UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH POLICY 11-01-01
CATEGORY: RESEARCH ADMINISTRATION
SUBJECT: Research Integrity
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 15, 2008 Revised
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
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
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
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.
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, 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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
a. hear testimony from the Complainant if the Investigative Board desires such
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
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
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
c. implementation of procedures for supervising the Respondent’s subsequent
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.
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
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.
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.
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
15 PHSR, 42 C.F.R., ’93.313.