Research Integrity Officer
The highest standards of honesty, integrity and ethical behavior are expected of all personnel involved in research and scholarly activities at Mississippi State University. Maintenance of public trust in these standards is the shared responsibility of every member of the university family.
What is Research Misconduct?
Misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or other serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing, carrying out, or reporting results from research or other scholarly activities.
Fabrication is the making up of data or results and recording or reporting them.
Falsification involves the manipulating of research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results in a way that research is not accurately represented.
Plagiarism is using another person’s ideas, processes, results or words without giving proper credit.
Misconduct does not include honest errors and ambiguities of interpretation.
Abuse of Confidentiality
- The misuse of information, ideas or data which were obtained through means where a reasonable expectation of confidentiality existed.
- Intentional, repeated violation of regulations: failure to comply with applicable federal, state and institutional requirements for protection of human subjects, the environment, the public, or for ensuring the welfare of laboratory animals. Also, failure to comply with other applicable legal requirements governing research or other scholarly activities.
Violation of Research property
- Destroying or stealing research property belonging to other researchers. Includes destruction of research papers, equipment, lab notebooks, etc.
- Any other serious deviation from accepted ethical research standards and practices.
- Taking punitive action against anyone involved in the reporting of research misconduct.
Reporting a Concern
Anyone having reason to believe that a member of the faculty, staff, or student body has engaged in misconduct in research or other scholarly activity should consult informally in person with the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) in the Office of Research and Economic Development.
Concerns can also be reported through the MSU Ethics Line.
It is expected that all matters relating to allegations, inquiries, and investigations will be kept confidential to the utmost degree possible.
Research Misconduct Process
Allegations of research misconduct have serious consequences and the review process is designed to protect the interests of all those involved. Each allegation is thoroughly reviewed and follows the following general procedures:
- Initial review by the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) - During this process, the RIO will review available information to determine if the allegation meets the criteria for research misconduct.
- Board of Inquiry – Allegations that are determined to fit the criteria for research misconduct will be referred to a Board of Inquiry to determine whether a full investigation of the allegation is required.
- Board of Investigation – Upon the recommendation of the Board of Inquiry, a full investigation will be conducted.
- Determination and Resolution – The Vice President for Research will issue a final decision and take appropriate disciplinary action, if necessary.
In some instances, the seriousness of the allegation may be such that interim administrative action must be taken prior to completion of the inquiry. This action will be taken only when there is a possibility of additional damage from continued activity and in no way should be considered in any deliberation as to the guilt of the respondent.
It is expected that all matters relating to allegations, inquiries, and investigations will be kept confidential to the utmost degree possible. Confidential information, including the names of the respondent(s) and complainant(s), will be disclosed on a need-to-know basis to ensure a thorough, objective, and fair investigation of research misconduct. Unauthorized dissemination of information relating to the allegations of misconduct by any party involved can form the basis for a finding of misconduct subject to disciplinary action.