Introduction

A. General Policy Considerations

1. Boston University is committed to the highest possible standards of integrity in research. This commitment is fundamental to the University’s mission in fostering the pursuit of truth and the expansion of knowledge. The administration, faculty, students, and staff of the University share in the responsibility for preserving the integrity of research. All members of the University community are responsible for promoting the highest ethical principles in each academic discipline and for holding members of the community accountable to these principles.

2. The consequences of misconduct in research may include not only damage to individual careers but also the erosion of public confidence in the integrity of scholarship and research at the University, and in the academic community and society generally. Similarly, false or inaccurate allegations of misconduct in research not made in good faith may injure the reputation of scholars, researchers, and the institution. It is important that there be appropriate University procedures by which allegations of misconduct in research may be fairly and thoroughly aired, both to expose and correct misconduct and to protect the researcher against false charges.

3. Boston University adopts the following procedures with the goals of protecting all researchers and other individuals against false and injurious allegations, protecting from reprisal individuals who in good faith wish to bring forward evidence of improper conduct, ensuring that all allegations of research misconduct will be reviewed fairly and accurately, and ensuring that scholarship and research performed under the auspices of Boston University meet the standards of academic integrity and truth expected by the academic community.

B. Scope

This statement of policy and procedures has two purposes: First, it is intended to carry out Boston University’s federally mandated responsibilities under the Public Health Service (PHS) Policies on Research Misconduct, 42 CFR Part 93, as well as the University’s responsibilities under regulations issued by other funding sources, for example, the NSF at 45 CFR 689. In such cases, the requirements of this policy as well as any additional regulatory requirements must be followed.

Second, this policy normally will be used, at the discretion of either Provost, to respond to any allegation of research misconduct in the form of falsification or fabrication committed by any individuals at Boston University, regardless of funding source. It also may be used to respond to allegations of research misconduct in the form of plagiarism. In all such cases, the University may modify the requirements of this policy as it deems appropriate, given the facts and circumstances of the particular case. Nothing in this policy limits the University’s ability to investigate all matters of concern in the conduct of research, even if the matter is not within the definition of research misconduct set forth in this policy.

In both instances, research misconduct is understood to mean acts of fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results when these acts involve a person who, at the time of the alleged research misconduct, was employed by, was an agent of, or was affiliated by contract or agreement with Boston University.

When these procedures are being used to carry out Boston University’s responsibilities under the PHS regulations, they apply only in the following situations:

  1. PHS-supported biomedical or behavioral research, research training or activities related to that research or research training, such as the operation of tissue and data banks and the dissemination of research information;
  2. applications or proposals for PHS support for biomedical or behavioral research, research training or activities related to that research or research training; or
  3. plagiarism of research records produced in the course of PHS-supported research, research training, or activities related to that research or research training. This includes any research proposed, performed, reviewed, or reported, or any research record generated from that research, regardless of whether an application or proposal for PHS funds resulted in a grant, contract, cooperative agreement, or other form of PHS support.

Further, these procedures apply only to research misconduct alleged to have occurred within six (6) years of the date the University receives an allegation, except to the extent the respondent continues or renews any incident of alleged research misconduct that occurred before the six-year limitation (for example, through citation, republication, or reuse of the research record), or if it is determined that the alleged misconduct could have a substantial adverse effect on the health or safety of the public.

This statement of policy and procedures does not apply to (a) authorship or credit disputes; (b) conduct which deviates from institutional or governmental standards to protect the safety and well-being of human subjects, animals, or the laboratory work environment; (c) scholarship or research performed by a student for academic credit while not working on a project funded by a federal research sponsor and not otherwise engaged to perform services for the University; or (d) misuse of funds dedicated to support research or scholarship.

Information on how such claims are investigated.