Research Misconduct


Research Misconduct means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

Research Misconduct Policy

The University of Florida Research Misconduct Policy requires each individual faculty, staff member and student to maintain high ethical standards in the conduct and reporting of his/her scientific and scholarly research.

Faculty, staff, and students have a responsibility for ethical conduct in research—not only to the University and the academic community—but to the community at large and to private and public institutions sponsoring the research activities.

Should incidents of misconduct in research occur, reporting of such potential violations are not only a shared responsibility, but it is also a duty of the faculty, staff members and students.

The University of Florida Policy closely follows the Public Health Services Policies on Research Misconduct.

Other Resources:
Federal Research Misconduct Policies
Office of Research Integrity (ORI) Policy on Plagiarism

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training

• UF is committed to elevating its research community beyond regulatory compliance to the highest ethical standards in research. All researchers are encouraged to obtain training and certification in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). To learn more visit https://research.ufl.edu/rcr/
• For more information about required responsible conduct of research training visit https://research.ufl.edu/rcr/rcr-training/

Allegation Review

After a research misconduct allegation is reported, there are three stages that could occur.

Assessment

The initial review of the allegation determines whether an inquiry is warranted. An inquiry is warranted if the allegation falls within the definition of research misconduct and is sufficiently credible and specific so potential evidence of research misconduct may be identified.

Inquiry

The initial review of the evidence determines whether an investigation is warranted. An investigation is warranted if there is a reasonable basis for concluding an allegation falls within the definition of research misconduct, and preliminary information gathering and preliminary fact-finding indicates the allegation may have substance.

Investigation

The formal review of the allegation determines whether research misconduct has occurred. An ad hoc investigation committee, who has sufficient expertise in the subject matter, performs the investigation.

Responsible Research Best Practices

The following best practices were adapted from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2017. Fostering Integrity in Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/21896; and Fostering Academic Integrity: Report of the Committee on Academic Responsibility. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, April 15, 1992; pp 10-11.

General Considerations

  • Determine the governing rules for a designed experiment before the work is conducted.
  • Exercise commitment to intellectual honesty, transparency and personal responsibility for error or misinterpretation.

Authorship / Communication

  • Limit authorship to the person(s) who made a significant intellectual contribution to the production and presentation of new knowledge to be published. Minor contributors should be recognized, but not as authors.
  • Clearly identify which portion of a project each co-author performed; otherwise, all are held accountable for the entire contents.
  • Authors are responsible for the veracity and reliability of the reported results, compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and defending the work after publication. They must ensure that the submission is not duplicative of prior work and that any prior work is properly and accurately cited.
  • Where applicable, work product should include negative findings or results contrary to stated hypotheses.
  • The submitting author must ensure that each author reviewed and approved the paper prior to submission and that any inquiries or challenges to the manuscript are first reconciled.

Data Handling

  • Develop an effective record keeping, data management and sharing plan at the outset of a project.
  • Incorporate appropriate data management expertise (statistical and analytical) in the project team where needed.
  • Understand and follow data collection, management, and sharing standards, policies, and regulations of the discipline, institution, funder, journal, and relevant government agencies.
  • Provide free and open access to data, models, and code underlying reported results to the fullest extent possible.

Mentoring and Supervision

  • Mentors should model and instruct best practices to junior researchers, taking time to discuss the potential for research misconduct, and regularly checking their work to ensure adherence to best practices.
  • Clarify expectations about ownership and credit, the risks of misrepresenting data, and the importance of transparency about results.
  • Foster a positive environment, acknowledging pressures to obtain results, but encouraging collaboration over competition.