In order to fulfill its legal obligations and ensure the public trust, California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) must diligently prevent and inquire into research misconduct. The following policy is intended to comply with current federal regulations regarding scientific research misconduct and the procedures promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). These policies and procedures, however, apply to all university members who are conducting research under different circumstances, regardless of whether or not it is in the fields of science.
This policy to prevent, detect, and respond to misconduct in research and authorship has been developed through collaboration between the University Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and Grants and Contracts Office of the University Enterprises Corporation for CSUSB. The Faculty Affairs Committee was consulted on behalf of the Faculty Senate. All individuals are primarily responsible for preserving the integrity of truthful research in their scholarly activities. However, this policy outlines the university responsibility, as an institution-at-large, to:
- Promote exemplary ethical standards for research and scholarship;
- Initiate an inquiry into any suspected or alleged misconduct;
- Conduct a subsequent investigation, if warranted; and
- Take action necessary to ensure the integrity of all research, the rights and interests of research subjects and the public, and the observance of legal requirements or responsibilities.
Because allegations of research misconduct differ in any number of ways and no single, detailed course of action is possible or desirable, this policy provides only a general framework to guide responses to allegations of research misconduct.
As an institution devoted to the creation of new knowledge through research and scholarship, CSUSB is committed to maintaining the integrity and truthfulness fundamental to these activities through the responsible and ethical conduct of its faculty, academic professionals, staff, and students. To this end, the university has established procedures for dealing with alleged misconduct. In addition to addressing allegations of misconduct, these procedures are intended to protect innocent researchers and scholars from harassment, to prevent interference with their academic freedom, and to protect from retribution those who report alleged misconduct.
The President, through the Provost, has assigned the initial responsibility for handling inquiry and investigations into allegations of misconduct in research to the Associate Provost for Academic Personnel.
This policy will be supplemented, as appropriate, with the provisions and recommendations of the DHHS Office of Research Integrity to ensure compliance with federal law and protection of those involved in the process. The DHHS ORI Policy and Procedures are available on their website (http://ori.hhs.gov).
Reporting Alleged Misconduct
Formal allegations of misconduct should be presented, in writing to the Associate Provost for Academic Personnel. The Associate Provost will insure that allegations are evaluated, first in an inquiry, then, if warranted, in an investigation.
Complainant allegations of retaliation are covered by CSU Executive Order 822.
Inquiry Initiation and Notification
When an allegation of misconduct is reported to the Associate Provost for Academic Personnel, he or she will first determines whether the matter falls within the purview of this policy. If it does, the Associate Provost for Academic Personnel will inquire further into the matter. The Associate Provost will also notify appropriate administrators and the respondent that an initial inquiry is going to be conducted.
All persons involved in the proceedings are required to maintain confidentiality, to be accurate and truthful in all statements and evidence submitted, and to comport themselves in an orderly fashion.
Inquiry Determination and Findings
The initial inquiry will normally be completed within 60 days of the receipt of the written allegation. In certain situations, federal regulation requires completion of the initial inquiry within 60 days of the receipt of the written allegation. After gathering information and facts to determine whether an allegation of misconduct warrants investigation, the Associate Provost for Academic Personnel will submit the report, detailing the process of the initial inquiry to the Provost.
The Associate Provost for Academic Personnel initiates an investigation if the Provost, upon reviewing the initial inquiry report, determines that an investigation should be conducted.
If the Provost, upon reviewing the initial inquiry report, determines that an investigation should not be conducted, then he or she he will notify in writing appropriate administrators, the respondent, the complainant, and any external agencies that were notified that no further investigation will be made. In this case, the Associate Provost for Academic Personnel will retain the inquiry report for three years as confidential material; after three years, the material will be destroyed.
To initiate an investigation into alleged misconduct, the Associate Provost for Academic Personnel will notify appropriate administrators, the respondent, and the complainant. The Associate Provost will also evaluate the need to notify any federal funding agencies currently supporting the respondent. (Some federal agencies require notification when any investigation into alleged misconduct occurs.) In addition, the Associate Provost will take prudent action to protect the university and the funds of any external granting agency involved. When appropriate, the Associate Provost will also notify appropriate editors or publishers that an investigation has begun.
The Associate Provost for Academic Personnel will appoint qualified individual(s) to conduct the investigation. This should include one or more individuals with expertise in the respondent's discipline. If possible, one of these individuals should be a campus faculty member. The Associate Provost may designate an appropriate university administrator to assist in the investigation.
The investigation should begin no later than 30 days after the initial inquiry is completed; it usually should take no longer than 120 days to complete the investigation and report to the Provost. However, in certain cases the process may take longer.
The investigation will examine all pertinent information, review records, and interview witnesses, as necessary. The respondent will have the opportunity to respond to the allegation of misconduct. The respondent may be assisted, as he or she chooses, by a representative. The respondent can also provide names of individuals such as research collaborator(s), professional associate(s), etc. that can be interviewed to the degree that they have relevant information as part of the investigation.
A report of the findings and recommendations (if any) will be made to the Provost.
Finding of Misconduct
If the investigation concludes that misconduct has occurred, the Provost will turn the matter over to the appropriate administrative office or body, which will pursue appropriate action. The investigative report and file will be available should further action be warranted.
The Provost will summarize the report for appropriate administrators, the respondent, the complainant, and any external funding agencies properly notified of the investigation. (Some external agencies may require a copy of the full report.)
The Associate Provost for Academic Personnel will retain the investigation report and case file for three years as confidential, personnel-related material; after three years, the materials will be destroyed.
Reporting of Alleged Misconduct/Initial Action on the Report Responsibility Action Complainant Present the allegation of misconduct, in writing to the Associate Provost for Academic Personnel. Associate Provost Determine whether the matter falls within the purview of this policy.
If determined that the matter does not warrant further evaluation under this policy: Notify the complainant of the determination and retain the written allegation for three years as confidential material.
If determined that the matter does warrant further evaluation under this policy: Begin procedures to conduct an inquiry. Notify the following, in confidence, of the inquiry into the matter:
- The appropriate college dean
- The Dean of Graduate Studies, if graduate students are involved
- The appropriate department chair, division director, or center or unit director (hereafter referred to as 'department chair')
- The respondent,
- The complainant.
Misconduct in Research Inquiry Responsibility Action Associate Provost Gather information determine whether an allegation or apparent instance of misconduct warrants investigation.
Within 60 days of the submission of the written allegation to the investigator: Submit a report detailing the process of the inquiry to the Provost.
Provost If the Provost decides that no misconduct occurred: The Provost will notify in writing that no further investigation will take place:
- The appropriate college dean
- The Dean of Graduate Studies, if graduate students are involved
- The appropriate department chair
- The Director of Research and Sponsored Programs
- The University Enterprises Corporation Grant Director if external funding is involved
- The respondent
- The complainant
If the Provost decides that misconduct may have occurred: Directs the Associate Provost to initiate an investigation into the alleged misconduct (see 'Misconduct Investigation,' below) and notify those listed above.
Misconduct in Research Investigation Responsibility Action Associate Provost Notify those listed above under 'Misconduct in Research Inquiry' of the investigation.
Take action to protect the university and the funds of any external agencies involved; notify editors and publishers as appropriate.
Appoint formal Investigator(s)
Investigator(s) Normally within a maximum of 30 days (for certain situations is required by federal regulation 42 CFR 50, Subpart A) after the inquiry is complete: Begin the investigation, examining all pertinent information, reviewing records, and interviewing witnesses, as appropriate. Respondent Investigator(s)
Respond to the allegations, with the assistance of a representative.
Investigator(s)Complete the investigation and report findings and recommendations to the Provost normally within a maximum of 120 days (for certain situations is required by federal regulation) after beginning the investigation.
Provost Summarize the report for appropriate administrators, the respondent, the complainant, and any external funding agencies previously notified of the investigation.
If the investigation report reveals that the misconduct has occurred: Turn the matter over to the appropriate administrative office or body, which will then pursue appropriate action, making the investigation report available as necessary.
Associate Provost Retain the investigation report and case file for three years as confidential, personnel-related material.