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Memorial University of Newfoundland

  Memorial University of Newfoundland

Integrity in Scholarly Research

Approval Date: 2001-02-12

Effective Date: 2016-04-26

Review Date: 2021-05-01

Authority:

The President

Principle

Memorial University of Newfoundland is committed to excellence in scholarly activities and as such is committed to ensuring that the highest standards of ethical conduct and scholarly integrity are understood and practiced.

Purpose

To ensure that the University community understands and practices the highest standards of integrity in pursuing scholarly research.

Scope

All persons who pursue scholarly research including students, faculty members and staff of Memorial University and all research conducted by those persons regardless of the geographic location of the research.

Where required, the minimum requirements set out in the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (the Framework), as it is amended from time to time, must be met in the conduct of research at Memorial University. The Framework describes Agency policies and requirements related to applying for and managing Agency funds, performing research, and disseminating results, and the processes that Institutions and Agencies follow in the event of an allegation of a breach of an Agency policy. The Agencies require that all researchers applying for, or in receipt of, Agency funds comply with the Agency Policy.

In the case of students, the application of this policy is subject to the appropriate Procedures Governing Academic Misconduct for Undergraduate Students and Academic Behaviour for Graduate Students and, where required, the minimum requirements set out in the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research (the Framework).

Where United States Public Health Service (USPHS) funds are involved, allegations of research misconduct involving any person, including students, shall be dealt with in accordance with the minimum requirements of the U.S. Office of Research Integrity or other appropriate offices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including U.S. Federal regulation 42 CFR Parts 50 and 93, as amended or replaced from time to time, and the “Statement on Dealing with Allegations of Research Misconduct Under USPHS Research-related Activities for Foreign Institutions”.

This policy should be read in conjunction with the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research and the policy statements of the U.S. National Institutes of Health on integrity in research, the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, second edition (2010), and Memorial University policies on research with humansresearch using animals or the procedures involving biohazards or radiation hazards.

Policy

1.0 Integrity in Scholarly Research

1.1 Scholarly activity varies among the disciplines. It includes the actual conduct of research as well as publication of original work, artistic or engineering design, and performance in the arts or in professional areas.

1.2 As a scholarly community, the University and all its individual members have a responsibility to maintain the highest standards of scholarship, specifically:

1.3 The researcher is responsible for the safe storage of primary data resulting from scholarly activity. He/she will ensure that such material will be accessible (except where such access could violate the anonymity of subjects or the confidentiality of data) for a period of five years unless a funding council or agency specifies a longer time.

1.4 In the event of an investigation taking place under this policy, an investigator making a claim that data were accidentally destroyed must have corroboration.

1.5 When a researcher leaves the University, he/she must arrange access and safe storage of records with his or her immediate supervisor.

1.6 No member of the University community should exploit students. Specific examples of exploitation of students would be:

2.0 Gross misconduct in academic research

2.1 All accusations of misconduct in academic research are taken seriously, and dealt with under the Procedure for Investigating Reports of Misconduct in Research.

2.2 Gross misconduct in academic research means:

3.0 Responsibilities of personnel who supervise research and of academic administrators

3.1 Senior academic administrators and Faculty members engaged in scholarly activity are responsible for modeling ethical behaviour, emphasizing the importance of integrity in research and translating these ideas into practice.

3.2 Academic administrators will create a climate for ethical practice in scholarly work by promoting widespread general awareness and knowledge of ethical guidelines, by encouraging openness in discussion of ongoing research, and by appropriately assigning responsibility for students, researchers and large research teams.

3.3 Research supervisors will impart to research staff, students and postdoctoral fellows their responsibilities to maintain the highest levels of integrity. Research supervisors will ensure that research staff and students have adequate advice and instruction about experimental design, data recording and retention, and its interpretation. While there are some universal expectations for such processes, it is recognized that there are differences in disciplines and investigative protocols which the responsible investigator can best impart to staff and trainees. Research supervisors should promote full discussion of ongoing research within research groups and teams.

3.4 University administrators or their delegates will deal expeditiously and fairly with all allegations of academic fraud following the Procedure for Investigating Reports of Misconduct in Research or more detailed procedures that may be found in collective agreements covering some individuals.

3.5 Any allegations involving University administrators will be dealt with following the appropriate procedures, with the exception that if an allegation involves the President, the allegation will be directed to the Chair of the Board of Regents who will then follow the procedures.

3.6 Investigations will be conducted as quietly and confidentially as possible. In such cases where an investigation results in the President taking disciplinary action, any publicity associated with the investigation or the discipline will not take place until all appeals within the University are exhausted (including receipt of the arbitral decision if the recommended discipline has been grieved and proceeds to arbitration or until after the deadline for advancing the grievance to arbitration has passed).

3.7 The University administration will promptly disclose all confirmed misconduct to funding agencies, collaborating scientists and institutions, journal editors, professional associations, licensing boards, and potential employers who request oral or written references, regardless of any potential or perceived adverse publicity.

3.8 In cases where a funding agency has been informed of an ongoing investigation the administration will promptly inform the funding body of the outcome of the investigation and of any discipline subject to the considerations above.

4.0 Protection of Complainants

4.1 The President will take whatever action he or she deems appropriate in the circumstance to protect persons who make allegations of scholarly misconduct from reprisals.

4.2 The University shall use its best efforts:

a) to minimize disruption to the scholarly activities of a complainant and of any third party whose research may be affected by the securing of evidence relevant to the allegation during the course of the formal investigation; and

b) to ensure that any such disruption not negatively affect future decisions concerning the careers of those referenced in (a) above.

 

Related Documents

Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research
Tri-Council Policy Statement:  Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, Second Edition (2010)
Ethics of Research Involving Human Participants Policy
Institutional Animal Care Policy
U.S. National Institutes of Health on integrity in research
Academic Misconduct for Undergraduate Students
Academic Behaviour for Graduate Students
Procedures involving biohazards and radiation hazards

Procedures

For inquiries related to this policy:

Office of Research Services (709) 864-8251

Sponsor: The President

Category: Research

Previous Versions:

There is at least one previous version of this policy. Contact the Policy Office to view earlier version(s)

Approval Date 2001-02-12   Effective Date 2012-12-04
Approval Date 2001-02-12   Effective Date 2001-02-12

Procedure for Investigating Reports of Misconduct in Research

Approval Date: 2016-04-22

Responsible Unit: Office of the Vice-President (Research)

All allegations of misconduct in research must be made in writing, must specify the misconduct alleged, and must be signed and directed to the President.

Regardless of the nature of the concern, the institution has a responsibility to examine the allegations and reach a conclusion, including cases where an accused leaves Memorial University before the matter is resolved.

The following procedures should be used except where they might conflict with more detailed procedures specified in a collective agreement. Where required, the University shall comply with the requirements set out in the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research as amended from time to time, which sets out the responsibilities of institutions, researchers and the agencies in respect of the responsible conduct of research, including the procedures to be followed in the event of a breach of an Agency requirement, or an allegation thereof.

Where an allegation of research misconduct involves United States Public Health Service (USPHS) funds, the University shall comply with the requirements of the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) or other appropriate offices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including U.S. Federal regulation 42 CFR Parts 50 and 93, as amended or replaced from time to time.  The President shall notify the ORI of all such allegations received and Memorial University shall then work with ORI or other appropriate offices of the HHS to develop and implement a process for responding to the research misconduct allegations.  The University will submit appropriate reports (in English) to ORI that describe the process followed in conducting the investigation, the evidence on which the conclusions of the investigation are based, and if a finding of research misconduct is made, the administrative actions that are taken against the accused.  The Statement on Dealing with Allegations of Research Misconduct Under United States Publish Health Service (USPHS) Research-related Activities for Foreign Institutions is hereby incorporated by reference.  The University shall comply with the process set out below except as otherwise necessary to comply with the foregoing.  

1. The President will undertake a preliminary consideration of the allegations based on the signed complaint and, if desired by the President, an interview with the complainant.

2. If, in the judgment of the President, there is not sufficient substance to warrant investigation, the President will inform the complainant and no further action will be taken.

3. If, in the judgment of the President, there is sufficient substance to warrant investigation, the President will notify the person who is the subject of the allegations, in writing, that he or she is under investigation. Such notification will be within twenty (20) working days of receipt of the allegation. The President will explore whether the matter may be resolved without completion of the investigation.

4. The investigation, if any, will be conducted by one or more persons appointed by the President for this purpose. A person accused of scholarly misconduct will not be required to meet with the investigator or investigators. Where the accused has grievance rights under a collective agreement, normally the investigation will be conducted by one individual.

5. The written notice of the investigation will include a copy of the signed allegations to allow the accused an opportunity to respond, and will advise the accused of his or her right to be accompanied or represented in any meeting concerning the allegations.

6. The University member named in the allegations shall be given a copy of the investigation report and will be given adequate opportunity to know any evidence presented in the report and to respond to that evidence if he or she chooses to do so. The investigation will be conducted and the process concluded in a timely manner consistent with the circumstances of the case.

7. The President may take disciplinary action against those who make reckless, malicious or bad faith accusations against others involving misconduct in scholarly research.

8. If, during the course of investigation, an outside agency or publisher has been informed of the allegations before a final decision has been rendered, the President will inform the agency or publisher of the final disposition of the allegations.

9. Reports of investigations that lead to discipline of employees or where employees are found culpable but no discipline is imposed, will be kept in the personal file of the employee subject only to any time limitations imposed by collective agreements.

10. If a formal investigation sustains an accusation of gross misconduct in research in relation to research that is funded by an outside agency or has been published or submitted for publication, the President shall so inform the agency or publisher concerned of the decision. Notice to such agencies or publishers shall be the only release of information permitted before the conclusion of all grievance and arbitration procedures arising from the case. Where appropriate, this notice shall inform those parties that the conclusion is subject to grievance and arbitration procedures.

11. Where there is a finding that no scholarly misconduct has occurred, or an arbitration board decides that no discipline is to be invoked, then the University will, at the sole discretion of the accused, ensure that all documentation is either destroyed or transferred to the accused, except that it will retain any arbitration report, which will be a public document. The University will take such steps as may be necessary and reasonable to protect the reputation and credibility of members of the University community who are wrongfully accused of misconduct in academic research, including written notification of the decision to all agencies, publishers or individuals who were informed by the University of the investigation.