UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH POLICY 11-01-01

CATEGORY:
              RESEARCH ADMINISTRATION
SECTION:                   Research
SUBJECT:                  Research Integrity
EFFECTIVE DATE:    October 15, 2008 Revised
PAGE(S):                    16

A.   Preface

      The University of Pittsburgh seeks excellence in the discovery and dissemination

      of knowledge.  Excellence in scholarship requires all members of the University

      community to adhere strictly to the highest standards of integrity with regard to

      research, instruction and evaluation.  The principle of academic integrity is integral

      to membership in the University community.  Each such member is deemed to

      recognize the value and special importance of this responsibility, which is linked to

      accepting an appointment at the University.

      As scholars and citizens of the University community, all parties must be ever

      cognizant of the axiom that every increment of authority and discretion brings with

      it corollary responsibilities to colleagues, staff, students, the University as a whole,

      the community, and society at large.  In addition, federal regulations impose policies

      and procedures on the University for dealing with possible misconduct in science.1

      All those engaged in research should be cognizant of the value to the University of

      calling attention to research misconduct, and of the importance of bona fide

      challenges in assuring and maintaining the integrity of scholarly investigation and of

      this institution.

      Should the conduct of research or the collection or reporting of research data and

      information be challenged on the ground of misconduct, whether by a faculty

      member, student, staff member, research associate or fellow, or a person outside

      the University, the framework for resolution of the grievance shall involve the dean2

      and the Research Integrity Officer working within a process of peer and

      administrative review.  Throughout, responsible and honest discourse, the

      protection of academic freedom, and protection of the individual against

      unnecessary public dissemination of unproven allegations are essential ingredients in

      the process.

      Research misconduct, as defined below, carries potential for serious harm to the

      University community, to the integrity of research, and to society as a whole.

      Accordingly, it is incumbent upon faculty members to exercise active leadership in

      their supervisory roles in mentoring, collaborating with, or directing junior colleagues,

      staff, or students.  First, faculty must be fully cognizant of the quality of work being

      done for which they assume responsibility and, second, they must seek to avoid

      undue pressure placed upon more junior faculty, staff, or students which could lead

      to the publication or other report of any inaccurate, incomplete, or falsified data or

      information.  In judging whether misconduct has occurred, it is important to

      distinguish fraud from honest error and ambiguities that are inherent in the process

      of scholarly investigation and are normally corrected by further research.

      This policy and the associated procedures shall be followed in responding to all

      allegations of research misconduct on the part of faculty, research associates, and

      staff.  In the case of students involved in alleged misconduct, this document shall

      apply in those instances where the research in question is supported by federal

      agencies or where the relevant dean requests that the Research Integrity Officer

      invoke the policy.  Student matters may also, as appropriate, be handled under the

      relevant Academic Integrity Guidelines.

      The procedures described below are steps in an academic peer review and

      fact-finding process and are not intended or designed to represent rules of a

      judiciary.  Principles of basic fairness and confidentiality shall be observed in these

      peer-review procedures.  Any allegations of misconduct must be treated on an

      individual-case basis.

      Safeguards give the individual accused of misconduct the confidence that his or her

      rights are protected and that the mere filing of an allegation of research misconduct

      will not bring the research to a halt or be the basis for other disciplinary or adverse

      action absent other compelling reasons.  Safeguards for a complainant, a witness,

      or a member of a peer committee in any proceeding described in this document

      include protection against retaliation for making allegations or providing testimony,

      fair and objective procedures for the examination and resolution of the allegations,

      and diligence in protecting the position and reputation of one who makes allegations.

      gives testimony, or makes evaluations as a committee member in good faith.

      Both the person bringing an allegation and the one against whom the allegation is

      made in any of the procedures described below may seek the advice of the Senate

      Committee on Tenure and Academic Freedom, as may any administrator.  A dean,

      in initiating any of the procedures described below, shall advise the principals that

      they may seek such advice.

      The University's Research Integrity Officer, who is appointed by the Chancellor,

      shall work closely with the relevant academic administrators, inquiry panels, and

      investigative boards.  In consultation with the General Counsel, he/she shall ensure

      procedural compliance with applicable law, government regulations, University policy,

      and principles of fairness in each stage of the proceedings set out in this policy. 

      Academic administrators and inquiry panels or investigative boards shall keep the

      Research Integrity Officer fully informed of their activities and shall consult him/her

      as to process before making any final recommendations or decisions.  The

      Research Integrity Officer shall monitor compliance with all procedures and time

      schedules described in this policy and shall inform the Provost of any failures to

      comply with such time schedules.  The Research Integrity Officer shall not have

      decision-making responsibility regarding the substance of any allegations.  He or

      she may, at the request of a panel or administrator in a research misconduct

      proceeding, assist in drafting the recommendations arrived at by that panel or

      administrator.  The Research Integrity Officer shall make or supervise all relevant

      contacts with government agencies or other outside parties, and shall maintain the

      record of all proceedings.  In the case of short absences from the campus, the

      Research Integrity Officer may designate an Acting Research Integrity Officer.

      The Provost shall have oversight responsibility to ensure compliance with the policy.

      Only the Research Integrity Officer or the Provost has the authority to modify the

      the various time limits specified in the procedures.  (All references to the number of

      days for particular stages in the process refer to calendar days.  Extensions may

      be granted in case of holidays.)

      Even if a Respondent leaves the University before a case is resolved or does not

      participate in the proceedings, the University has a responsibility to follow the

      procedures described in this policy and reach a conclusion.

      This policy shall be administered in compliance with regulations of any federal

      agency sponsoring the research in question and shall be subject to appropriate

      modifications, if necessary.

B.  Definitions

      Research Misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism, including

      misrepresentation of credentials, in proposing, performing, or reviewing research,

      or in reporting research results.  Plagiarism in any scholarly publication constitutes

      misconduct and may be examined in the manner described in this policy for

      research misconduct.

      Research, as defined herein, includes all basic, applied, and demonstration research

      in all fields.

      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.

            The research record is defined as the record of data or results from the research

            and includes, for example, laboratory records, both physical and electronic,

            research proposals, progress reports, abstracts, theses, oral presentations,

            internal reports, journal articles, and books.

            The intentional distortion of the research record by destruction of records or by

            the failure to maintain and produce research records by the Respondent in a

            proceeding could be considered to be research misconduct, if the conditions

            listed at the top of page 4 under “A finding of Misconduct” are met.

      Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or

      words without giving appropriate credit.

      Misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

            A defense based on these elements must be proved by the Respondent by a

            preponderance of the evidence.

      A finding of Misconduct requires that:

      A Complainant is a person who reports an allegation of Misconduct.

      A Respondent is the subject of an allegation.

      A Whistleblower is an institutional member who in good faith makes an allegation or

      cooperates in the investigation of an allegation.

      Additional issues in research integrity are discussed in other documents.  Conflict of

      interest is dealt with in Conflict of Interest Policy for Faculty, Scholars, Researchers,

      Research Staff/Coordinators, University Policy 11-01-03.3  Guidelines for investigators

      are discussed in Rights, Roles, and Responsibilities of Sponsored Research

      Investigators, University Policy 11-01-02.4  Numerous issues, including concern for

      human subjects and animals in research, authorship, maintenance and accessibility

      of data, and mentoring of trainees are reviewed in Guidelines for Responsible Conduct

      of Research.5  These topics, as well as laboratory safety and other concerns, are

      covered in the Internet-based Studies in Education and Research.6

C.  Reporting

      1.   Obligation to Report

            Reporting suspected Misconduct is a shared and serious responsibility of all

            members of the academic community.  Allegations shall not be made capriciously,

            but suspicions or evidence of misconduct shall be reported.

      2.   Confidentiality

            Because of the potential jeopardy to the reputation and rights of the Respondent,

            great care must be taken to handle the reporting as well as the conduct of any

            inquiry and investigation so as to preserve confidentiality, providing information

            only to those with a need to know.  This obligation of confidentiality applies to the

            Complainant, the Respondent, and all participants in an inquiry or investigation,

            including panel members, witnesses and administrators.  In order not to release

            confidential information about research integrity proceedings to faculty personnel

            committees who might be regarded as having a right to know, a dean may

            consider delaying a tenure or promotion consideration of a Respondent until the

            allegation has been adjudicated.

      3.   Method of Reporting

            Allegations of Misconduct and the basis for them shall be communicated

            confidentially and preferably (but not necessarily) in writing to the dean of the

            responsibility center in which the Misconduct is suspected or to the Research

            Integrity Officer.  Each shall immediately inform the other of the receipt of an

            allegation.  Optionally, an allegation may be reported to a federal agency

            supporting the research.  Measures (Section G) shall be taken to insure that no

            adverse action is taken, either directly or indirectly, against a Complainant who

            makes allegations in good faith.

      4.   Definition of Good Faith

            Good faith means having a belief in the truth of one’s allegation or testimony that

            a reasonable person in a Complainant’s or witness’ position could hold based

            upon the information known to the Complainant or witness at the time the

            allegation was made.  An allegation or cooperation with an investigation is not in

            good faith if made with knowing or reckless disregard of information that would

            negate the allegation or testimony.

      5.   Allegations Against Administrators

            If an allegation is made concerning a dean or higher administrator, the

            Respondent's supervisor or the Research Integrity Officer shall be contacted

            directly by the Complainant and procedures described below for dealing with the

            allegation shall be modified appropriately.

      6.   Protection of the Complainant

            Reporting alleged Misconduct may be difficult and uncomfortable for the individual

            making the report.  The option of initially giving an oral report is provided in order

            to offer protection and reassurance to the Complainant.

      7.   Securing of Evidence

            When an inquiry is initiated, the Research Integrity Officer shall ensure that

            appropriate steps are taken to locate and secure possibly relevant evidence so

            as to prevent loss or alteration of research records, which may include but are

            not limited to notes or notebooks, computer records, instrument printouts,

            manuscripts, and chemical or biological samples.  The Research Integrity Officer may

            call on the dean, department chair, or director for assistance in locating, retrieving,

            and storing such records.

      8.   Notifications

            The sponsoring agency, the IRB (Institutional Review Board) or IACUC (Institutional

            Animal Care and Use Committee) shall be notified promptly and at any time in the

            proceedings, if the dean or Research Integrity Officer determines that there is an

            immediate need to protect human subjects or animals used in research or that the

            alleged Misconduct is otherwise sufficiently serious to warrant early notification.7 

            The agency shall also be notified in advance if an inquiry or investigation is to be

            terminated prior to completion, in the event that the regulations of the specific

            agency require such notification.8  The IRB or IACUC may take action to protect

            human subjects or animals independently of the inquiry and investigatory

            processes described below.

      9.   Optional Jurisdictions

            The Research Integrity Officer, in consultation with the dean, may refer an

            allegation to another institution for relevant proceedings if the research in question

            was conducted primarily at that institution, or to an appropriate federal agency, if

            the research in question was conducted at several institutions or if some other

            special circumstances make it impractical for the University of Pittsburgh to

            conduct the inquiry or investigation.

 

D.   The Assessment

      1.   Purpose of an Assessment

            The Research Integrity Officer, in consultation with the dean, shall make a

            preliminary assessment of the allegation to determine whether it falls within the

            definition of Research Misconduct in Section B.  If the allegation is determined to

            be a matter of research impropriety but does not fall within the definition of

            Research Misconduct, the dean may look into the matter and resolve it in an

            appropriate manner.  An example might be material failure to comply with Federal

            requirements or IRB or IACUC rulings issued for protection of researchers,

            human subjects or the public or for ensuring the welfare of laboratory animals.  If

            the allegation does fall within the definition of Research Misconduct, the

            procedures listed in the following sections of this policy shall be followed.

      2.   Conditions for Dismissing an Allegation

            If the allegation is determined to be outside the definition of Research Misconduct,

            if probable cause does not exist to believe that Research Misconduct has

            occurred, or if potential evidence for making a finding of Research Misconduct is

            not likely to be found, the allegation with respect to this policy will be dismissed by

            the Research Integrity Officer.

 

E.   The Inquiry

      1.   Appointment of an Inquiry Panel and Its Charge

            The dean shall appoint and charge one or more objective, qualified persons (the

            Inquiry Panel) to conduct the inquiry, in consultation with the Research Integrity

            Officer.  The dean shall designate one member of the panel to serve as chair. 

            The dean should be satisfied, on the basis of both his own information and

            signed statements from members of the panel, that they are free of any close

            personal or professional association with the Complainant or Respondent or of

            other conflicts of interest that could bias their judgment in the inquiry.  They will

            normally be selected from within the University.  The inquiry shall consist of

            information-gathering and preliminary fact-finding to determine whether the

            allegations appear to have substance and are sufficiently founded to warrant a

            formal investigation.  The inquiry is designed to provide a basis on which to

            proceed to an investigation or to determine that an investigation is not warranted. 

            In the case of human or animal research studies where further information is

            warranted, the dean may request an audit through the University’s Research

            Conduct and Compliance Office.

 

      2.   Notifying the Respondent

            The dean shall promptly notify the Respondent of the specific allegations and of

            the initiation of the inquiry and provide the Respondent and the Complainant with

            a copy of the Research Integrity Policy.  The dean shall provide the Respondent

            with the names of proposed members of the panel.  If the Respondent objects to

            the appointment of one or more of the proposed members, he or she shall state

            the objection(s) in writing to the Provost within 5 days, in which case the Provost

            shall review the proposed list of members within 5 days of receipt of such

            objection(s) and shall have authority to direct the dean to replace one or more

            members of the panel.  In the case of research sponsored by a federal agency,

            the Respondent may be informed of possible sanctions which the agency might

            impose (see Section F16).  If the Respondent at this or any other interim stage

            admits the allegations to be true, the matter shall be considered for appropriate

            action under Section F14 of this policy, if permitted by procedural requirements

            of the sponsoring agency.

      3.   Conduct of the Inquiry

            The Inquiry Panel, in consultation with the Research Integrity Officer, shall

            interview witnesses, examine relevant primary research records, publications

            and/or reports, and material, consult experts in the field if necessary, and/or take

            such other steps as are in their judgment appropriate to the inquiry.  The

            Research Integrity Officer shall collect factual documents and other materials

            requested by the panel and shall provide assistance to the panel during its

            meetings.  The Respondent may elect whether to be interviewed or not during

            the inquiry.  If the Respondent is interviewed, he/she may be accompanied by an

            adviser, who may but need not be an attorney; but the adviser may not present

            the case or otherwise participate in the discussion.  A written summary of the

            testimony given by each witness shall be provided to the witness for review and

            correction of factual errors.

      4.   The Inquiry Report

            The Inquiry Panel shall prepare a written report that states what evidence was

            reviewed, summarizes relevant interviews and includes the findings of the

            inquiry and recommendations to the dean.  The report, which should be

            completed within 40 days of receipt of the dean’s charge, shall be given to the

            Respondent, the Research Integrity Officer and the dean.  Extensions for good

            cause must be approved by the Research Integrity Officer or by the Provost

            acting on a request from the panel summarizing the reason for the delay,

            progress to date, and an estimate of the date of completion.  The Respondent

            shall be given 10 days after receipt of the report to submit any written comments

            on the report to the Research Integrity Officer and the dean.

      5.   The Dean’s Decision

            After receiving the inquiry report and any comments by the Respondent, the

            dean shall determine whether additional investigation is warranted and shall,

            within 10 days of the day Respondent's comments were due, prepare his/her

            written recommendation and submit it simultaneously to the Provost, the Senior

            Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences if the case arises within the Health

            Sciences, the Respondent, and the Research Integrity Officer.

      6.   The Case in Which Further Investigation Is Not Recommended

            If the recommendation is that additional investigation is not warranted, and if the

            recommendation is accepted by the Provost, in consultation with the Senior Vice

            Chancellor for the Health Sciences in cases originating within the Health

            Sciences, the proceedings concerning Research Misconduct shall be terminated.

            If the Provost does not accept the recommendation that an investigation is not

            warranted, a formal investigation shall be initiated as provided for in Section E8

            below.

      7.   A Finding of Research Impropriety

            If the research activities of the Respondent are found to involve research

            impropriety although not of a nature or to a degree that might constitute

            Misconduct or that warrant additional investigation, the dean may take corrective

            or disciplinary measures.

      8.   The Case in Which Additional Investigation is Warranted

            If the recommendation of the dean is that additional investigation should be

            undertaken, and if the recommendation is accepted by the Provost, in

            consultation with the Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences in cases

            originating within the Health Sciences, the dean shall so advise the Respondent

            and shall inform the Respondent of the commencement of a formal investigation

            by a University research investigative board.  In the case of federally sponsored

            research, the relevant sponsoring agency or agencies shall also be notified by

            the Research Integrity Officer before the formal investigation is initiated.9  The

            notification shall follow the requirements of the agency in a case where federal

            sponsorship is involved, and shall be subsequently supplemented by interim

            report(s) to the agency when required.10  Other parties with a need to know shall

            be informed, with a stated obligation of confidentiality.  If the recommendation is

            not accepted by the Provost, the Provost shall provide reasons in writing and

            notify the dean, the Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences in cases

            originating within the Health Sciences, the Chancellor, the Research Integrity

            Officer, and the Respondent.  Unless the Chancellor overrides the Provost’s

            decision within 10 days, the proceedings concerning Misconduct shall be

            terminated.

      9.   Notification of the Complainant

            Whether or not a formal investigation is warranted, the Complainant, if known,

            shall be provided with at least those portions of the inquiry report and the

            determination that address the Complainant's role and information given in

            connection with the inquiry.

     10.  Records of the Inquiry

            Records of the inquiry shall be maintained by the Research Integrity Officer in a

            secure place for a period of at least seven years.11  Such records shall include

            any comments of the Respondent and all other materials collected or reviewed.

F.   The Investigation

      1.   Appointment and Charge of the Investigative Board

            An Investigative Board of at least five members to which allegations of

            Misconduct are to be referred for formal investigation shall be appointed by the

            dean, in consultation with the Research Integrity Officer.  The Board shall be

            comprised of individuals with focused knowledge, experience, and expertise

            relevant to the issue(s) being examined.  The dean should be satisfied, on the

            basis of both, his or her own information and signed statements from members

            of the board, that they are free of any close personal or professional association

            with the Complainant or Respondent or of other conflicts of interest that could

            bias their judgment in the investigation.  The dean shall provide the names of

            proposed board members to the Respondent.  If the Respondent objects to the

            appointment of one or more of the proposed members, he or she shall state the

            objection(s) in writing to the Provost within 5 days, in which case the Provost

            shall review the proposed list of members within 5 days of receipt of such

            objection(s) and shall have authority to direct the dean to replace one or more

            members of the board and so notify the Respondent.  The Investigative Board

            shall be given its charge within 10 days of receipt by the Respondent of the

            initial list of proposed board members or within 5 days of the replacement of one

            or more members of the board, whichever occurs later.  The time schedules for

            the various steps in constituting a board are to be taken as suggested

            guidelines.  The objective of charging the board within 20 days of the dean's

            recommendation to constitute a board shall be observed if at all possible.

      2.   Composition of the Investigative Board

            The Investigative Board normally will be selected from within the University

            and/or affiliated institutions to which this policy applies.  Exceptions may be

            made by the dean if needed to avoid conflicts of interest or to secure particular

            expertise.  When the Respondent is a faculty member, research associate,

            resident, or fellow, the Investigative Board normally shall be composed of at

            least two tenured faculty members of the responsibility center of the Respondent

            and at least two tenured faculty members whose primary appointments are in

            other responsibility centers within the University of Pittsburgh.  No board member

            shall hold a primary appointment in the same program in which the research in

            question was conducted nor should any board member have had direct

            responsibility for, or a role in the research under investigation or have any other

            relevant conflict of interest.  If two suitable tenured faculty members cannot be

            identified within the Respondent's responsibility center, additional members of

            the board may be selected from other responsibility centers.  When the

            Respondent is staff or a student, the board shall include at least one staff or

            student member as appropriate to the particular case.  The above limitations on

            the membership of the board may be modified, and any or all members may be

            selected from outside the University, if the Provost deems it necessary in order

            to find expert, objective and otherwise qualified members.  The dean shall

            designate one member of the board to serve as chair.

      3.   Nature of the Hearing

            As part of its investigation, the board shall hold a formal hearing, at which oral

            testimony will be presented.  The proceedings shall be closed to the public

            unless both the Respondent and Complainant agree that the proceedings be

            open.  The charge to the board should be limited to investigation of the specific

            allegations of Misconduct and to any additional possible Misconduct that is

            uncovered during the course of the investigation.

      4.   Resources for the Board

            The Investigative Board shall consult with the Research Integrity Officer as to

            procedures and shall have the option to consult with and/or receive testimony at

            the hearing from recognized experts who are knowledgeable in the field of

            research under investigation.

      5.   Notification of the Respondent about the Hearing

            Ten days or more prior to the board's formal hearing, the Respondent shall:

            a.   be sent a notice stating the place, time and date of the hearing;

            b.   be given notice that he/she shall have reasonable access to any relevant

                  information in support of the inquiry report, with care to maintain

                  confidentiality, if possible, with respect to sources of the information;

            c.   be informed in writing of significant new directions of investigation

                  undertaken as a result of the emergence of additional information that

                  justifies broadening the scope of the investigation beyond the initial

                  allegations;

            d.   be advised that he/she shall be permitted to present materials in defense

                  against the allegations being made and present for the board’s consideration

                  a list of witnesses to be called at the hearing;

            e.   be sent a list of witnesses (if any) expected to testify at the hearing; and be

                  notified in a timely manner of any changes in the list.

      6.   Rights of the Respondent at the Hearing

            At the formal hearing conducted by the board, the Respondent shall have the

            opportunity to:

            a.   hear testimony from the Complainant if the Investigative Board desires such

                  testimony;

            b.   question the witnesses appearing before the board on any relevant matter,

                  including the Complainant if the Complainant’s testimony is essential, subject

                  to the procedural rulings provided for elsewhere in this policy.  If the

                  Complainant or anyone providing essential evidence cannot attend the

                  hearing to offer oral testimony, written questions from the Respondent may

                  be put to him/her by the Research Integrity Officer, and written responses

                  shall be requested;

            c.   testify if he or she so chooses and submit documentation and tangible

                  evidence in defense against the allegations of Misconduct;

            d.   be accompanied by one adviser of choice, who may but need not be an

                  attorney.  The adviser may consult with the Respondent but may not

                  present the case to the board or otherwise participate in the discussion

                  and/or proceedings; and

            e.   submit a written statement following the close of the hearing.

      7.   Hearing Procedures

            The chair of the Investigative Board, in consultation with the Research Integrity

            Officer, shall make all required substantive and procedural rulings at the hearing,

            including, but not limited to, admissibility of evidence and order of procedure. 

            The chair need not apply technical exclusionary rules of evidence followed in

            judicial proceedings, nor entertain technical legal motions.  Technical legal rules

            pertaining to the wording of questions, hearsay and opinions need not be

            formally applied.  Reasonable rules of relevancy shall guide the chair in ruling on

            the admissibility of evidence.  Reasonable limits may be imposed on the number

            of factual witnesses and the amount of cumulative evidence that may be

            introduced.  An audio recording or stenographic record shall be made of the

            proceedings, copies of which may be obtained by the Respondent upon payment

            of any reasonable charges associated with preparation thereof.  Each witness

            shall have an opportunity to review and correct the tape or stenographic

            transcript of his or her interview.

      8.   Required and Optional Testimony

            The Respondent shall have the right to decline to testify, and no adverse

            inference may be drawn from the exercise of this right.  The board may require

            any other employee of the University or of any other entity, such as the UPMC

            Health System, covered by this policy to participate in the proceedings.

      9.   An Allegation Made Not in Good Faith

            If the board has some basis for believing that the Complainant has not acted in

            good faith, it should notify the Complainant of the basis for that belief, provide an

            opportunity for response, and incorporate its judgment on this matter in its report.


     10.  The Investigative Report

            The board should deliver a draft of its report to the Respondent within 80 days of

            holding its first meeting.  Extensions for good cause must be approved by the

            Research Integrity Officer, or by the Provost acting on a request from the board

            summarizing the reason for the delay, an interim report of progress to date, and

            an estimate of the date of completion.  The report shall describe the policies and

            procedures under which the investigation was conducted, how and from whom

            information was obtained, the findings, the basis for the findings, and

            recommended sanctions.  If the board finds that the Respondent engaged in

            Misconduct, its report shall also address the Respondent’s intent in engaging in

            the Misconduct and the materiality or significance of the Misconduct in relation to

            the accepted standards of research practice; and the report shall contain a

            summary of the views presented by the Respondent.  The Respondent shall be

            given 30 days to submit to the board his/her written comments on the report. 

            The board shall take into account the comments of the Respondent and write

            its formal report, which it shall submit to the dean, the Respondent, and the

            Research Integrity Officer within 10 days of the date by which the Respondent’s

            comments were due.

     11.  The Dean’s Decision

            The dean shall decide the case within 10 days of receipt of the report.  If the

            dean's decision is inconsistent with the recommendation of the board, the

            dean's communication to the Provost, as provided for in paragraphs 12 and 15

            below, shall include a complete copy of the board's report and a written

            explanation of the bases for his or her disagreement with that report.

     12.  A Finding of No Misconduct

            If the dean determines that the alleged Misconduct is not substantiated by the

            findings of the investigation, the Respondent shall be so notified in writing. 

            Diligent efforts shall be undertaken, at the Respondent’s request, to restore the

            reputation of the Respondent and to close the matter. The dean shall inform the

            Provost, the Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences in cases originating

            in the Health Sciences, the Research Integrity Officer, and the Chancellor, and

            shall provide the Complainant with at least those portions of the Investigative

            Board’s report and the determination that address the Complainant’s role and

            information given in connection with the investigation.  The Research Integrity

            Officer shall give any federal sponsoring agency a report on the investigation in

            the form and within the time prescribed by any applicable regulations.

     13.  Possible Sanctions for Research Impropriety

            If the research activities of the Respondent are found to constitute research

            impropriety, although not of a nature or to a degree that might result in a finding

            of Research Misconduct, the dean may impose sanctions such as:

            a.   a reprimand;

            b.   notification of the IRB or IACUC for possible actions in matters relevant to

                  clinical or animal research, respectively;

            c.   requirement to withdraw or correct abstracts, manuscripts, publications,

                  and/or grant proposals;

            d.   limitations on the Respondent’s responsibility in research;

            e.   requirement for participation in training programs;

            f.    notification to sponsoring agencies, co-authors, editors, and other

                  institutions involved in the research.

     14.  Possible Sanctions for Research Misconduct

            If the dean determines that the alleged Misconduct is substantiated by the

            findings, he/she shall within 20 days decide on appropriate sanctions, after

            consultation with the Research Integrity Officer.  These discretionary sanctions,

            which shall be stayed pending the outcome of any appeal, may include but are

            not limited to the following:

            a.   notification and restitution to any sponsoring agency as appropriate;

            b.   requirement for withdrawal or correction of all pending abstracts and papers

                  emanating from the research in question, and, if appropriate, notification of

                  editors of journals in which previous related abstracts and papers appeared;

            c.   removal from the particular project, letter of reprimand, requirement that

                  letters of apology be written, or special monitoring of future work;

            d.   probation, suspension, salary adjustment, consideration of possible rank

                  reduction or termination of employment or student status, repetition of

                  designated student examinations, or revocation of a degree, providing that

                  steps with a potential impact on the employment or student status of a

                  Respondent should be taken in accordance with procedures described in

                  the University of Pittsburgh Faculty or Staff Handbook or Guidelines on

                  Academic Integrity, without the possibility of reopening the investigation into

                  the substance of the Research Misconduct;

            e.   notification to the IRB or IACUC chair on matters related to clinical or animal

                  research, respectively;

            f.    notifications to affected institutions of previous or current affiliation,

                  co-authors and other affected third parties;

            g.   notification of future or prospective employers;

            h.   notification of state licensing boards.

     15.  Notifications of a Misconduct Finding

            The Respondent shall be notified promptly in writing of the determination and

             the actions by hand delivery or certified mail.  The dean also shall immediately

             inform the Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences in Health Sciences

             cases, and the Provost and the Chancellor in all cases.  The Complainant shall

             be provided promptly with at least those portions of the investigative board report

             and the determination that address the Complainant's role and information given

             in connection with the investigation.  In matters involving the use of human

             subjects or of animals in research, the IRB or IACUC, as appropriate, shall also

             be informed.


     16.  Possible Sanctions from a Federal Agency

            The Research Integrity Officer shall give any sponsoring agency a report on the

            investigation in the form and within the time prescribed by any applicable

            regulations.12  A federal sponsoring agency, if it concurs in a finding of Research

            Misconduct, may in addition apply its own administrative actions, which may

            include but are not limited to the following:13

            a.   debarment for a stated period from eligibility to receive federal research funds;

            b.   prohibition for a stated period from service on a government advisory or peer

                  review committee;

            c.   implementation of procedures for supervising the Respondent’s subsequent

                  research activities;

            d.   implementation of procedures for certifying the accuracy of data and

                  attribution of sources in subsequent proposals for research funding;

            e.   publication of the finding in federal publications.

     17.  Public Release of Information

            The Provost or Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences, as appropriate,

            shall, in consultation with the Office ofGeneral Counsel, determine the manner

            in which information about the incident is released, with due consideration for

            confidentiality as well as possible danger to human health and welfare.

 

G.   Whistleblowers

      1.   Non-Tolerance of Retaliation

            Whistleblowers and other witnesses to possible research misconduct have a

            responsibility to raise their concerns in good faith.  The University has a duty not

            to tolerate or engage in retaliation against good-faith whistleblowers.  This duty

            includes providing appropriate and timely relief to ameliorate the consequences

            of actual or threatened reprisals, and holding accountable those who retaliate. 

      2.   Defense Against Retaliation

            In cases of alleged retaliation that are not resolved through administrative

            intervention, whistleblowers should have an opportunity to defend themselves in

            a proceeding where they can present witnesses, except when the whistleblowers

            violate rules of confidentiality established for the proceedings.


      3.   Grievance - First Step

            A Complainant or whistleblower who desires to initiate a proceeding for

            adjudicating a charge of retaliation may invoke the procedures of University

            Policy 02-03-01, Faculty Grievances,14 even if the grievant is not a faculty

            member.  The first step is for the grievant to contact the Senate Committee on

            Tenure and Academic Freedom to initiate an informal investigation and dispute

            resolution process.

      4.   Grievance - Initiation of Second Step

            If a settlement is not achieved by the first step, the grievant shall present a

            written complaint to the Research Integrity Officer that shall contain the following

            information, including supporting dates and facts:

            a.   That the grievant made an allegation of research misconduct or that the

                  University failed to respond adequately to an allegation of research

                  misconduct, or that the Complainant or whistleblower cooperated in an

                  investigation of such an allegation.

            b.   That the University or one of its members committed an adverse action

                  against the grievant within one year after the filing of the initial allegation or

                  the cooperative participation in an investigation of such an allegation.

            c.   That the adverse action resulted from the allegation or cooperation.

            d.   That the complaint is being made within 180 calendar days of the alleged

                  adverse action or the discovery by the original grievant of the adverse action.

      5.   Appointment of a Grievance Panel

            On receipt of such a complaint, the Research Integrity Officer shall refer the

            complaint to the Provost, who will move to the second step and appoint a

            Grievance Panel.  The Grievance Panel shall allow the grievant to present

            evidence, to be accompanied by an adviser who may but need not be a lawyer,

            and to call other witnesses.

      6.   Procedural Rights of the Grievant

            The grievant shall be given a written summary of evidence collected including

            witness testimony and shall have the opportunity to respond to this information

            before the panel writes its report.

      7.   The Grievance Report

            The Grievance Panel shall write a report stating its conclusions and

             recommendations and submit its report to the Provost and to the grievant.

      8.   Appeal from the Grievance Report

            The grievant, if not satisfied with the report of the Panel, may appeal the findings

            in writing to the Provost.

      9.   The Provost’s Adjudication

            The Provost shall take the report of the Panel and any written comments from

            the grievant into account before rendering a decision.  If the decision includes a

            finding of retaliation, the Provost shall take corrective action, which may include

            redress of any disadvantage suffered by the grievant and sanctions against the

            person(s) found to have committed the retaliation.  The action of the Provost in

            the matter completes the process.

     10.  Response to a Charge of Acting Not in Good Faith

            If a dean believes on the basis of an inquiry or investigative report that the initial

            allegation of possible Misconduct was made not in good faith, i.e., if the allegation

            was made with knowing or reckless disregard for information that would negate

            the allegation, the Complainant shall be given an opportunity to reply in writing if

            that opportunity was not previously provided.  If the dean then makes a finding

            that indeed the Complainant did not act in good faith, the dean may apply

            appropriate sanctions if the Complainant is from within the University or affiliated

            institutions covered by this policy.  Sanctions shall be stayed pending the

            outcome of any appeal and shall not be applied against the Complainant if the

            allegation was filed with a lack of full information but not out of malice.

H.   Appeals

      1.   Nature of an Appeal

            A dean's determination of Misconduct by a Respondent or lack of good faith by

            a Complainant may be appealed in writing, in either case to the Provost, with a

            copy to the Research Integrity Officer, within 10 days of personal delivery or

            mailing of the determination, whichever occurs first.  The grounds for the appeal

            shall be submitted in writing within 20 days after filing the notice of appeal.  Such

            an appeal shall be restricted to the body of the evidence already presented in the

            written record.  The written record shall include all materials collected or reviewed

            at both the inquiry and investigation stages (including the Respondent's or

            Complainant’s written comments15), the written reports filed at both stages and

            the audio recording or stenographic record of the hearing.

      2.   Appointment and Charge of an Appeal Panel

            In the case of an appeal, the Provost, in consultation with the Research Integrity

            Officer, shall form a five-person appeal panel to advise him or her on the merits

            of the case.  The selection of the members of the appeal panel shall be in accord

            with the rules (under IV.B.3.) in Faculty Reviews and Appeals, University

            Procedure 02-02-10 as approved on June 8, 2001, and as may be amended

            subsequently;16 however, the panel shall not otherwise be bound by the

            procedures described in that document.  Names shall be drawn from the Central

            Appeals Pool or School Pools (e.g., for FAS and the School of Medicine), but no

            more than one panel member shall be from the unit (department) where the

            Respondent has his or her primary appointment.  The panel shall be formed and

            charged within 30 days of the date of the dean's decision, and it shall render its

            report within 60 days after receiving its charge.

      3.   Grounds for Appeal

            The only grounds for recommendation of reversal by the appeal panel shall be

            failure to follow appropriate procedures, insufficiency of evidence, or arbitrary

            and capricious decision making.

      4.   Outcome of an Appeal

            If the decision of the Provost is to affirm the determination and actions,

            appropriate measures shall be taken, after consultation with the Research

            Integrity Officer.  The Provost’s determination shall conclude the University’s

            proceedings with respect to the Misconduct allegation.  No subsequent

            procedure to determine the Respondent’s employment or student status may

            reopen the investigation into the allegation of Research Misconduct.

 

I.    Policy Changes

      Changes in federal regulations or University policies could necessitate changes to

      this policy.  Amendments to the policy shall be made only after consultation by the

      administration with the Senate.  Appropriate notice of any such change shall be

      provided to the University community in writing.

____________________

  1     Public Health Service Regulations, codified at 42 Code of Federal Regulations

(2007),’93 (referred to subsequently as PHSR); National Science Foundation Regulations,

45 Code of Federal Regulations (2007), ‘689 (referred to subsequently as NSFR).

  2     For the purposes of this document, "dean" includes deans, directors of University

centers, and presidents of the regional campuses.

  3     http://www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/policy/11/11-01-03.html

  4     http://www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/policy/11/11-01-02.html

  5     http://www.pitt.edu/~provost.ethresearch.html

  6     https://cme.hs.pitt.edu/servlet/IteachControllerServlet?actiontotake=displaymainpage

  7     PHSR, 42 C.F.R., ’93.318; NSFR, 45 C.F.R., ’689.4(c).

  8     PHSR, 42 C.F.R., ’93.316.

  9     PHSR, 42 C.F.R., ’93.309; NSFR, 45 C.F.R., ‘689.4(b)(2).

  10     PHSR, 42 C.F.R., ’93.309; NSFR, 45 C.F.R., ’689.4(b)(3).

  11     PHSR, 42 C.F.R., ’93.317.

  12     PHSR, 42 C.F.R., ’93.315; NSFR, 45 C.F.R., ’689.4

  13     PHSR, 42 C.F.R., ’93.407; NSFR, 45 C.F.R., ’689.3

  14     http://www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/policy/02/02-03-01.html

  15     PHSR, 42 C.F.R., ’93.313.

  16     http://www.cfo.pitt.edu/policies/procedure/02/02-02-10.html