LONG ISLAND UNIVERSITY POLICY APPROVED BY UNIVERSITY OFFICERS
Background and Definition of Scientific Misconduct The academic community of Long Island University holds that the standards of scientific and other scholarly activities include the requirement that they be conducted and reported in an objective and honest manner. Instances of willful and knowing dishonesty are inconsistent with the goals and mission of the University. This document outlines the University policy and procedures for assuring that scientific research is conducted in an appropriate manner and in compliance with federal government requirements for dealing with and reporting possible misconduct in science.
Policy Misconduct in science, as defined in this policy, is strictly prohibited at Long Island University. The University shall take immediate and appropriate action as soon as misconduct is suspected or alleged in accordance with the procedures outlined below.
Scope This policy and its procedures apply to all Long Island University faculty, staff, undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and postdoctoral students who are engaged in the conduct of University research.
Definitions As used in this document, the following terms have the following meanings: “Complainant” refers to the individual who alleges that scientific misconduct has occurred. “DHHS” refers to the federal Department of Health and Human Services. “Inquiry” means information gathering and initial factfinding to determine whether an allegation or apparent instance of misconduct warrants an investigation.
“Investigation” means the formal examination and evaluation of all relevant facts to determine if misconduct has occurred. “Misconduct” or “Misconduct in Science” 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 judgements of data.” “ORI” means the Office of Research Integrity, located in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services; oversees the implementation of all Public Health Service policies and procedures related to scientific misconduct. “PHS” means the Public Health Service, operating division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). “Respondent” refers to the individual against whom an allegation of scientific misconduct has been made.
Procedures 1. Confidentiality The University shall protect to the maximum extent possible, under the circumstances, the privacy of those who are the subject of an allegation of misconduct. 2. Allegation Allegations of misconduct in science shall be initiated by a written statement from any individual, whether or not associated with the University, and filed with the Academic Dean. The allegation should be detailed and specific and accompanied by appropriate documents. Ideally, the allegation should be signed and dated by the individual making the charge. If the Complainant is unwilling to be identified, the Academic Dean will decide if an Inquiry can be undertaken under these circumstances. The Academic Dean will maintain a confidential file of these allegations and all subsequent actions taken. The Academic Dean shall make all allegations known to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Academic Dean shall seek to resolve the allegations informally, if possible. Should an informal resolution be reached, all of the individuals making the allegations must submit a signed statement indicating that the allegations are withdrawn. If the allegations are not withdrawn, the following procedures will be followed.
3. Inquiry Committee Composition The Academic Dean shall appoint an Ad Hoc Inquiry Committee composed of individuals who have no real or apparent conflicts of interest bearing on the case in question. They should be unbiased and have appropriate backgrounds for judging the issues being raised. The committee shall secure necessary and appropriate expertise to carry out a thorough and authoritative evaluation of the relevant evidence in any Inquiry or Investigation. Notification of Allegation The Academic Dean shall inform the Respondent and the Respondent’s union by certified mail of the allegations, the names of the committee members, the charge to conduct its Inquiry and to make a written report within 60 calendar days form the receipt of the allegation. The Respondent may raise in writing, within 7 days of receipt of the allegation, objections to the individuals on the committee. The Academic Dean shall consider these objections and appoint new members, as appropriate. Timeframe The Inquiry shall be completed within 60 calendar days of he receipt of the allegation. If the Inquiry takes longer than 60 calendar days, the Inquiry record shall include documentation of the reasons for exceeding the 60 day period. Inquiry and Report The Ad Hoc Inquiry Committee shall conduct a prompt Inquiry into the alleged misconduct and shall prepare a written report that states what evidence was reviewed, summarizes relevant interviews and includes the conclusions of the Inquiry. The Academic Dean will provide the Respondent and the Respondent’s union with a copy of the Inquiry report by certified mail. The Respondent shall be given an opportunity to respond to the report, in writing, within 7 days from receipt of the report. These comments shall be maintained as part of the written record of the Inquiry and they will be made available to the Director, ORI. The Academic Dean shall make the findings of the Ad Hoc Inquiry Committee known to the Vice President for Academic Affairs who will be responsible for an Investigation, if required. The proceedings of the Inquiry will be kept confidential and will not be disclosed except as necessary to facilitate a complete and comprehensive formal Investigation, if needed.
Termination of Inquiry Prior to Conclusion If the committee decides to terminate the Inquiry for any reason without completing all relevant requirements, a report of such planned termination, including a description of the reasons for such termination, shall be made to ORI by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. ORI will then decide whether further Investigation should be undertaken. The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall maintain sufficiently detailed documentation of Inquiries to permit a later assessment of the reasons for determining that an Investigation was not warranted. The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall maintain such documentation in a secure manner for a period of 3 years after the termination of the Inquiry. Documentation shall, upon request, be provided to authorized DHHS personnel Notification to ORI of Investigation On the basis of the initial Inquiry and prior to the decision to initiate an Investigation, the Academic Dean shall notify the Vice President for Academic Affairs if the conditions outlined below exist. If the conditions do exist, the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall then notify the Director of ORI in writing. The notification shall include the name of the Respondent, the general nature of the allegation, the PHS application or grant numbers involved and the existent conditions. a. There is an immediate health hazard involved. b. There is an immediate need to protect Federal funds or equipment. c. There is an immediate need to protect the interests of the person(s) making the allegations or of the individual(s) who is (are) the subject of the allegations as well as his/her co-investigators and associates, if any; d. It is probable that the alleged incident is going to be reported publicly; e. There is reasonable indication of possible criminal violation. If a reasonable indication exists, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will notify ORI within 24 hours so that ORI may then immediately notify the Department’s Office of Inspector General. 4. Investigation Committee Composition The same criteria for selection of Ad Hoc Inquiry committee members for the Inquiry shall be used for selection of Ad Hoc Investigation Committee members. The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall appoint members of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Investigation. The Committee may secure necessary and appropriate expertise from experts on or off campus to carry out a thorough and authoritative evaluation of the relevant evidence.
Notification of Investigation The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall inform the respondent’s Dean and Department Chair of the complaint if not already informed and interviewed as part of the Inquiry and the fact that the individual will be the subject of an Investigation. The complainant, Respondent, and Respondent’s union will be officially notified by certified mail by the Vice President for Academic Affairs that an Investigation will occur; the procedure of conducting the Investigation; the names of the Committee members; and the timeframe for the Investigation. The Respondent may raise in writing, within 7 days, objections to individuals on the Committee and the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall consider these objections. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will notify the ORI in writing on or before the date the investigation begins if the initial Inquiry indicates that an Investigation is warranted and if any of the conditions listed above exist at any time during the Investigation. The notification shall include the name of the Respondent, the general nature of the allegation, and the PHS application or grant numbers involved. Time Frame The Investigation shall be undertaken within 30 calendar days of the completion of the Inquiry. Within this 30 day period, the Vice President for Academic Affairs shall appoint an Ad Hoc Investigation Committee to consider the allegations of misconduct with a mandate to complete its Investigation and report within 120 days. This includes conducting the investigation, preparing the report of findings, making and making that report available for comment by the subjects of the investigation, and submitting the report to the ORI. If the Committee determines that it will not be able to complete the Investigation in 120 days, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will submit to ORI a written request for an extension and an explanation for the delay that includes the interim report of the progress to date and an estimate of the date of completion of the report and other necessary steps. If the extension is granted, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will file periodic progress reports as request by the ORI. Investigation Procedure The Committee shall fully investigate the allegation through examination of all documentation, including but not necessarily limited to relevant research data and proposals, publications, correspondence and memoranda of the telephone calls. Whenever possible, interviews will be conducted with all individuals either in making the allegation or against whom the allegation is made, as well as other individuals who may have pertinent information regarding the allegation.
Complete summaries of all interviews will be maintained. Individuals interviewed should receive a copy of the summary for their comment or revision. Notification to ORI If the Committee decides to terminate the Investigation for any reason, a report of such planned termination including a description of the reasons for such termination shall be made to ORI by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. ORI will then decide whether further Investigation should be undertaken. The Vice President for Academic Affairs will keep the ORI apprised of any developments during the course of the Investigation which disclose facts that may affect current or potential Department of Health and Human Services funding for the individuals under Investigation or that the PHS needs to know to ensure appropriate use of Federal funds and otherwise protect the public interest. Administrative Action to Protect Federal Funds To this end, the University will take interim administrative actions, as appropriate, to protect Federal funds and insure that the purposes of the Federal financial assistance are carried out. The Committee will decide, in consultation with appropriate University administrators, what actions are necessary in this regard. Determination of Misconduct The Committee will make a determination that: (1) the evidence supports the allegation of misconduct (2) the evidence does not support the allegation of misconduct The vote shall be a simple majority. Dissenting views will be entered as part of the record. Sanctions The sanctions for faculty members will be consistent with the terms and conditions set forth by the Respondent’s collective bargaining unit agreement. Sanctions for staff will also be consistent with the terms and conditions set forth by the Respondent’s collective bargaining unit agreement. Sanctions for undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and postdoctoral students may include, but not be limited to, expulsion, suspension, removal from a particular project, an oral or written reprimand, special monitoring of future work, probation, reduction of salary or salary raise and reduction in rank.
Recommended sanctions will be part of the final report of the Ad Hoc Investigation Committee (see below) and will be made known in writing to the Respondent and the union, as appropriate, with the decision of the Committee by certified mail. It is understood that the Department of Health and Human Services may decide to impose sanctions of its own upon investigators or institutions based upon authorities it possesses or may posses, if such action seems appropriate. Investigation Final Report The Vice President for Academic Affairs will prepare a final report describing the policies and procedures under which the Investigation was conducted, how and from whom information was obtained; the findings and the basis for the findings and shall include the actual text or an accurate summary of the views of any individuals found to have engaged in misconduct, as well as a description of any sanctions taken by the institution. The report will be made available to the Respondent, Respondent’s union and Complainant. The investigation final report will be submitted to ORI by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Upon receipt of the final report and supporting materials, the ORI will review the information in order to determine whether the Investigation has been performed in a timely manner and with sufficient objectivity, thoroughness and competence. Upon ORI’s request, clarification or additional information will be provided by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dissemination of Investigation Final Report The findings of the Committee shall be submitted to the Vice President for Academic Affairs who will be responsible for disseminating these findings to the Respondent, Complainant, Respondent’s Department Chair, Dean, and Respondent’s union, as well as the President of the University. Certified mail will be used to deliver the report. Appeals Process If the Respondent does not agree with the decision of the Committee, the Respondent may make an appeal in writing to President of the University within 7 days of receipt of the decision. The President shall review the decision of the Ad Hoc Investigation Committee and make a decision to its appropriateness. The President’s decision in this matter shall be final. Appeals are restricted to the body of evidence already presented, and the grounds of appeal are limited to failure to follow appropriate procedures in the Investigation and arbitrary and capricious decision making.
Notification of Other Concerned Parties Formal notification of other concerned parties not previously notified about the outcome of the case shall also be undertaken by the Vice President for Academic Affairs once the Appeals process is complete and misconduct in science has been determined. Such parties include sponsoring agencies, coauthors, editors of journals in which fraudulent research was published; state professional licensing boards; editors of journals, other institutions, sponsoring agencies, and funding sources with which the individual has been affiliated; professional societies; where appropriate, criminal authorities.
Additional Considerations Reputation The University shall undertake diligent efforts, as appropriate, to restore the reputations of persons alleged to have engaged in misconduct when allegations are not confirmed, and also undertake diligent efforts to protect the positions and reputations of those persons who, in good faith, make allegations. Obligation to Cooperate All parties to an Inquiry or Investigation have the obligation to cooperate and furnish all requested information. If any party refuses to do so, the Academic Dean, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Ad Hoc Investigation Committees shall consider this in their reports. The making of false or malicious accusations violates acceptable norms of behavior for members of the University community and will be reported to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Attorneys Except under extraordinary circumstances, as determined in the University’s sole discretion, attorneys are not permitted actively to participate in these proceedings or to attend meetings or interviews. University General Counsel may provide guidance to those conducting the Investigation as to its construction, applicability of the Policy or its implementing procedures. Conduct of Inquiry and Investigation Formal rules of evidence shall not apply nor adversarial hearings be held in connection with any Inquiry or Investigation. Criminal or Civil Claims The University may act under these procedures irrespective of possible civil or criminal claims arising out of the same or other events. The Vice President for Academic
Affairs may decide if the University shall proceed against a respondent who also faces related charges in a civil or criminal tribunal. If the University defers proceedings, it may subsequently proceed regardless of the time provisions set forth in these procedures. Modifications – Flexibility The University understands that it is impossible to develop a policy and procedure that will govern or control every situation. This Policy and Procedure, however, covers most situations that may occur. Some Circumstances may require special consideration and the Procedures may not be followed or used in every respect. This Policy and Procedure is unilaterally created by the University and may be changed at the University’s discretion at any time. These procedures shall be construed, modified, supplemented and applied so as to comply with other governmental requirements governing the handling and reporting of misconduct.