. The University faculty member who is not from the unit in which the Respondent holds primary appointment will chair the Panel.
  3. Challenge. The Respondent may challenge any member of the Panel on the ground that the person does not meet the criteria stated above by delivering a reasonable, written objection to the AIO, within 15 calendar days of the panel appointment for transmission to the Associate Vice President for Research. If the objection is reasonable, the Associate Vice President for Research shall replace the person with one who meets the stated criteria.

    The decision of the Associate Vice President for Research whether the challenge is reasonable shall be final.

    If at any time, the Associate Vice President for Research becomes aware that a panelist does not meet the criteria for membership of the panel, he or she may replace that person with an appropriate member who meets those criteria.
  4. Academic Integrity Officer Assistance to Panel. The AIO should advise the Panel during the initial review of the allegations of the report of the Inquiry Panel, and the prescribed procedures. The AIO should be present at all meetings throughout the Investigation to advise the Panel as to available and appropriate investigatory methods, assure procedural compliance, and provide staff support to the Panel.
  5. Rights of the Respondent During the Investigation. The rights of the Respondent shall be listed in the form of a written notice or letter from the AIO to the Respondent within 15 calendar days of the notice of an investigation. These rights include:
    1. Written notice of the identity of the persons appointed to the Panel.
    2. A written statement of the Investigation Panel's charge (the focus of the Investigation). If additional information emerges during the Investigation that Respondent shall be informed promptly in writing.
    3. An opportunity to submit statements in writing and to meet with the Panel to present information and respond to the focus of the Investigation.
    4. The presence of private legal counsel or another advisor of choice at the Respondent's meeting(s) with the Panel, for the purpose of providing advice to the Respondent.
    5. An opportunity to review and respond to the Panel's final Report.
    6. To challenge any member of the Panel within 15 calendar days after the Panel's constitution.

F. Report of the Investigation Panel

  1. Contents of the Investigation Panel Report. Within 120 calendar days of notice to the Respondent of its appointment, the Panel shall present its Report in writing to the Associate Vice President for Research. In exceptional circumstances, the Panel may request from the Associate Vice President of Research a one-time extension of up to 30 calendar days. The Report shall generally describe the investigative process. The Report shall make an explicit finding of fact with respect to each allegation included in the Investigation Panel's charge, and list the evidence relevant to that finding. The Report shall then state the Panel's conclusions as to whether any of the proven allegations constitutes a violation of integrity in research and scholarly activities.

    If the Panel's Report concludes that one or more violations have been substantiated, the Report may recommend what sanctions, if any, should be imposed upon the Respondent and what corrective action, if any, should be taken.
  2. Comments by the Respondent. The Report shall be transmitted promptly by the AIO to the Respondent. The Respondent may submit written comments within 15 calendar days of receipt of the Report. Any such comments shall be transmitted by the AIO to the Associate Vice President for Research.
  3. Appeal Process.The respondent may appeal the Panel’s Report or recommendation within 15 calendar days after receiving the report. The written appeal will explain the basis for the appeal.
    1. Upon the filing of an appeal, the Dean or immediate supervisor shall constitute an Appeals Committee (AC) within seven (7) calendar days after receiving the appeal. The AC shall be comprised of three members in accordance with the guidelines in section IV.E.2. and shall include no members of the Inquiry Team or Investigation Panel. It shall complete its review within fifteen (15) calendar days.
    2. Within seven (7) calendar days after the review of an appeal is conducted, the AC shall submit to the Associate Vice President for Research a report affirming the AC’s recommendation or making an alternate recommendation, along with the Respondent’s written appeal.
  4. Transmission of Report to Provost. The Associate Vice President for Research shall promptly transmit the Report, together with the comments of the Respondent, if any, to the Provost, with the Associate Vice President for Research’s recommendations.
  5. Action by the Provost. The Provost, after consultation with the Dean or appropriate supervisor and the Associate Vice President for Research, shall determine what disposition to make of the case. The determination shall be communicated to the Respondent within 15 calendar days of the transmission of the report to the Provost.

    If the Provost determines that the allegations have not been proved, the case will be disposed of as provided for in Section IV D 5 above, and the AIO will notify the Respondent, the Initiator, the appropriate Chair, Director, or appropriate unit supervisor and all persons who have been interviewed or otherwise informed of the charges that the charges have been dismissed.

    If the Provost concurs with the Panel's conclusion that misconduct has been proven, the Provost will proceed in accordance with the University Statutes and relevant University rules and regulations. The Provost may prescribe sanctions and/or corrective action responsive to the alleged misconduct and/or take other appropriate action. The AIO shall notify the Dean or appropriate supervisor, and appropriate Chair, Director, or appropriate unit supervisor of sanctions imposed and/or other actions taken.

G. Appeal

The Provost is the final adjudicator of all allegations of misconduct in research and scholarly activity that arise at the campus level, subject only to an appeal to the President of the University on procedural grounds. Within 14 calendar days of receipt of written notification of the Provost's determination, the Respondent may appeal to the President of the University on the sole question of whether the procedures prescribed in this document have been followed correctly or of whether the Provost’s decision is final. The appeal must be filed in writing. The President shall issue a decision within 30 calendar days, either affirming or vacating the Provost's determination in whole or in part based on whether fundamental fairness was denied to the Respondent.

H. Notifications

The Provost will determine whether law enforcement agencies, professional societies, professional licensing boards, editors of journals in which deceptive reports may have been published, collaborators of the Respondent in the work, or other concerned parties, including the Initiator, should be notified of the outcome of a case. The Academic Integrity Officer will be responsible for compliance with all requirements for notification of funding or sponsoring agencies.

I. Termination of University Employment

The termination of University employment of the Respondent, by resignation or otherwise, after initiation of procedures under this policy, will not terminate misconduct procedures. Inquiries and Investigations may be conducted, and appropriate internal and external notifications of the proceedings and of their outcome will be made.

J. Malicious Charges

Bringing unfounded charges motivated by malice constitutes a violation of the purposes and standards for ethical conduct that underlie this document. Where relevant, the Inquiry Team's Report and the Investigation Panel's Report each will state explicitly whether there was a reasonable basis in fact and honest belief for making charges. If either Report should determine that the making of the original charges or the testimony of any person was maliciously motivated, that finding shall be communicated to the Provost. The Provost may enter a finding of malicious conduct in the person's personnel file and communicate the finding to the person's Dean and Chair, Director, or appropriate unit supervisor. Such a finding may be the basis for disciplinary action or other personnel decisions in accordance with University rules and regulations.

K. Disposition of File

After termination of a case and all ensuing related actions, the Academic Integrity Officer shall prepare a complete file, including the original records of all proceedings conducted by the Inquiry Team and the Investigation Panel, and copies of all documents and other materials furnished to the AIO or to those bodies. The AIO shall seal the file and retain it for three years. Access to the materials in the file shall be available only upon authorization of the Provost for good cause, such as court process, legally binding demand by external agency, or the involvement of the same subject matter in subsequent Integrity in Research and Scholarly Activities procedures initiated by or against the Respondent.

The Academic Integrity Officer shall return all original documents and materials to the persons who furnished them. After three years, the AIO will destroy the file unless the AIO makes a written finding that there is good reason to retain the file. The writing will state explicitly the reasons why and the period during which the file is to be maintained, and will be entered in the file. The Respondent shall receive either a notice that the file has been destroyed, or a copy of the written finding that the file will be retained.

Initiating body: Research and Sponsored Programs

Contact: Associate Vice President of Research (309-438-8451)

Revised on: 05/01/2002


2016-07-28T12:32:03.164-05:00 2016
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