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Research Misconduct

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What is Research Misconduct?

Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

Procedures for Handling Allegations

The Ohio State University, in carrying out its research mission, expects and encourages all members of the university engaged in research to adhere to the highest standards of research integrity to protect the accuracy and reliability of the research record and published results. The research misconduct policy outlines university procedures for handling allegations of research misconduct and the processes under which research misconduct proceedings are performed.  

Rights and Responsibilities

The rights and responsibilities of those involved in research misconduct proceedings, Complainants (those who file a misconduct complaint) and Respondents (those who are accused of misconduct) are described in the research misconduct policy and the associated standard operating procedures. Important principles of a research misconduct proceeding are:

  • Duty to cooperate – Complainants and Respondents, along with all others involved with the proceedings, have a duty to cooperate with university officials and to provide research records and other relevant information.
  • Good faith complaints – Complaints should be filed only when they are supported by sufficient, credible evidence as misconduct allegations are very serious and can be extremely damaging to the person accused. Complainants are encouraged to consult with university officials, such as a department chair, before filing a complaint.
  • Confidentiality – All participants in a misconduct proceeding are responsible for keeping information concerning the proceedings confidential. 
  • Protection of Complainants and Respondents – University officials will help to protect the positions and reputations of Complainants and Respondents involved in misconduct proceedings. Respondents are assumed to be innocent of any charges unless the contrary is established by a final decision under the research misconduct policy. Complainants who have acted in good faith in alleging misconduct will be protected from retaliation. 
  • Conflicts of Interest – The Research Integrity Officer has the responsibility to implement the research misconduct policy and is responsible for ensuring that misconduct proceedings are not tainted by inappropriate conflicts of interest. 
  • Data Sequestration – Upon receiving complaints, all relevant research records or other materials, wherever such data may be located, must be secured to protect the integrity of the university and its process, and protect the person accused of misconduct by preventing any claims of subsequent alterations of data. 
  • VPR Responsibilities – The Vice President for Research has ultimate authority for the proceedings and, among many duties, will determine the following: when a release of information outside the university may be appropriate; take whatever actions deemed appropriate to protect research funds or equipment or the legitimate interests of patients or clients; rule on any appeals from Respondents or Complainants; work with other university officials to help restore the reputation of a Respondent found not to have committed misconduct.

Additional Information

For questions regarding the misconduct policy, or issues pertaining to misconduct in science or scholarly activities contact:

Associate Vice President, Research Compliance

Susan Garfinkel - Office of Research Compliance

Associate Director, Research Integrity Officer

Bridget Carruthers

Associate Director, Research Integrity Officer

Julia Behnfeldt