Scientific Misconduct (FS 7.10)

Chapter VII: UWS and UWRF Policies

7.10 Scientific Misconduct

Recognizing that honesty in the conduct of academic research is fundamental to its integrity and credibility and to the maintenance of public trust in the University, UW-River Falls adopts these policies and procedures for reviewing and investigating allegations of scientific misconduct.

Faculty and staff are reminded that Chapter UWS 8 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code, the Unclassified Staff Code of Ethics, provides that:

Every member of the faculty and academic staff at the time of appointment makes a personal commitment to professional honesty and integrity that meets the demanding standards of the state and national academic communities.

Students are reminded that Chapter UWS 14, Student Academic Disciplinary Procedures, provides under Statement of Principles:

The Board of Regents, administrators, faculty, academic staff and students of the University of Wisconsin system believe that academic honesty and integrity are fundamental to the mission of higher education and of the University of Wisconsin system. The University has a responsibility to promote academic honesty and integrity and to develop procedures to deal effectively with instances of academic dishonesty. Students are responsible for the honest completion and representation of their work, for the appropriate citation of sources, and for respect for others' academic endeavors. Students who violate these standards must be confronted and must accept the consequences of their actions.

7.10.1 Policy and Definition

For purposes of these policies and procedures, "misconduct in science" or "misconduct" means fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.

Misconduct in science is prohibited at UW-River Falls, and may be cause for discipline or dismissal.

Misuse by a researcher of University funds (including grant and contract funding from extramural sponsors) is also cause for discipline or dismissal and may be cause for criminal prosecution. However, an allegation of misuse of funds is not within the scope of this policy; such allegation shall be referred to the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, who will consult with the Controller concerning an appropriate course of action.

A violation of institutional procedures or federal regulations on the protection of human or animal research subjects or a violation of state or federal safety laws or regulations is also not within the scope of this policy. An allegation regarding any such violation shall be promptly referred to the chair of the Institutional Review Board/Human Subjects Committee in cases involving human subjects, to the chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee in cases involving animal subjects, or to the Chancellor in cases involving safety.

The goal of the procedures outlined below is to assure the integrity of scholarly research, to achieve a rapid and equitable resolution of all charges, and to assure that all parties are treated with fairness. In order to protect the reputation of an innocent party, the procedures will preserve the maximum level of confidentiality consistent with law and with justice for all parties to these procedures. All parties will take whatever action is required to avoid any unnecessary conflict of interest.

Where an inquiry or investigation results in a finding that no misconduct has occurred, the University will not institute a new inquiry or investigation into an allegation of misconduct where the allegation is made against the same person and is based on material facts which were reviewed and found not to constitute misconduct during the prior inquiry or investigation, unless new material evidence is presented by a different complainant, or unless the person who is the subject of the inquiry or investigation requests another proceeding.

Because of the difficulties of assessing stale claims and the unfairness to the person against whom the allegation is made, allegations based on conduct which occurred seven years or more prior to the making of the allegation will not be inquired into under this policy unless the circumstances indicate that the alleged conduct was not discoverable earlier.