Research Misconduct

UT Austin is committed to upholding the highest standards of ethical conduct in all practices of proposing, performing, reviewing or reporting research. Compromises to these standards damage the reputation of the research community and may constitute research misconduct. 

Research misconduct includes:

  • Fabrication
  • Falsification
  • Plagiarism

Research misconduct does not include:

  • Ordinary errors
  • Good faith differences in interpretations or judgments of data
  • Scholarly or political disagreements
  • Good faith personal or professional opinions
  • Private moral or ethical behavior or views
  • Authorship disputes

Any individual with a reasonable suspicion that research misconduct has occurred at the University is encouraged to report their concern to the Research Integrity Officer (RIO). The RIO is the appointed official responsible for addressing all allegations of research misconduct. UT Austin’s research misconduct evaluation process is consistent with the U.S. Public Health Service regulations. For details on the research misconduct process, view the University Handbook of Operating Procedures, HOP 7-1230.

Reporting Research Misconduct

There are several things an individual should know before reporting a research misconduct.

Anonymous Reporting 

The complainant may choose to submit an anonymous report via UT Compliance and Ethics reporting. However, this may impede the ability of the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) to fully investigate the matter, as it is often necessary to ask clarifying questions of the person submitting a report. To speak with the RIO, please contact the Office of the Vice President for Research, Scholarship and Creative Endeavors at 512-471-9884 or 


Individuals who report an allegation of research misconduct, in good faith, are entitled to receive protection from retaliation. In addition, the University is further committed to protecting all parties who cooperate in the research misconduct process from retaliation. Any individual involved in a research misconduct case who reasonably suspects or experiences retaliation may report their concern to the RIO.


To the extent reasonably possible, the RIO maintains the confidentiality of case details and documents. In addition, University policy stipulates that all persons involved in a research misconduct case also maintain confidentiality regarding the nature and details of the case.

Mandatory Reporting to Funding Agencies and Regulatory Agencies

The RIO is responsible for reporting to the appropriate federal funding agency as required. Visit the Office of Research Integrity at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for links to all federal funding agencies’ regulations regarding research misconduct. 

Research Misconduct vs. Student Academic Misconduct

The RIO evaluates allegations of research misconduct involving students when a student’s work has been published—such as a dissertation or article—or has been used in a grant proposal. However, student academic misconduct is a different form of misconduct, and involves work completed as part of a degree program, such as a master’s thesis or academic work published in Texas ScholarWorks. If the RIO determines that the allegation constitutes academic misconduct, the matter will be referred to Student Conduct and Academic Integrity. 

Research Misconduct Evaluation Process 

Once an allegation of research misconduct has been received, there are four main steps to the evaluation process. Specifics on each step are found in the University’s research misconduct policy, HOP 7-1230.

  1. Assessments
    The RIO Evaluates the Allegation to Determine whether it falls within the scope of the University’s research misconduct policy. If yes, the RIO proceeds to an inquiry.
  2. Inquiry
    The RIO gathers preliminary evidence, interviews case participants and analyzes case evidence to determine whether an investigation is warranted. If yes, the RIO proceeds to an investigation. 
  3. Investigation
    The RIO establishes an investigative committee which interviews case participants, examines all available evidence and writes an investigative report for submission to the Provost. 
  4. Provost's Review
    The Provost reviews the investigative committee’s report and determines whether to accept the report and recommend actions or return the report to the committee and request additional information. 

File a Report


Contact the Research Integrity Officer at or call 512-471-9884.