ORI is prepared to provide technical assistance to any institution that is responding to an allegation of research misconduct involving PHS funds through its Rapid Response for Technical Assistance (RRTA) program to facilitate high-quality and well-documented investigations and help resolve research misconduct cases promptly.
Examples of technical assistance available from ORI are:
- providing a rapid review of the institution's procedures to alert officials to potential problem areas;
- assisting in the sequestration, inventory, categorization, and plans for analyses of physical evidence;
- briefing institutional officials and committees on planning, implementation, and potential legal issues in inquiries and investigations;
- advising committee members on investigational goals and techniques;
- alerting officials of PHS issues and providing copies of grant applications and grant reports;
- providing advice on handling computer files;
- providing advice on analytical techniques for image enhancement and statistical analyses of data(e.g., digit analysis);
- handling evidence from human subjects or samples;
- suggesting collateral evidence to confirm or refute claims;
- providing advice on missing records;
- providing advice on forensic expertise and interpreting opinions received;
- assisting in locating outside experts;
- assisting in developing strategies to prevent incomplete and withdrawn admissions;
- identifying the need for notification of other Federal agencies;
- assisting in notification or requests for help from other institutions or organizations;
- sharing ORI experience on difficult legal issues;
- advising on potential whistleblower and confidentiality issues, including referring whistleblower issues promptly.
Some particularly challenging issues are voluminous or missing evidence, multi-center sites, involvement of outside parties, and premature admissions.
ORI staff may provide advice on the telephone, arrange a conference call, or travel on-site. If an institution requests on-site assistance, ORI may provide expertise very quickly with an array of materials and tools to assist the institution tailored to the specific requirements of the case.
In addition, informal discussions may be held with scientist/investigators concerning allegations of research misconduct or the handling of cases by calling the Division of Investigative Oversight at (240) 453-8800. Calls may be made anonymously.
Forensic Tools and Articles
- Forensic Droplets and Actions Tools Section
- Statistical Forensics: One Digit Too Many
- Statistical Forensics: Check Rightmost Digits for Uniform Distribution
- PHS Policies on Research Misconduct - 42 C.F.R. 93
- Problem Areas in Processing Research Misconduct Allegations
- Assessing Research Misconduct Allegations Involving Clinical Research
- ORI Sample Policy and Procedures for Responding to Allegations of Research Misconduct
- ORI Guidelines for Institutions and Whistleblowers: Responding to Possible Retaliation against Whistleblowers in Extramural Research - Being revised to comply with 42 C.F.R. 93
- Tips for Sequestration of Physical Evidence in Research Misconduct Cases
- Tips for Handling Physical Evidence in Research Misconduct Cases
- Image Processing Useful in Research Misconduct Investigations
- Publication Order Form (PDF)