Research Misconduct Evaluation Process
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 reviews the allegation to determine whether or not the concern falls within the scope of the University’s research misconduct policy (HOP 7-1230). If warranted, the RIO will proceed to an inquiry. By procedure, the RIO notifies the complainant, the respondent and select University officials when proceeding to an inquiry. In the event that the allegation does not fall within the scope of the research misconduct policy, the RIO will document their decision to close the case and refer the complainant to the appropriate University entity.
During the inquiry, the RIO gathers preliminary evidence, interviews case participants and conducts an analysis of all available case evidence. In accordance with HOP 7-1230, the RIO consults with the Vice President for Research (VPR) and the Vice President for Legal Affairs (VPLA) in determining whether to close the case at the inquiry stage or proceed to an investigation.
If the case progresses to an investigation, the RIO will establish a three-person investigative committee to conduct investigative interviews, review all available evidence, and make a finding regarding the case based upon “a preponderance of the evidence” standard. 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.
The Provost makes the final determination regarding the outcome of the case based on the committee’s report and all available evidence. Upon receipt of the committee’s final report, the Provost may: 1) accept the findings of the committee; 2) request that the committee conduct further review of the case; or 3) seek additional information before rendering a final decision. Following the Provost’s determination, the RIO will notify all relevant parties regarding the outcome of the case and coordinate any next steps.