Policy Number: 202

Honesty in Research

Subject:

Honesty in research

Scope:

Researchers

Date Reviewed: June 2010

Responsible Office: Office of Academic and Research Affairs

Responsible Executive: Executive Vice President for Academic and Research Affairs

I.     POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (“university”) strives to create a research climate that promotes faithful adherence to high ethical standards in the conduct of research without inhibiting the productivity and creativity of all persons involved in research. Dishonesty, misconduct, or fraud in science, research, or academics is an offense that damages not only the reputations of those involved and the university but also the reputation of the entire academic community.

Research Misconduct means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results, that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It does not include honest errors or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data. When preparing this policy, the university relied heavily on a sample policy published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity (ORI) entitled “Sample Policy and Procedures for Responding to Allegations of Research Misconduct;” this sample policy complies with the PHS Policies on Research Misconduct (42 CFR Part 93) that became effective June 16, 2005.

The university uses the following definitions to understand the elements of research misconduct: “Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting research. 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. Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.”

This policy applies to all individuals at the university engaged in research including any person paid by, under the control of, or affiliated with the university, such as scientists, trainees, technicians and other staff members, students, fellows, visiting scientists and guest researchers at the university.

To maintain the integrity of research projects, every person engaged in research, including faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and technicians, must keep an auditable record of all experimental protocols, data, and findings. Any inquiry or investigation of allegations of dishonesty, misconduct, or fraud in research must proceed promptly and with due regard for the reputation and rights of all individuals involved. The university will take all reasonable steps to assure that 1) persons involved in the evaluation of the allegations and evidence have appropriate expertise, 2) no person involved in the procedures is either biased against the accused person(s) or has a conflict of interest, and 3) affected individuals will receive confidential treatment to the maximum extent possible.

II.     PROCEDURE

The University has adopted specific procedures and guidelines for handling allegations of research misconduct based on whether or not the allegations stem from U.S. Public Health Service supported research or not. 

Attached are the university’s guidelines and procedures for handling allegations of research misconduct:  “Guidelines and Procedures for Allegations of Research Misconduct.”

III.     CONTACTS

Contact

Telephone

Email/Web Address

Office of Academic and Research Affairs  

713-500-3082   

research@uth.tmc.edu

http://www.uthouston.edu/evpara/personnel.htm

http://www.uthouston.edu/index/research.htm