Misconduct or scientific misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, reviewing or reporting on research. UMass Lowell’s definition also includes unsafe practices, failure to comply with regulations, misuse of funds, or other activities that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research.
It is the policy of UMass Lowell to require high ethical standards in research; to inquire into and, if necessary, investigate and resolve promptly and fairly all instances of alleged misconduct; and to comply in a timely manner with agency requirements for reporting on cases of possible misconduct when sponsored project funds are involved. UMass Lowell applies the research misconduct policies to all research activities, regardless of funding. To be considered research misconduct, actions must:
- Represent a “significant departure from accepted practices”
- Have been “committee intentionally, or knowingly, or recklessly”
- Be “proven by a preponderance of evidence”
Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion in interpretation or judgments of data. Since a charge of misconduct, even if unjustified, may damage an individual’s reputation and career, any such allegation must be handled in a prudent and confidential manner. An inquiry or investigation must be conducted promptly and expeditiously with full attention given to the rights of all individuals involved.