Report Research Misconduct
The trust of our communities
Rutgers faculty, administration, staff, students and volunteers have an important responsibility to maintain high ethical standards in research, research training programs, and activities related to such research or training. These standards include validity, accuracy and honesty in proposing and performing research, in collecting, analyzing and reporting research results, and in reviewing the research of others.
Failure to observe these principles that results in research misconduct damages the general public trust, the entire academic and scientific community, and the University’s image. In addition, University personnel who commit research misconduct breach their obligations to the University.
The Rutgers University Research Misconduct Policy (90.2.2) was created to establish policy and procedures for the University’s response to allegations, reports and apparent occurrences of research misconduct involving research for which the University is the applicant or grantee, or which is proposed or conducted by or under the direction of any employee or agent of the University in connection with his or her institutional responsibilities. The objective of this policy is to ensure the prompt and appropriate investigation of alleged or apparent misconduct while protecting the rights of individuals, both those who report misconduct and those about whom allegations are made.
Research misconduct is fabrication, falsification or plagiarism, committed intentionally, knowingly or recklessly, in proposing, performing or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Research misconduct does not include honest error, conflicting data, differences of opinion, or differences in interpretations or judgments about data or experimental design.
- Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
- Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.
- Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results or words without giving appropriate credit. Authorship or credit disputes, and “self-plagiarism” of an author’s work from one paper to another or from a paper to a grant application are not ordinarily considered plagiarism.
How Allegations of Research Misconduct are Handled:
Should an individual become aware of or suspect research misconduct, the details of the misconduct should be reported, in writing if possible, to the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) or to the chair of the Rutgers Health Campus Committee for Research Integrity (CCRI). The RIO or CCRI chair may be contacted informally at any time.
Allegations of research misconduct are handled in a multi-stage process. In the first stage, the Research Integrity Officer or CCRI chair performs a preliminary assessment to determine whether the allegation falls within the definition of research misconduct as set forth in the federal regulations and in the University policy (90.2.2), and whether the allegation is sufficiently credible and specific so that potential evidence of research misconduct may be identified to proceed with an inquiry (IMPORTANT NOTE: Per policy 90.2.2, authorship or credit disputes are NOT ordinarily considered considered to meet the definition of research misconduct). The second stage is an inquiry, conducted by an Inquiry Committee. This is an information-gathering and fact-finding activity to determine if an allegation of research misconduct has substance and warrants further investigation. If the Inquiry Committee finds after the inquiry that sufficient credible evidence of research misconduct exists, the Inquiry Committee makes a recommendation to the Senior Vice President for Research that a formal investigation be conducted according to procedures outlined in the University policy. The person making the allegation and the respondent are informed of the outcome of the inquiry. If the Senior Vice President for Research decides to conduct an investigation, he/she appoints a special panel for this purpose. The investigation is a formal, thorough and documented examination and evaluation of all relevant facts, research records and other evidence to determine if a recommendation should be made that research misconduct has occurred. The investigative panel sends its recommendation to the Senior Vice President for Research who makes the final decision and takes appropriate action.
Confidentiality: Initially, the identity of a complainant can be kept confidential. Should the allegation lead to an inquiry or investigation, testimony by the complainant may be required. 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. However, confidentiality may not be maintained if the allegation is determined to be false and is found to be made in bad faith. Protection of confidentiality does not preclude disclosures that are necessary in the process of handling allegations of misconduct; are in the public interest or in the University's interest; are required by federal or state statute or regulations, University policy or rules of the research sponsor; or are a component of sanctions and/or corrective actions in the resolution of allegations of misconduct.
Except as may otherwise be prescribed by applicable law, confidentiality shall be maintained for any records or evidence from which research subjects might be identified. Disclosure is limited to those who have a need to know to carry out a research misconduct proceeding. The University is committed to the protection of good-faith whistleblowers. However, allegations which prove to be untrue and which are found to have been made in bad faith (i.e. the intentional filing of an allegation which the complainant knew or had reason to know was false; or an allegation made with reckless disregard for or willful ignorance of facts that would disprove the allegation) will be subject to appropriate disciplinary actions by the University.
Rutgers Health Research Advisory Boards (RAB) for Research Integrity are in place for Newark and Piscataway/New Brunswick. The role of these committees is to receive and act upon allegations of research misconduct. The chairs of these committees are:
Rutgers Health RAB Newark Campus
Pranela Rameshwar, PhD, Professor, Medicine
Rutgers Health RAB New Brunswick Campus
Jun-Yan Hong, PhD, Professor, Environmental & Occupational Health
683 Hoes Lane, RWJMS/SPH Building, Piscataway