Carnegie Mellon University

Research Misconduct

Carnegie Mellon University is responsible for the integrity of research conducted at the university.  As a community of scholars, in which truth and integrity are fundamental, the university must establish procedures for the investigation of allegations of misconduct of research with due care to protect the rights of those accused, those making the allegations, and Carnegie Mellon University.  Furthermore, federal regulations require the university to have explicit procedures for addressing incidents in which there are allegations of misconduct in research.

Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.

  • Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
  • 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 appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

A finding of research misconduct requires that:

  • There be a significant departure from accepted scientific practices of the relevant research community; and
  • The misconduct be committed intentionally, or knowingly, or recklessly of accepted practices; and
  • The allegation be proven by a preponderance of evidence

Funding agencies and research institutions are partners who share responsibility for the research process. Federal agencies have ultimate oversight authority for federally funded research, but research institutions bear primary responsibility for prevention and detection of research misconduct, and for the inquiry, investigation, and adjudication of research misconduct alleged to have occurred in association with their own institution.  CMU has a formal process for handling allegations of research misconduct (to be posted here soon).

This article Uncovering misconduct [PDF], provides some insight to the issues related to reporting misconduct.