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Research Misconduct
Subject: Research Integrity
Policy No: Res: 2014: 01
Applies: To all faculty, students, postdoctoral research fellows, and research technologists
Issuing Authority: Office of Research
Responsible Officer: Research Integrity Officer
Adopted: 02/01/2014
Last Revision: 06/15/2023
Last Reviewed: 06/15/2023


The purpose of the research misconduct policy is to set forth the Rowan University's policy with regard to the standards expected of its faculty, students, postdoctoral research fellows, and research technologists concerning research misconduct. It also describes the consequences in those instances in which misconduct in research is made.


The Research Integrity Officer is the institutional official responsible for assessing allegations of scientific misconduct and determining when such allegations warrant inquiries and for overseeing inquiries and investigations. The Research Integrity Officer is named on the Rowan Office of Research website.


This policy should be read and followed by faculty, students, research fellows and postgraduate fellows, including full-time or part-time.


Research misconduct means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism, in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.

  1. Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
  2. 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.
  3. Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.
  4. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion (§ 93.103, 42 CFR Part 93- June 2005).
  5. Allegation means any written or oral statement or indication of possible scientific misconduct made to an institutional official.
  6. Authorship definition varies among various disciplines. In general authorship attributes to the mechanism for allocation of credit to the individuals for their contribution to the intellectual value of a material that is being presented to the audience. It has important academic, social and financial implications. Authorship also implies responsibility and accountability for the material that is being presented.
  7. Institution means Rowan University.
  8. Employee means, for the purpose of this policy only, any person paid by, under the control of, or affiliated with the Rowan University, including but not limited to scientists, physicians, trainees, students, fellows, technicians, nurses, support staff, and guest researchers.
  9. Research Integrity Officer means the institutional official responsible for assessing allegations of scientific misconduct and determining when such allegations warrant inquiries and for overseeing inquiries and investigations. The Research Integrity Officer is named on the Rowan Office of Research Website.
  10. Deciding Official (DO) means the institutional official who makes final determinations on allegations of scientific misconduct and any responsive institutional actions. The DO will not be the same individual as the Research Integrity Officer and should have no direct prior involvement in the institution's inquiry, investigation, or allegation assessment. A DO's appointment of an individual to assess allegations of research misconduct, or to serve on an inquiry or investigation committee, is not considered to be direct prior involvement. The current Deciding Official is Mei Wei, PhD., Vice President for Research.

  11. Complainant means a person who makes an allegation of scientific misconduct.
  12. Respondent means the person against whom an allegations of scientific misconduct is directed or the person whose actions are the subject of the inquiry or investigation. There can be more than one respondent in any inquiry or investigation.
  13. Research record means any data, document, computer file, or any other written or non-written account or object that reasonably may be expected to provide evidence or information regarding the proposed, conducted, or reported research that constitutes the subject of an allegation of scientific misconduct. A research record includes, but is not limited to, grant or contract applications, whether funded or unfunded; grant or contract progress and other reports; laboratory notebooks; notes; correspondence; videos; photographs; X-ray film; slides; biological materials; computer files and printouts; manuscripts and publications; equipment use logs; laboratory procurement records; animal facility records; human and animal subject protocols; consent forms; medical charts; and patient research files.


  1. Federal Research Misconduct Policy:
  2. Office of Research Integrity Policy:
  3. Statutes & Regulations
    1. ORI Statutory Authority - 42 U.S.C. § 289b
    2. Public Health Service (PHS) Policies on Research Misconduct – 42 CFR Part 93 – June 2005
    3. HHS Debarment Regulations - 45 CFR Part 76
    4. Federal Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 - 5 U.S.C. § 1201
    5. Freedom of Information Regulation - 45 CFR Part 5
    6. Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, as amended
    7. Public Health Service Records Related to Inquiries and Investigations of Scientific Misconduct, HHS/OASH/ORI. 74 Fed. Reg. 44847 (2009) (PDF)
    8. PHS ALERT Records Concerning Individuals Found to Have Committed Scientific Misconduct in PHS Sponsored Research. 59 Fed. Reg. 25953 (1994)
    9. Former Scientific Misconduct Regulations - 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart A: May 1989 - May 2005.


  1. It is the policy of Rowan University to inquire into and, if necessary, investigate and resolve promptly and fairly all instances of alleged research misconduct; and to comply in a timely manner with sponsor requirements for reporting cases of possible research misconduct when sponsored project funds are involved. All University personnel must cooperate with the Research Integrity Officer in the assessment of allegations and the conduct of subsequent inquiries and investigations. Failure to cooperate may result in disciplinary action as appropriate or warranted. This policy applies to faculty, students, other trainees, staff, and all other members of University's research community. Rowan University's Procedures for Reviewing Alleged Research Misconduct applies to research and related activities conducted at Rowan University, regardless of funding source. 
  2. Scientists and scholars have invested a major portion of their time to improve the quality of every aspect of our lives by demonstrating integrity and professionalism in the pursuit of knowledge and gaining the public trust. Trust is the very basis of research – without it, the research and integrity of the researcher and the institution to which he/she belongs crumbles.
  3. Integrity is fundamental to our work as scientists, scholars and professionals. Walking the lines of research and scholarly activities requires reporting the work honestly, accurately and objectively and without bias. Allowing the research and scholarly findings to be subject to public scrutiny is integral to responsible conduct of research.
  4. Research misconduct occurs when a researcher fabricates information, falsifies data, or plagiarizes information or ideas within a research or scholarly report. Therefore, there is a need to learn best practices of honesty, accuracy, efficiency and objectivity in different settings since practices vary among disciplines. These practices apply to students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty and researchers alike irrespective of their field of study.
  5. Rowan University is firmly committed to promoting a culture that values the ethical and responsible conduct of research. Accordingly, allegations of misconduct are taken very seriously, as are the needs to protect the rights of those who make such complaints in good faith and the rights of those who are accused of misconduct.
  6. The Department of Health and Human Services and the National Science Foundation (NSF) regulations, which define the responsibilities of Public Health Service (PHS) and NSF research grant awardees for dealing with and reporting possible misconduct in research efforts (42CFR, Part 50, Subpart A and 45CFR, Part 689). This commitment is fundamental to the University's mission in fostering the expansion of knowledge. The administration, faculty, students, and staff of the University share in the responsibility for preserving the integrity of research. All members of the University community are responsible for promoting the highest ethical principles in each academic discipline and for holding members of the community accountable to these principles.
  7. The consequences of misconduct in research may include not only damage to individual careers but also the erosion of public confidence in the integrity of scholarship and research at the University, and generally in the academic community and society. Similarly, false or inaccurate allegations of misconduct in research not made in good faith may injure the reputation of scholars, researchers, and the institution. It is important that there be appropriate University procedures by which allegations of misconduct in research may be fairly and thoroughly aired, both to expose and correct misconduct and to protect the researcher against false charges.

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