ORI Introduction to RCR: Chapter 2. Research Misconduct
Public concern about misconduct in research first surfaced in the early 1980’s following reports of cases of egregious misbehavior. One researcher republished under his own name dozens of articles previously published by others. Other researchers in one way or another falsified or fabricated research results. To make matters worse, it seemed as if research institutions sometimes ignored or deliberately covered up problems rather than investigate them. Eventually Congress stepped in and required Federal agencies and research institutions to develop research misconduct policies.
Research misconduct policies provide guidance onresponsible conduct in three areas. They:
- establish definitions for misconduct in research,
- outline procedures for reporting and investigatingmisconduct, and
- provide protection for whistleblowers (persons who report misconduct) and persons accused of misconduct
Together, the definitions of and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in research form an initial foundation for effective self-regulation in research.
Although Federal policies technically apply only to federally funded research, many research institutions apply Federal research misconduct policies to all research. Many research institutions have also broadened the basic Federal definitions to include other inappropriate practices. In combination, Federal and institutional research misconduct policies define research practices that researchers must avoid. Failure to do so can result in the termination of employment or ineligibility to receive Federal funding.
When research misconduct becomes public