Research Misconduct Evaluation Process

research misconduct evaluation process

Assessment Phase

When someone reasonably suspects that research misconduct has been committed by someone within the UT Austin research community, that person shall report an allegation to the Research Integrity Officer (RIO). The RIO will review each allegation and decide whether the allegation falls within the scope of the University’s  research misconduct policy and decide whether to open an inquiry. If the allegation falls within the scope of the policy, in accordance with the policy, the RIO will open an inquiry and will notify the complainant, the respondent and any University officials. If the allegation does not fall within the scope of the policy, the RIO will document his decision and close the case.

Inquiry Phase

To conduct an inquiry, the RIO will interview the complainant, respondent, and any other essential witnesses, and gather and analyze all available case evidence. Based on the evidence and through consultation with the Vice President for Research (VPR) and the Vice President for Legal Affairs (VPLA), the RIO will determine whether to close the case at the inquiry stage or proceed to an investigation.

Investigation Phase

If the case progresses to an investigation, the RIO will establish a three-person investigative committee who will conduct investigative interviews, review all available evidence, and make a finding about the case based upon the preponderance of the evidence. The Committee will produce an investigative report outlining its finding(s), about which the complainant and respondent may provide written comments. The committee may add an addendum or revise the report based on these comments. After conferring with the VPR and VPLA, the RIO will submit the committee’s report and respondent’s comments to the Provost for final approval.

Provost’s Review

The Provost will release a final determination based on a review of all available evidence and the committee’s final report, which will include any comments submitted by the respondent. The Provost may request further committee review or additional information before making a decision. The Office of the Vice President for Research will notify all relevant parties about the Provost’s decision and coordinate any next steps required by the Provost.