Statement on Research Integrity

This statement on research integrity represents a code of ethics that Scripps College expects all active members of our academic community, faculty members and students alike, to uphold in their research and scholarship.

A. Regarding Plagiarism

  1. One must not present another’s work as one’s own.
  2. Substantive contributions of collaborators and students must be recognized.
  3. Unpublished work of other researchers and scholars may be cited only with due acknowledgement and with permission according to the accepted practices of the discipline.
  4. Archival material must be used in accordance with the rules of the archival source.
  5. Permission of the author must be obtained before using new information, concepts or data originally obtained through access to confidential manuscripts or applications for funds for research or training.

B. Regarding Falsification

  1. Scholarly and scientific rigor and integrity must be observed in obtaining, recording and analyzing data and in reporting and publishing results.
  2. Authorship of published work must include all those, and only those, who have materially contributed to, and share responsibility for, the contents of the publication.
  3. Faculty members and students are responsible for representing themselves, their departments/programs, and Scripps College accurately and in accordance with the Faculty Handbook and the Guide to Student Life in all electronic and print materials.

C. Regarding Conflict of Interest

Investigator must reveal to sponsors, universities, journals or funding agencies any material conflict of interest, financial or other.

D. Regarding Treatment of Participants

  1. All research involving human participants must be approved by the Institutional Review Board at Scripps College before the beginning of the project. (Consult the Faculty Handbook for policy.)
  2. Similarly, all research involving animals as experimental subjects must be approved by the Animal Care and Use Committee of the W.M. Keck Science Department before the onset of the project.
  3. Researchers have primary ethical obligations to the participants and materials they study.
  4. Investigators must ensure, to the degree reasonably possible, that their research does not harm the safety, dignity, privacy, or psychological well being of the people who serve as participants of the research.
  5. Informed consent must be obtained from persons being studied, providing information, or owning or controlling access to material being studied according to the accepted practices of the discipline.
  6. Researchers must determine in advance whether their hosts/providers of information wish to remain anonymous or receive recognition, and make every effort to comply with those wishes.
  7. Researchers must present to their research participants the possible impacts of the choices, and make clear that despite their best efforts, anonymity may be compromised or recognition fail to materialize.

Policy for Responding to Allegations of Research Misconduct

Introduction

General Policy

Scripps College (the “College”) is responsible for the integrity of the research conducted at the College. As a community of scholars to which truthfulness and integrity are fundamental, the College must establish procedures for the investigation of allegations of misconduct in research. Furthermore, federal regulations require the College to have procedures for addressing incidents in which there are allegations of certain types of misconduct in research.

Scope

This policy applies to all individuals at the College engaged in any research, whether or not such research is supported by external funding. This policy applies to any person employed by, contracted by, or affiliated with the College, such as faculty, staff, students, guest faculty or other academic visitors hosted by the College.

The policy will generally be followed when an allegation of possible research misconduct is received by an institutional official. Any significant variation from this policy should be approved in advance by the Dean of Faculty or his or her designee of the College.

Definitions

  • Allegation means any written or oral statement or other indication of possible research misconduct made to an institutional official.
  • Good faith allegation means an allegation made with the honest belief that research misconduct may have occurred. An allegation is not in good faith if it is made with reckless or willful disregard of facts that would disprove the allegation.
  • Inquiry means gathering information and initial fact-finding to determine whether an allegation of research misconduct warrants an investigation.
  • Investigation means the formal examination and evaluation of the relevant facts to determine if research misconduct has occurred, and, if so, to determine the responsible person and the seriousness of the misconduct.
  • Research record means any data, document, computer file, computer diskette, 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 research 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.
  • Respondent means the person against whom an allegation of research 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.
  • Research misconduct means fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other serious deviation from accepted practices within the relevant scholarly community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.
  • Complainant means a person who makes an allegation of research misconduct.

Responsibilities for Inquiry and Investigation

Research Integrity Officer

The Dean will appoint the Institutional Research Board Chair (“IRB”) as Research Integrity Officer (“RIO”) who will have primary responsibility for implementation of the procedures set forth in this document.

The RIO will appoint the inquiry and investigation committees and ensure that necessary and appropriate expertise is secured to carry out a thorough evaluation of the relevant evidence in an inquiry or investigation.

The RIO should be discreet in conducting inquiries and investigations of allegations of research misconduct and limit information regarding such allegations to those individuals or entities with a need to know such information.

The RIO will assist the inquiry and investigation committees and all institutional personnel in complying with these procedures and with applicable standards imposed by government or external funding sources. The RIO is also responsible for maintaining the record of all inquiries and investigations and for preserving the confidentiality and security of the files.

The RIO will report to the Dean of Faculty and keep the Dean of Faculty apprised of any developments during the course of the inquiry or investigation that may affect current or potential external funding for the individual(s) under investigation or that may require disclosure to any federal agency.

Complainant

The Complainant will have an opportunity to testify before the inquiry and investigation committees. The Complainant is responsible for making allegations in good faith, maintaining confidentiality, and cooperating fully with an inquiry or investigation.

Respondent

The Respondent will be informed by the Dean of Faculty of the allegations when an inquiry is opened. The Respondent will have the opportunity to be interviewed by and present evidence to the inquiry and investigation committees. The Respondent is responsible for maintaining confidentiality and cooperating fully during the inquiry or investigation.

The Dean of Faculty

The Dean of Faculty will receive the inquiry and/or investigation report. The Dean of Faculty will consult with the College President or other appropriate officials and will determine whether to conduct an investigation, whether misconduct occurred, whether to impose sanctions, or whether to take other appropriate administrative actions.

General Policies and Principles

Responsibility to Report Misconduct

All employees or individuals associated with Scripps College should report observed, suspected, or apparent research misconduct to the Dean of Faculty. If an individual is unsure whether a suspected incident falls within the definition of research misconduct, he or she may contact the Dean of Faculty to discuss the suspected misconduct. If the circumstances described by the individual do not meet the definition of research misconduct, the Dean of Faculty will refer the individual to the appropriate official for resolving the problem.

Protecting the Complainant

Scripps College prohibits retaliation against individuals who make a good faith allegation of research misconduct. Individuals who believe they are being retaliated against for raising an allegation should immediately report any alleged retaliation to the Dean of Faculty, who will investigate the matter.

Protecting the Respondent

Inquiries and investigations will be conducted in a manner that will ensure fair treatment to the Respondent(s) in the inquiry or investigation. In addition, to the extent possible and consistent with the needs of the investigation, the institution will endeavor to be discreet while conducting the investigation.

Institutional employees accused of research misconduct may consult with the College Ombudsman, legal counsel or a non-lawyer personal adviser (who is not a principal or witness in the case) to seek advice, and may bring a personal advisor (but not the Ombudsman or legal counsel) to interviews or meetings on the case.

Responsibility to Cooperate with Inquiries and Investigations

Institutional employees are obligated to cooperate with the RIO and other institutional officials during their inquiry or investigation into allegations of research misconduct. Such cooperation includes responding to questions from the RIO and other institutional officials, providing any requested documents or evidence, and responding to their requests for information.

Conducting the Inquiry

Initiation and Purpose of the Inquiry

Following the preliminary assessment, if the Dean of Faculty determines that the allegation provides sufficient information to allow specific follow-up or involves external support, he or she will direct the RIO to initiate the inquiry process. The Dean of Faculty should identify clearly the original allegation and any related issues that should be evaluated. The purpose of the inquiry is to make a preliminary evaluation of the available evidence and testimony of the Respondent, Complainant, and key witnesses to determine whether there is sufficient evidence of possible research misconduct to warrant an investigation. The purpose of the inquiry is not to reach a final conclusion about whether misconduct occurred or to determine responsibility for such alleged misconduct. The findings of the inquiry will generally be set forth in an inquiry report.

Sequestration of the Research Records

After receiving an allegation of research misconduct that involves external funding, the Dean of Faculty should ensure that all original research records and materials relevant to the allegation are immediately secured.

Appointment of the Inquiry Committee

The RIO, in consultation with other institutional officials as appropriate, will appoint an inquiry committee and committee chair within ten (10) working days of the initiation of the inquiry. The inquiry committee should consist of individuals who do not have real or apparent conflicts of interest in the case, are unbiased, and have the necessary expertise to evaluate the evidence and issues related to the allegation, interview the principals and key witnesses, and conduct the inquiry. The inquiry committee shall consist of three members, one of whom shall be a faculty member. The other two may be subject matter experts, administrators, attorneys, or other qualified persons, and they may be from inside or outside the institution. The faculty member shall serve as chair.

The RIO will notify the Respondent of the proposed committee membership in ten (10) working days. The Respondent may submit a written objection to any appointed member of the inquiry committee based on bias or conflict of interest within five (5) working days. In such event, the RIO will determine, in his or her sole discretion, whether to replace the challenged member with a qualified substitute.

Charge to the Committee and the First Meeting

The RIO will prepare a charge for the inquiry committee that describes the allegations and any related issues identified during the allegation assessment. The purpose of the inquiry is to make a preliminary evaluation of the evidence and testimony of the Respondent, Complainant, and key witnesses to determine whether there is sufficient evidence of possible research misconduct to warrant an investigation. The purpose is not to determine whether research misconduct definitely occurred or who was responsible.

At the committee’s first meeting, the RIO will review the charge with the committee, discuss the allegations, any related issues and the appropriate procedures for conducting the inquiry, assist the committee with organizing plans for the inquiry, and answer any questions raised by the committee. The RIO will be present or available throughout the inquiry to advise the committee as needed.

Inquiry Process

The inquiry committee will normally interview the Complainant, the Respondent, and key witnesses, and examine relevant research records and materials. The inquiry committee will evaluate the evidence and testimony obtained during the inquiry. After consultation with the RIO, the committee members will decide whether there is sufficient evidence of possible research misconduct to recommend further investigation. The scope of the inquiry does not include deciding whether misconduct occurred or conducting exhaustive interviews and analyses.

The Inquiry Report

Elements of the Inquiry Report
The inquiry committee will prepare a written inquiry report setting forth the name and title of the committee members and experts, if any; the allegations; a summary of the inquiry process used; a list of the research records reviewed; summaries of any interviews; a description of the evidence in sufficient detail to demonstrate whether an investigation is warranted; the committee’s determination as to whether an investigation is recommended; and whether any other actions should be taken if an investigation is not recommended.

Inquiry Decision and Notification

Decision by Dean of Faculty

The RIO will transmit the final report to the Dean of Faculty, who will make the determination of whether findings from the inquiry provide sufficient evidence of possible research misconduct to justify conducting an investigation. The inquiry is completed when the Dean of Faculty makes this determination, which should generally be made within 60 days of the first meeting of the inquiry committee. Any extension of this period will be based on good cause and recorded in the inquiry file.

Notification

The RIO will notify both the Respondent and the Complainant of the Dean’s decision regarding whether to proceed to an investigation and will remind them of their obligation to cooperate in the event an investigation is opened. The RIO will also notify all appropriate institutional officials of the Dean’s decision.

Timeline for Completing the Inquiry Report

The inquiry committee will normally complete the inquiry and submit its report in writing to the RIO no more than 45 calendar days following its first meeting, unless the RIO approves an extension for good cause. If the RIO approves an extension, the reason for the extension will be entered into the records of the case and the report. The Respondent also will be notified of the extension.

Conducting the Investigation

Purpose of the Investigation

The purpose of the investigation is to review the allegations, examine the evidence in depth, and determine whether misconduct has been committed, by whom, and the severity of such misconduct, if any. The investigation will also determine whether there are additional instances of possible misconduct that would justify broadening the scope beyond the initial allegations. This is particularly important where the alleged misconduct involves potential harm to human subjects or the general public or if it affects research that forms the basis for public policy, clinical practice, or public health practice. The findings of the investigation will be set forth in an investigation report.

Sequestration of the Research Records

The Dean of Faculty will immediately sequester any additional pertinent research records that were not previously sequestered during the inquiry. This sequestration should occur before or at the time the Respondent is notified that an investigation has begun. The need for additional sequestration of records may occur for any number of reasons, including the institution’s decision to investigate additional allegations not considered during the inquiry stage or the identification of records during the inquiry process that had not been previously secured. The procedures to be followed for sequestration during the investigation are the same procedures that apply during the inquiry.

Appointment of the Investigation Committee

The RIO, in consultation with other institutional officials as appropriate, will appoint an investigation committee and the committee chair within ten (10) working days of the notification to the Respondent that an investigation is planned, or as soon thereafter as practicable. The investigation committee should consist of five (5) individuals who do not have real or apparent conflicts of interest in the case, are unbiased, and have the necessary expertise to evaluate the evidence and issues related to the allegations, interview the principals and key witnesses, and conduct the investigation. At least two faculty members shall be appointed to the committee. A faculty member shall be the chair. The other members may be administrators, subject matter experts, attorneys, or other qualified persons, and they may be from inside or outside the institution. Individuals appointed to the investigation committee may also have served on the inquiry committee.

The RIO will notify the Respondent of the proposed committee membership within five (5) working days. If within five (5) working days of being notified of the committee membership the Respondent submits a written objection to any appointed member of the investigation committee or expert, the RIO will determine, in his or her sole discretion, whether to replace the challenged member or expert with a qualified substitute.

Charge to the Committee and the First Meeting

Charge to the Committee

The RIO will define the subject matter of the investigation in a written charge to the committee that describes the allegations and related issues identified during the inquiry, defines research misconduct, and identifies the name of the Respondent. The charge will state that the committee is to evaluate the evidence and testimony of the Respondent, Complainant, and key witnesses to determine whether, based on a preponderance of the evidence, research misconduct occurred and, if so, to what extent, who was responsible, and its seriousness.

During the investigation, if additional information becomes available that substantially changes the subject matter of the investigation or would suggest additional Respondents, the committee will notify the RIO, who will determine whether it is necessary to notify the Respondent of the new subject matter or to provide notice to additional Respondents.

The First Meeting

The RIO will convene the first meeting of the investigation committee to review the charge, the inquiry report, and the prescribed procedures and standards for the conduct of the investigation, including the necessity for confidentiality and for developing a specific investigation plan. The investigation committee will be provided with a copy of these instructions.

Investigation Process

Generally, the investigation committee will be appointed and the process initiated within thirty (30) days of the completion of the inquiry, if findings from that inquiry provide a sufficient basis for conducting an investigation.

The investigation will normally involve examination of the Research Record. Whenever possible, the committee should interview the Complainant(s), the Respondent(s), and other individuals who might have information regarding aspects of the allegations. The interviews should be summarized and included as part of the investigatory file.

The Investigation Report

Elements of the Investigation Report

The final report submitted to the RIO should describe the policies and procedures under which the investigation was conducted, describe how and from whom information relevant to the investigation was obtained, state the findings, and explain the basis for such findings. The report will include a summary of the views of any individual(s) alleged to have engaged in misconduct and, if applicable, a description of any sanctions imposed and administrative actions taken by the institution.

Transmittal of the Final Investigation Report to the Dean of the Faculty

The investigation committee should transmit the final report to the RIO, who will in turn transmit the report to the Dean of Faculty.

Timeline for Completing the Investigation Report

An investigation should ordinarily be completed within one-hundred twenty (120) days of its initiation, with the initiation being defined as the first meeting of the investigation committee. This includes conducting the investigation, preparing the report of findings, and submitting the final report to the Dean of Faculty.

Institutional Review and Decision

Based on a preponderance of the evidence, the Dean of Faculty, in consultation with the President, will make the final determination whether to accept the investigation report, its findings and the recommended institutional actions, in whole or in part. If this determination varies from that of the investigation committee, the Dean of Faculty will explain the basis for rendering a decision different from that of the investigation committee. The Dean of Faculty’s explanation should be consistent with the institution’s policies and procedures, and the evidence reviewed and analyzed by the investigation committee. The Dean of Faculty may also return the report to the investigation committee with a request for further fact-finding or analysis. The Dean of Faculty’s and the President’s determination, together with the investigation committee’s report, constitutes the final investigation report.

When a final decision on the case has been reached, the RIO will notify both the Respondent and the Complainant of the conclusion of the investigation. In addition, the Dean of Faculty will determine whether law enforcement agencies, professional societies, professional licensing boards, editors of journals in which falsified reports may have been published, collaborators of the Respondent in the work, or other relevant parties should be notified of the outcome of the case. The Dean of Faculty is responsible for ensuring compliance with all notification requirements of funding or sponsoring agencies.

Requirements for Reporting to the RIO

An institution’s decision to initiate an investigation must be reported in writing to the RIO on or before the date the investigation begins. At a minimum, the notification should include the name of the person(s) against whom the allegations have been made and the general nature of the allegation. The RIO must also be notified of the final outcome of the investigation and must be provided with a copy of the investigation report. Any significant variations from the provisions of the institutional policies and procedures should be explained in any reports submitted to the RIO.

If an institution plans to terminate an inquiry or investigation for any reason without completing all relevant requirements, the Dean of Faculty will submit a report of the planned termination to the RIO, including a description of the reasons for the proposed termination.

If the institution determines that it will not be able to complete the investigation in one-hundred twenty (120) days, the Dean of Faculty will submit to the RIO a written request for an extension that explains the delay, reports on the progress to date, estimates the date of completion of the report, and describes other necessary steps to be taken. If the request is granted, the Dean of Faculty will file periodic progress reports as requested by the RIO.

When external funding or applications for funding are involved and an admission of research misconduct is made, the Dean of Faculty will contact the RIO for consultation and advice. Normally, the individual making the admission will be asked to sign a statement attesting to the occurrence and extent of misconduct.

The Dean of Faculty will notify the RIO at any stage of the inquiry or investigation if:

  • there is an immediate health hazard involved; there is an immediate need to protect Federal funds or equipment;
  • there is an immediate need to protect the interests of the person(s) making the allegations or of the individual(s) who is the subject of the allegations as well as his/her co-investigators and associates, if any;
  • it is probable that the alleged incident is going to be reported publicly; the allegation involves a public health sensitive issue; or
  • there is a reasonable indication of possible criminal violation.

In this instance, the institution must inform the RIO within 24 hours of obtaining that information.

Institutional Administrative Actions

The College will take appropriate administrative actions against individuals when an allegation of misconduct has been substantiated.

If the Dean of Faculty determines that the alleged misconduct is substantiated by the findings, he or she will decide on the appropriate actions to be taken after review and approval of the President. The actions may include but are not limited to withdrawal or correction of all pending or published abstracts and papers emanating from the research where research misconduct was found; or removal of the responsible person from the particular project, letter of reprimand, special monitoring of future work, probation, suspension, or initiation of steps leading to possible rank reduction or termination of employment; and restitution of funds as appropriate.

Other Considerations

Termination of Institutional Employment or Resignation Prior to Completing Inquiry or Investigation

The termination of the Respondent’s institutional employment, by resignation or otherwise, before or after an allegation of possible research misconduct has been reported, will not preclude or terminate the misconduct procedures.

If the Respondent, without admitting to the misconduct, elects to resign his or her position prior to the initiation of an inquiry, but after an allegation has been reported, or during an inquiry or investigation, the inquiry or investigation will proceed. If the Respondent refuses to participate in the process after resignation, the committee will use its best efforts to reach a conclusion concerning the allegations, noting in its report the Respondent’s failure to cooperate and its effect on the committee’s review of all the evidence.

Allegations Not Made in Good Faith

If relevant, the Dean of Faculty will determine whether the Complainant’s allegations of research misconduct were made in good faith. If an allegation was not made in good faith, the Dean of Faculty will determine whether any administrative action should be taken against the Complainant.

Approved by Faculty: May 5, 2005