Inquiry Process and Report

A.        Inquiry Process

1.         The inquiry committee will normally interview the complainant, the respondent, and key witnesses and will examine relevant research records and materials. The committee should keep general minutes of its meetings and should, as a general rule, prepare written summaries of testimony from witnesses. The inquiry committee will then evaluate the evidence, including the testimony obtained during the inquiry. After consultation with the RIO, the committee members will decide whether an investigation is warranted based on the criteria in this policy and, if appropriate, any applicable regulations. The scope of the inquiry is not required to and does not normally include deciding whether misconduct definitely occurred or conducting exhaustive interviews and analyses.

2.         The inquiry, including preparation of the final inquiry report and the decision of the Provost on whether an investigation is warranted, should generally be completed within 60 calendar days of initiation of the inquiry, unless the committee requests and the RIO determines that circumstances clearly warrant a longer period. If the RIO approves an extension, the record of the inquiry should include documentation of the reasons for exceeding the 60-day period.

B.        The Inquiry Report, Decision of Provost, and Required Notifications

1.         The inquiry committee will prepare a written report for submission to the RIO, that includes:  (a) the name and position of the respondent; (b) a description of the allegations of research misconduct; (c) the source of funding for the research, including, for example, grant numbers, grant applications, contracts and publications listing such support; (d) a description of the general procedures under which the inquiry was conducted, including reference to these procedures as well as any federal regulations governing the conduct of the inquiry;  (e) a statement of the relevant evidence assembled and preliminarily reviewed by the committee; and (f) a statement of the conclusion of the committee as to whether the allegation appears to have substance and the information supporting that conclusion. The inquiry report should be written in a form which, if accepted, may serve as an appropriate institutional statement of reasons for further institutional action, including commencement of an investigation or dismissal of the allegations.

2.         The RIO shall notify the respondent whether the inquiry found an investigation to be warranted, and will provide the respondent with a copy of the draft inquiry report. The respondent will be asked to provide any comments on the report to the RIO and committee chair within seven (7) calendar days. The RIO will determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether the report or relevant portions thereof should also be provided to the complainant for comment within seven (7) days. The committee will decide whether, in view of any comments received, any revisions to the report are warranted and will then provide the final report to the RIO.

3.         The RIO will provide the final report as well as any comments submitted by the respondent to the Provost. The Provost, in consultation with the RIO, will decide whether to accept, reject, or modify the report of the committee and will determine in writing whether an investigation is warranted. The Provost will provide written notification of his or her final decision to the respondent.

4.         Within thirty (30) calendar days of the Provost’s decision that an investigation is warranted, the RIO will provide the appropriate funding agency with the Provost’s written decision and a copy of the inquiry report.

5.         If the Provost decides that an investigation is not warranted, the RIO shall secure and maintain for seven (7) years after the termination of the inquiry sufficiently detailed documentation of the inquiry to permit a later assessment by the appropriate funding agency of the reasons why an investigation was not conducted. These documents must be provided to a federal agency upon request.