The University of Toledo is revising its research misconduct policy to update procedures to ensure researchers on campus adhere to the highest standards of research integrity.
“Administrators, faculty, students and staff have a responsibility to uphold the highest standards of honesty, integrity and reliability in research and scholarship to support advancements in all disciplines, and to maintain public trust in University research and scholarly activity,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said.
Under the leadership of the University Research Council, and with input from the Faculty Senate and Graduate Council, the University soon will post for public comment the revision of the research misconduct policy, which conforms to new federal guidelines and clarifies a faculty-driven process to equitably deal with alleged misconduct.
The policy emphasizes the importance of responsibilities of reporting allegations, and also clearly defines research misconduct as plagiarism, falsification of data and fabrication of data. The research misconduct policy is not discipline-specific and covers activities across the breadth of research and scholarship at UT.
The revised policy also includes processes designed to protect those bringing forward allegations, as well as the individual (respondent) who is accused of misconduct. The University Research Council actively participates in every step of these processes.
“Research findings have enormous implications in our broader community and for human health and welfare,” Vice President for Research Frank Calzonetti said. “For example, results falsely claiming that a new material is able to withstand heavier loads than its actual tolerance could result in bridge collapses if engineers relied on false data in structural design. In biomedical research, misleading results, based upon dishonest research, could result in the use of ineffective, or even dangerous, therapies for patients.”
UT is committed to ensuring honesty and integrity in all aspects of research and scholarship. Systems and policies are in place to respond to reports of research misconduct and to promote campus-wide education and training to ensure that faculty members, research scientists, postdoctoral fellows and students understand their responsibilities in the ethical conduct of their work.
The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, in concert with the College of Graduate Studies, is planning Responsible Conduct of Research training program sessions for the University community. The COMPETES Act of 2009 calls the training, which is federally mandated, “an integral part of the preparation and long-term professional development of current and future generations of scientists and engineers.”
To review and comment on the revision to the research misconduct policy, visit utoledo.edu/policies/draft_policies.