Southeast Missouri State University

Bill 12-A-15 - Revising the "Research" Description of Faculty Professional Responsibilities by Establishing a "Procedures" Section regarding Scientific Misconduct (Approved)

FACULTY SENATE SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY

FACULTY SENATE BILL 12-A-15

Approved by the Faculty Senate
April 4, 2012

REVISING THE "RESEARCH" DESCRIPTION OF FACULTY PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES BY ESTABLISHING A "PROCEDURES" SECTION REGARDING SCIENTIFIC MISCONDUCT

BE IT RESOLVED THAT: subject to the passage and approval of both this bill and its companion bill establishing a corresponding "policy" section, Chapter 3, Section D 6 of the Faculty Handbook be amended by making the following changes to the existing content, thereby establishing a "procedures" section (to follow the companion "policy" section in the Handbook):

so that the resulting Section D 6 of Chapter 3 read as follows:

Scientific Misconduct Policy

[Faculty Senate Bill 12-A-XXX goes here]

Procedures for Handling Allegations of Scientific Misconduct

These procedures shall apply to faculty, administrative and professional staff, and graduate students. The University process for handling allegations of scientific misconduct involves three stages: inquiry, investigation, and resolution. All parties involved in the process shall be entitled to consultation with legal counsel (at his/her own expense) in all meetings relating to the alleged misconduct.

Initiation of an Inquiry

Southeast Missouri State University has a responsibility to pursue an allegation of scientific misconduct fully and to resolve questions regarding the integrity of research. In the inquiry and any investigation which may follow, the University will attempt to focus on the substance of the issues and be vigilant so that personal conflicts between colleagues do not obscure the facts.

In order to address all allegations of scientific misconduct expeditiously, Southeast Missouri State University designates the Dean of the Graduate School as the administrator to whom allegations are to be reported. If he/she has a conflict of interests with a case, the allegation will be pursued by the Provost in accordance with the procedures described in this policy document.

The Dean of the Graduate School will pursue all allegations to resolution. He/she will consult in confidence with any individual who comes forward with an allegation of scientific misconduct. If the Dean of the Graduate School determines that the concern should be addressed through this policy, the subsequent inquiry and investigation procedures will be discussed with the complainant. If the complainant chooses not to make a formal allegation but the Dean of the Graduate School believes there is sufficient cause to warrant an inquiry, the matter will be pursued. In such a case, there is no complainant for the purposes of this document.

Even if the respondent leaves the institution before the case is resolved, Southeast Missouri State University has a responsibility to continue the examination of the allegations and reach a conclusion. Further, Southeast Missouri State University will cooperate with the processes of other involved institutions to resolve such questions.

Inquiry

Purpose

Whenever an allegation of misconduct is filed, the Dean of the Graduate School will initiate an inquiry--the first step of the review process. In the inquiry stage, factual information is gathered and expeditiously reviewed to determine if an investigation of the charge is warranted. An inquiry is not a formal hearing; it is designed to separate allegations deserving of further investigation from frivolous, unjustified, or clearly mistaken allegations.

Structure

The inquiry process may be handled with or without a formal committee. Regardless of the approach chosen, it is the responsibility of the Dean of the Graduate School to ensure that the inquiry is conducted in a fair and just manner. The Dean of the Graduate School shall informally review any allegation of misconduct and confer on the merit of the allegation and need to form an inquiry committee with a dean of one of the colleges not represented by the complainant or respondent. The Dean of the Graduate School will determine whether the allegation should be addressed through this policy. If individuals are chosen to assist in the inquiry process, they should have no real or apparent conflicts of interests with the case in question, be unbiased, and have an appropriate background for judging the issues being raised. If the alleged scientific misconduct is a failure to comply with regulations regarding the use of human subjects or laboratory animals in research, members of the inquiry committee may be selected by the Dean of the Graduate School from the appropriate University compliance committee(s) for human and/or animal subjects.

Process

Upon initiation of an inquiry, the Dean of the Graduate School will notify the respondent in writing within a reasonable period of time of the charges and the process that will follow. If the committee method is to be used, the committee members will be appointed and convened.

Whether a case can be reviewed effectively without the involvement of the complainant depends upon the nature of the allegation and the evidence available. Cases that depend specifically upon the observations or statements of the complainant cannot proceed without the open involvement of the individual; other cases that can rely on documentary evidence may permit the complainant to remain anonymous. During the inquiry, confidentiality is essential in order to protect the rights of all parties involved.

The respondent will be given copies of written documents (if any) that support the allegations. To ensure the safety of any written documents associated with the allegation, committee members will be asked to review a copy of such documents within the office of the Dean of the Graduate School.

When the inquiry is initiated, the respondent will be reminded of the obligation to cooperate in providing the material necessary to conduct the inquiry. Uncooperative behavior may result in immediate implementation of a formal investigation and other appropriate institutional sanctions. The respondent will be invited to present a written response to the allegations, and this response will become a part of the case file maintained by the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.

Due to the sensitive nature of an alleged case of scientific misconduct, the University will strive to resolve each case expeditiously. The inquiry phase will normally be completed and a written report of the findings filed for the institution's own record within thirty days of written notification to the respondent. A thirty-day period meets the federal regulatory requirements. If the committee anticipates that the established deadline cannot be met, a report, citing the reasons for the delay and progress to date, will be filed with the Dean of the Graduate School, and the respondent and appropriately involved individuals will be informed by the thirty-fourth day.

Findings of the Inquiry

The completion of an inquiry is marked by a determination of whether or not an investigation is warranted. There will be written documentation to summarize the process and conclusion of the inquiry. The complainant and respondent will be informed by the Dean of the Graduate School of the outcome of the inquiry. Allegations found to require investigation will be forwarded to the investigative body discussed below. At this point, any agency sponsoring the research will be notified of a pending investigation.

If an allegation is found to be unjustified but has been submitted in good faith, no further formal action other than informing all involved parties will be taken. The proceedings of the inquiry, including the identity of the respondent, will be held in strict confidence to protect the parties involved. If confidentiality is breached, the University will take reasonable steps to minimize the damage to reputations that may result from inaccurate reports. If an allegation is found to be unjustified and to have been maliciously motivated, disciplinary actions will be taken against anyone under University jurisdiction so involved.

Southeast Missouri State University will seek to protect the complainant against retaliation. Less senior people are particularly vulnerable. Individuals under the University's jurisdiction found engaging in acts of retaliation will be disciplined in accordance with appropriate institutional policies.

Investigation

Purpose

An investigation will be initiated only after an inquiry issues a finding that an investigation is warranted. The investigation's purpose is to explore further the allegations and determine whether there has been scientific misconduct. In the course of an investigation, additional information may emerge that justifies broadening the scope of the investigation beyond the initial allegations. The respondent will be informed in writing when significant new directions of investigation are undertaken. The investigation will focus on accusations of misconduct as defined previously and examine the factual materials of each case. The investigation will look carefully at the substance of the charges and examine all relevant evidence.

Structure

The investigating body will be a five-person ad hoc committee appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School to handle the investigation. Members of the investigative committee should be chosen from within the University. Appropriate individuals outside the University may be selected if sufficient qualified members cannot be found from within the institution. Those investigating the allegations will be selected in full awareness of the closeness of their professional or personal affiliation with the complainant or the respondent. Any prospective member who has a conflict of interests in a case will not be permitted to be involved in that case. It is important, however, that the committee members have appropriate research expertise to assure a sound knowledge base from which to work.

Process

Upon receipt of the inquiry finding that an investigation is warranted, the Dean of the Graduate School will initiate the investigation promptly. The complainant and respondent will be notified in writing of the investigation; the written summary of the inquiry stage will be included with this notification. All involved parties are obligated to cooperate with the proceedings in securing additional data related to the case. All necessary information will be provided to the respondent in a timely manner to facilitate the preparation of a response. The respondent will have the opportunity to address the charges and evidence in detail in consultation with legal counsel if he/she wishes.

In the interim, the University will, if necessary, act to protect the health and safety of research subjects, patients, and students. Administrative action could range from complete suspension to slight restrictions in the research activities of the respondent. Interim administrative action will be taken in full awareness of how it might affect other individuals and the ongoing research within the institution.

The written record for the investigative stage will be handled in the same manner as for the inquiry stage, i.e., one copy of the record will be given to the respondent. A second copy, maintained by the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, will be available for inspection by the committee.

All significant developments during the investigation, as well as the final findings of the committee, will be reported to any sponsor of the research. When the investigation is concluded, all entities initially notified of the investigation will be informed of its final outcome.

The University will attempt to complete an investigation within 120 days. If the deadline cannot be met, an interim report will be submitted by the committee to the Dean of the Graduate School with a request for an extension.

Findings of the Investigation

The findings of the investigative committee will be submitted in writing to the Dean of the Graduate School. The respondent will receive the full report of the investigation.

Appeal/Final Review

In the event of a finding of scientific misconduct, Southeast Missouri State University will provide the respondent with an appeal opportunity. The grounds should be based either on the failure of the University to follow appropriate procedures or the presence of new evidence.

An appeal based on procedural violations should be made in writing to the Dean of the Graduate School. The appeal should be filed within 30 days of notification to the respondent of the committee's findings and include a list of specific violations. A proper reaction to the appeal should be made in writing by the Provost within two weeks of the filing of the appeal.

An appeal based on new evidence should be made in writing to the Dean of the Graduate School. The appeal should be filed within 30 days of the committee's findings and include a description of the new evidence and its relevancy to the case. A written reaction should be sent to the respondent from the Dean of the Graduate School within two weeks of the filing of the appeal. The decision of the appeal is final. The reaching of such a decision; or the failure of the respondent to submit an appeal within the stated 30 days; is considered to exhaust the appeal process.

Resolution

No Findings of Misconduct

When the investigation finds no support for allegations of scientific misconduct, all federal agencies, sponsors, or other entities initially informed of the investigation will be notified by the Dean of the Graduate School. The findings of the investigation will be sealed and retained in a confidential and secure file within the Office of the Graduate Studies.

If the allegations of misconduct were found to have been maliciously motivated, the appropriate administrative official (e.g., college dean or Provost) will be notified so appropriate disciplinary action can be taken against the responsible University employee. If the allegations, however incorrect, were found to have been made in good faith, no disciplinary measures will be taken, and efforts will be made to prevent retaliatory actions.

Findings of Misconduct

Notification - All federal agencies, sponsors, or other entities initially informed of the investigation will be notified of the findings of misconduct once the appeal process has been exhausted.

Consideration will also be given to formal notification of other involved parties after the appeal process has been exhausted. The following list of such parties is illustrative but not complete.
- Co-authors, co-investigators, collaborators
- Editors of journals in which fraudulent research was published
- Sponsoring agencies and funding sources with which the individual has been affiliated
- Professional societies
Disciplinary Action - University disciplinary action will be in proportion to the misconduct. Possible actions could include termination of employment. The Dean of the Graduate School, in consultation with the respondent's college dean, shall recommend appropriate disciplinary action to the Provost.

Approved by Faculty Senate, Bill 90-A-05 - April 4, 1990 Approved by Board of Regents - May 4, 1990 Reenacted with slight amendment by Faculty Senate Bill 12-A-XX approved by the Faculty Senate XXXX and by thePresident XXXX

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Action Date
Introduced to Senate 2/29/12
Second Senate Meeting 3/21/2012
Faculty Senate Vote 4/4/2012
President's Review 4/23/2012
15 Day Review 4/2012
Posted to Faculty Handbook

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