In this module, you will explore the following aspects of misconduct in scholarly activity:
The module consists of:
One of the University of New Hampshire's (UNH) primary missions is to support the creation and dissemination of knowledge. In fulfilling this mission, members of the UNH community undertake many forms of scholarly activity. Ethical conduct in these activities is vital to ensuring the integrity of the scholarly process and its outcomes.
Standards fundamental to the ethical conduct of scholarly activity include:
These standards are key to engendering the trust requisite for scholars to build upon each other's work and collaborate in their activities.
Scholars must be able to trust that colleagues are honest and truthful in the conduct of their work, such as in reporting and publishing data, writing research proposals, and declaring conflicts of interest.
Scholars should be honest with human subjects who participate in research activities so subjects can make informed decisions about participation.
Respect is key to promoting collaboration and trust. Mutual respect among colleagues is fundamental in activities such as peer review and mentoring. Respect for research subjects, both animal and human, as well as respect for the natural environment is important to preserve the public's trust in allowing their continued use in research activities.
Scholars should also respect the laws, rules, regulations, policies, and ethical principles that govern various aspects of research and scholarly activity.
Accuracy in recording and reporting data is essential for reproducibility of results, and accurate recordkeeping is vital in activities involving hazardous materials, and human and animal subjects. Accuracy in assigning credit for others' contributions when publishing is critical to promoting trust and collaboration among scholars.
Fairness pertains to being objective and equitable, free from bias and injustice. Fairness is important when interpreting and presenting research results as well as in the peer review process. Fairness is essential to the protection of human research subjects, and objective and equitable treatment of colleagues is critical in mentoring.
Conduct that embodies the standards of honesty, respect, accuracy, and fairness, and other values and standards that promote trust and collaboration are fundamental to the integrity of scholarly activity. This infographic depicts some possible red flags of misconduct.
There have been cases of known or suspected fraud in science and scholarly activity (referred to as misconduct) since the ancient Greeks (Broad and Wade, 1982). Contemporary cases of alleged scientific misconduct involved well-known researchers such as:
Contemporary cases of alleged scientific misconduct involved well-known researchers such as (cont):
Retraction Watch is a blog that chronicles retractions in scientific literature. They have a "leader board" where they list individuals who have had the most papers retracted; many of these are due to actions that constitute misconduct.
Highly publicized cases of misconduct in scholarly activity, especially those involving publicly-funded institutions and research activities, have resulted in substantial setbacks to research activities and scientific progress, and caused irrevocable damage to reputations.
To promote and sustain public trust in the value of research and scholarly activity, professional organizations, academic and research institutions, and the federal government have established explicit standards governing:
In 1998, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) adopted a policy on Misconduct in Scholarly Activity (Misconduct Policy). This policy defines what actions comprise misconduct at UNH and details the procedures for handling misconduct allegations. The policy defines misconduct in scholarly activity as:
Misconduct does NOT include honest error or differences in interpretations, judgments, or opinion with respect to scholarly issues.
The UNH Misconduct Policy is applicable to all members of the UNH community, including, but not limited to, faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students. Allegations of academic dishonesty against UNH undergraduate or graduate students in normal course assignments are covered by policies of the UNH Office of the Vice President for Student and Academic Services, as outlined in the UNH Student Handbook on Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities.
Fabrication is defined as, "Making up data or results and recording or reporting them" (OSTP, 2000).
Examples of fabrication include, but are not limited to:
Falsification includes, but is not limited to:
While the majority of the historical cases of misconduct listed on Screens 7 and 8 of this module involved fabrication and/or falsification, contemporary examples of cases involving fabrication and falsification can be found on the Office of Research Integrity's (ORI) website, in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Office of Inspector General's (OIG) Semiannual Report to Congress (in each report look under Research Misconduct Investigations), and on the Retraction Watch website.
Plagiarism is defined as, "The appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit" (OSTP, 2000).
Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to:
Plagiarism may also be a violation of copyright law.
Plagiarism can be a confusing concept, particularly for individuals from cultures and countries with different standards than the United States for handling use of others' words and ideas in research and scholarship. Many resources exist to help students and scholars understand plagiarism, including this infographic that explains concepts of writing ethically, and the following:
Historical plagiarism cases involving scholars include Jane Goodall, Stephen Ambrose, and Doris Kearns Goodwin. Contemporary misconduct cases involving plagiarism are included in the NSF OIG's Semiannual Report to Congress (in each report look under Research Misconduct Investigations) and on the Retraction Watch website.
UNH's definition of misconduct in scholarly activity includes, "Retaliation of any kind against a person who has brought forth an allegation of misconduct (complainant) or who has provided information about a suspected case of misconduct" (UNH Misconduct Policy).
The UNH Misconduct Policy states, "UNH does not condone and will not tolerate any act of misconduct in scholarly activity by a member of its community" (UNH Misconduct Policy).
The UNH Misconduct Policy is guided by the following five principles (UNH Misconduct Policy).
At UNH, the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Research (OSVPR) enforces the Misconduct Policy. The procedure for handling allegations of misconduct is:
Reporting suspected misconduct is a shared responsibility of all UNH community members. Causes for suspicion of misconduct include, but are not limited to:
Upon receipt, the supervisor notifies the Senior Vice Provost for Research (SVPR) confidentially in writing of the allegation.
Upon receipt of a misconduct allegation, the SVPR forms a team to conduct an inquiry into the allegation.
The inquiry team gathers preliminary information to discover if a formal investigation is warranted, and issues a report to the SVPR documenting whether there is cause to pursue a formal investigation into the case.
If the inquiry team finds that there is NO cause to pursue an investigation into the alleged misconduct, the SVPR promptly writes a letter of exoneration to the subject of the allegation, and the matter is considered officially closed.
If the inquiry team suspects that the misconduct allegation was NOT made in good faith, UNH may initiate an inquiry of the complainant under University System of New Hampshire (USNH) and UNH policies regarding personal and professional conduct.
If the inquiry team concludes that an investigation is warranted then the SVPR:
The purpose of the investigation is to:
The PIC provides a final report of its investigation to the SVPR, who communicates the findings in writing to all parties involved.
If the investigation determines that misconduct did NOT occur, then the SVPR promptly writes a letter of exoneration to the subject of the allegation and the matter is considered officially closed.
If the investigation determines that misconduct occurred, sanctions may be administered by the appropriate staff, faculty, and/or University official(s), consistent with USNH and UNH policies on disciplinary action.
Internal sanctions range from an oral warning to the issuance of official letters of reprimand, up to and including suspension without pay, termination of employment, or dismissal from UNH.
A sponsor or other federal agency may impose additional sanctions, such as barring researchers from receiving federal research funds in the future.
If the subject of a misconduct allegation believes that he/she has been judged improperly, grievance procedures may be initiated in accordance with USNH and UNH policies.
UNH will implement all reasonable measures to protect a complainant who makes a misconduct allegation in good faith against retaliation.
At UNH, retaliation of any kind against a complainant or a person who has provided information about a suspected case of misconduct is considered an act of misconduct, subject to the procedures outlined above.
1. Purposely altering data to obtain anticipated results is considered falsification.
2. As the instrument seemed to malfunction, it is acceptable for Ben and Tracy to “correct” the data.
3. What Tracy is proposing to do would be considered by most researchers to be falsification.
4. Before going any further with his research, Ben should contact his faculty advisor and ask his advice about what to do about the data from the problematic instrument.
5. Instead of changing the data, Ben should wait for his faculty advisor’s return and repeat the experiment with his faculty advisor’s help.
1. If George submits the proposal with the literature review copied from Sue’s proposal without attributing the work to her, this would constitute plagiarism.
2. The fact that Sue may not have submitted her proposal to the funding agency means that copying the literature review from it and using it without any attribution to the colleague would not be considered plagiarism.
3. Because a literature review includes citations to referenced work, copying it and using it without indicating the source is not plagiarism.
4. Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s work without citation.
5. A literature review for a proposal is not original work so George copying and presenting Sue’s as his own work would not be considered plagiarism.
Click on an image below to review the case study that was presented at the beginning of this module.
Once you have finished all of the review questions click ’Certify Completion’.