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Academic Affairs Research Misconduct Policy | University Policies & Procedures | Ferris State University

Research Misconduct Policy

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Owner Academic Affairs
Contact [email protected]
Document Type Policy
Issue Date April 30, 2015
Last Review March 12, 2024
Related Documents Research Misconduct Procedure


  1. Purpose Statement
  2. Policy
  3. Audience
  4. Confidentiality
  5. Definitions
  6. Key Definitions to Research Misconduct

Purpose Statement

Ferris State University (FSU) is committed to ensuring the integrity of research. Misconduct in research damages the honor of the profession and undermines the credibility of scholars, irrespective of discipline. The University takes seriously all allegations of misconduct, and believes that the procedures for inquiry, investigation and adjudication of any misconduct should be clear for all involved parties, while maintaining protections for the complainant, the respondent and all witnesses involved.

This document defines the University’s Research Misconduct Policy and specifies procedures and appropriate safeguards for handling investigations of misconduct. The procedures conform to the Public Health Service (PHS, Department of Health and Human Services) 42 CFR Parts 50 and 93 Public Health Service Policies on Research Misconduct; Final Rule. 


It is the policy of FSU that research misconduct as defined by this document is prohibited. The research misconduct policy applies to all persons affiliated with FSU including, but not limited to, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, students, trainees, and all members of the research staff. Cases of research misconduct involving students are subject to the normal disciplinary rules governing students but will be reviewed additionally under this policy as appropriate. The policy applies to: (a) the conduct of research and/or related activities, whether or not the research is externally funded; (b) the presentation and/or publication of results; (c) the process of applying for funds; (d) the expenditure of project funds; and (e) the fiscal reporting on the use of project funds.

This statement of policy and procedures does not apply to authorship or collaboration disputes and applies only to allegations of research misconduct that occurred within six years of the date the institution or HHS received the allegation, subject to the subsequent use, health or safety of the public, and grandfather exceptions in 42 CFR § 93.105(b). 

Persons found to have committed research misconduct are subject to discipline. In addition, where appropriate, the findings will be reported to external entities or authorities and the external entity or authority may take additional action. Disciplinary action proceedings shall be in accordance with applicable University policies, procedures, and/or collective bargaining agreements.


The intended audience for this policy are all persons affiliated with FSU including, but not limited to, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, students, trainees, and all members of the research staff. 


To the extent possible, the University shall maintain the identity of Respondents and Complainants securely and confidentially and shall not disclose any identifying information except to: 

  1. Those who need to know in order to carry out a thorough, competent, objective and fair research misconduct proceeding.
  2. If appropriate, the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Research Integrity (ORI) as it conducts its review of the research misconduct proceedings and any subsequent proceedings. 

To the extent allowed by law, records or evidence obtained during the research misconduct proceeding that might identify the subjects of research shall be maintained securely and confidentially and shall not be disclosed, except to those who need to know in order to carry out the research misconduct proceeding or as required by law. 


Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those commonly accepted within the academic community for proposing, performing, reviewing or in reporting research results. 

Research misconduct is to be distinguished from honest error and differences of interpretation (§ 93.103, 42 CFR Part 93). A finding of research misconduct made under this part requires that: 

  1. There be a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community;
  2. The misconduct be committed intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly, and
  3. The allegation be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. 

Key Definitions to Research Misconduct 


A disclosure of possible research misconduct through any means of communication. The disclosure may be by written or oral statement or other communication to an institutional or HHS official. (§ 93.201) 


A person who in good faith makes an allegation of research misconduct. (§ 93.203) 


Disclosure of the identity of respondents and complainants in research misconduct proceedings is limited, to the extent possible, to those who need to know, consistent with a thorough, competent, objective and fair research misconduct proceeding, and as allowed by law. Provided, however, that:

  1. The institution must disclose the identity of respondents and complainants to ORI pursuant to an ORI review of research misconduct proceedings under § 93.403.
  2. Under § 93.517(g), HHS administrative hearings must be open to the public. Except as may otherwise be prescribed by applicable law, confidentiality must be maintained for any records or evidence from which research subjects might be identified. Disclosure is limited o those who have a need to know to carry out a research misconduct proceeding. (§. 93.108)


Any document, tangible item, or testimony offered or obtained during a research misconduct proceeding that tends to prove or disprove the existence of an alleged fact. (§ 93.208)


Making up data or results and recording or reporting them. (§. 93.103)


Manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately the research record. (§ 93.103) 

Financial Misconduct

The use of grant or research funds in a fashion not authorized by the grant and/or for a purpose not authorized by or in furtherance of the grant and/or research; the failure to properly manage the grant and/or research funds, including the failure to exercise proper oversight; and/or the failure to properly account for the expenditure of funds. 

Funding Component

Any organizational unit of the PHS authorized to award grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements for any activity that involves the conduct of biomedical or behavioral research, research training or activities related to that research or research training, e.g., agencies, bureaus, centers, institutes, divisions, or offices and other awarding units within the PHS. (§. 93.209)

Good Faith

As applied to a complainant or witness, means having a belief in the truth of one's allegation or testimony that a reasonable person in the complainant's or witness's position could have based on the information known to the complainant or witness at the time. An allegation or cooperation with a research misconduct proceeding is not in good faith if made with knowing or reckless disregard for information that would negate the allegation or testimony. Good faith as applied to a committee member means cooperating with the research misconduct proceeding by carrying out the duties assigned impartially for the purpose of helping an institution meet its responsibilities under this part. A committee member does not act in good faith if their acts or omissions on the committee are dishonest or influenced by personal, professional, or financial conflicts of interest with those involved in the research misconduct proceeding. (§. 93.210) 


The formal development of a factual record and the examination of that record leading to a decision not to make a finding of research misconduct or to a recommendation for a finding of research misconduct which may include a recommendation for other appropriate actions, including administrative actions. (§ 93.215) 


Preliminary information-gathering and preliminary fact-finding that meets the criteria and follows the procedures of § 93.307-93.309. (§ 93.212) 

Institutional Official

Individual who is legally authorized to act for and on behalf of the institution to ensure compliance with federally regulated research programs (IACUC, IRB, IBC). 


A written communication served in person, by mail or its equivalent to the last known street address, facsimile number, or e-mail address of the addressee. Several sections of Subpart E of this part have special notice requirements. (§ 93.216) 

Office of Research Integrity (ORI)

The office to which the HHS Secretary has delegated responsibility for addressing research integrity and misconduct issues related to PHS supported activities. (§ 93.217) 

PHS Support

PHS funding, or applications or proposals therefore, for biomedical or behavioral research, biomedical or behavioral research training, or activities related to that research or training, that may be provided through: Funding for PHS intramural research; PHS grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts or sub-grants or subcontracts under those PHS funding instruments; or salary or other payments under PHS grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts. (§ 93.221) 


The appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit. (§ 93.103) 

Preponderance of the Evidence

Proof by information that, compared with that opposing it, leads to the conclusion that the fact at issue is more probably true than not. (§ 93.219) 

Public Health Service or PHS

The unit within the Department of Health and Human Services that includes the Office of Public Health and Science and the following Operating Divisions: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, Health Resources and Services Administration, Indian Health Service, National Institutes of Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the offices of the Regional Health Administrators. (§ 93.220) 


A systematic experiment, study, evaluation, demonstration, or survey designed to develop or contribute to general knowledge (basic research) or specific knowledge (applied research) relating broadly to public health by establishing, discovering, developing, elucidating, or confirming information about, or the underlying mechanism relating to, biological causes, functions or effects, diseases, treatments, or related matters to be studied. (§ 93.222) 

Research Misconduct

Fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. (§ 93.103) 

Research Record

The record of data or results that embody the facts resulting from scientific inquiry, including but not limited to, research proposals, laboratory records, both physical and electronic, progress reports, abstracts, theses, oral presentations, internal reports, journal articles, and any documents and materials provided to HHS or an institutional official by a respondent in the course of the research misconduct proceeding. (§ 93.224) 


The person against whom an allegation of research misconduct is directed or who is the subject of a research misconduct proceeding. While the policy refers to a single respondent, it is recognized that in some cases there may be multiple respondents. (§ 93.225) 


An adverse action taken against a complainant, witness, or committee member by an institution or one of its members in response to: 

  1. A good faith allegation of research misconduct; or
  2. Good faith cooperation with a research misconduct proceeding. (§ 93.226)