These assurances and procedures implement James Madison's Policy on Misconduct in Research and other scholarly work. This policy applies to all faculty and administrative staff in the performance of scholarly and creative activity and research conducted at JMU whether performed under external or internal funding. It meets the certification and requirement guidelines of Section 493 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act as well as other Federal and State agencies and private foundations. James Madison University expects that the highest ethical standards as well as compliance with public laws and regulations will prevail in the conduct of its activities.
It is understood that the inherent requirement for integrity in the quest for knowledge and in the creation of scholarly and artistic works is fundamental to the academic purpose. It is the policy of James Madison University to maintain high ethical standards in research and other scholarly work, to prevent misconduct and to promptly and fairly evaluate and resolve instances of alleged or apparent misconduct. Nothing in this policy should be construed as being intended to in any way restrict academic freedom. To the contrary the University strongly encourages and supports research and scholarly activity.
James Madison University will provide vigorous leadership and will take immediate action into any allegation or other evidence of possible misconduct.
All parties will be treated with justice and fairness and JMU will be sensitive to the reputations and vulnerabilities of all parties.
The University will document all pertinent facts at each stage of the response to the allegation.
The University will protect to the maximum extent possible, commensurate with protecting the rights of the accused, the privacy or those who in good faith report apparent misconduct.
James Madison University will afford the affected individual confidential treatment to the maximum extent possible, a prompt and thorough investigation, and an opportunity to comment on allegations and findings of the inquiry and/or the investigation.
The process pursued to resolve allegations of misconduct will not damage research itself.
The University will conclude its responsibilities to the charge after resolving allegations of misconduct internally to all involved individuals; and externally to the public, the sponsors of research, the research literature, and the research community.
The procedures listed below preserve the highest attainable degree of confidentiality compatible with an effective and efficient response to the allegation.
"Act" means the Public Health Service Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 201 et. seq.).
"Days" shall mean calendar days, excluding Saturday, Sunday and such other days as the University is officially closed.
"Institution" means James Madison University. James Madison University assumes legal and financial accountability for the awarded funds and for the performance of the supporting activities.
"Inquiry" means information gathering and initial fact finding to determine whether an allegation or apparent instance of misconduct warrants an investigation.
"Investigation" means the formal examination and evaluation of all relevant facts to determine if misconduct has occurred.
"Mischievous Allegation" is one that is made knowing it to be false, or made with a reckless disregard for the truth.
"Misconduct" or "Misconduct in Science" means fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.
"PHS" means the Public Health Service.
"OSI" means the Office of Scientific Integrity which is established in the Office of the Director, National Institute of Health (NIH) to oversee the implementation of all PHS policies and procedures related to scientific misconduct.
"Secretary" means the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).
ALLEGATIONS OF MISCONDUCT
James Madison University has a responsibility to pursue an allegation of research misconduct fully and to resolve questions regarding the integrity of research. The purpose of the evaluation of an allegation is to determine whether or not there is or is not substantial basis to believe that scholarly misconduct has occurred, and whether formal discharge proceeding or other action with respect to the individual's employment is warranted. In its responsibility the University will focus on the substance of the issues and be vigilant not to permit personal conflicts between colleagues to obscure the facts.
The names of the complainant as well as the respondent will be held in strictest confidence and will be only released to those who must know. However, the respondent has the right to know the name of the complainant.
Allegations of misconduct in scholarly work may come from various sources within or outside the University.
No one shall be deemed to have engaged in such misconduct unless it is determined by a preponderance of all relevant evidence that the conduct in question was done intentionally and with a desire to deceive.
The individual accused of research misconduct shall be entitled to be represented by legal counsel (at his/her own expense) in all meetings relating to the alleged misconduct.
If the accused is found innocent of misconduct, the University will be responsible for the accused individuals reasonable legal expenses. Also, should the complainant be found to be a mischievous allegation, the complainant may be held responsible for the accused's legal costs.
All allegations of misconduct will be evaluated first by an inquiry, and then, if the inquiry so indicates, by an investigation. The inquiry is not a formal hearing; it is designed to separate allegations deserving of further investigation from frivolous, unjustified, or clearly mistaken allegations.
The accused will be notified when an inquiry into an allegation of misconduct is being initiated and again if an investigation is being initiated.
A. Initiation of an Inquiry
An allegation of scholarly misconduct to be considered must be made in writing and delivered to the Vice President, University Relations and External Programs. It must be signed. Any person making an allegation must also agree to support it when requested before University officials and such committees as may be appointed under these procedures. If the Vice President of University Relations and External Programs has a conflict of interest with a case, the allegation will be pursued by another administrator.
B. Notification to the Respondent
1. Upon initiation of an inquiry, the Vice President, University Relations and External Programs will notify the respondent in writing of the existence and nature of the complaint and the process that will follow. The respondent will be informed of the proposed membership of the committee of inquiry for the purpose of identifying in advance any real or potential conflict of interest and the project will be deferred until the allegation is resolved.
2. The respondent will be given copies of written documents (if any) that support the allegations.
3. The respondent will be invited to present a written response to the allegations; this response will become a part of the case file maintained by the office of the Vice President, University Relations and External Programs.
Due to the sensitive nature of an alleged case of research misconduct, the University will strive to resolve each case expeditiously. The inquiry phase will normally be completed and a written report of the findings filed by the institution's own record within 60 days of initiation. If the committee anticipates that the established deadline cannot be met, a report, citing the reasons for the delay and progress to date, will be filed with the Vice President of University Relations and External Programs and the respondent and appropriately involved individuals will be informed.
D. The Inquiry
The inquiry process will be handled with the establishment of a formal committee by the Vice President, University Relations and External Programs. The Vice President is not required to form or convene a committee to take action on a complaint which in his/her judgment is frivolous, unreasonably vague, or known to be otherwise improper. If it appears that the allegation is a proper written and signed document and indicates serious scholarly misconduct the Vice President, University Relations and External Programs shall appoint a Committee of Inquiry.
1. The Membership of the committee will be specifically chosen to evaluate the particular allegations under consideration. These individuals will not have a real or apparent conflict of interest in the case in question, be unbiased, and have an appropriate background for judging the issues being raised. They are to be tenured faculty with no appointment in the departments of either the complainant or the respondent.
2. The Committee shall consider the allegation and conduct a preliminary formal review to determine if there is a reasonable and sufficient basis to warrant a full and more lengthy formal review. The manner of inquiry committee shall proceed in the fashion the Committee believes best serves to reach an initial informed assessment of the probability of the truth, accuracy, error, or falsity of the allegations. It rests in the judgment of the Committee when, and in what manner, it will receive submissions or interview the accused faculty member and the accusing party. The committee of inquiry shall arrive at a judgment as expeditiously as possible.
3. All parties to the case, including the inquiry committee itself, shall have the opportunity to present evidence, to call witnesses, and to examine or cross-examine them.
4. Information, expert opinions, records, and other pertinent data may be requested by the committee.
5. All parties have the right to the assistance of legal counsel; however, as the inquiry is informal and intended to be expeditious, principal parties shall speak for themselves, with counsel, if any, assuming an advisory role to his client.
6. To ensure the safety and security of any written documents associated with the allegation, committee members will be asked to review such documents within the Office of Sponsored Programs (if any) exist. Such documents shall remain in the office at all times.
7. The Committee may keep confidential notes of its inquiry as it believes are reasonable to document its activities and findings.
8. The Committee shall prepare for the Vice President, University Relations and External Programs a confidential written report of its preliminary findings. The written report will state what evidence was reviewed, summarize relevant interviews, and include the conclusions of the inquiry. The report shall also contain a recommendation for any further action. The recommendations shall be as follows:
a. If a majority of the Committee determine that upon the information available to them it is reasonable to believe that an act of academic misconduct may have occurred, then the Committee shall recommend that a full investigation be conducted.
b. If the Committee determines that it is not reasonable to believe an act of academic misconduct has occurred, it shall so inform the Vice President, University Relations and External Programs and also determine whether the allegation was mischievously made.
c. If an allegation is found to be unjustified and to have been maliciously motivated, a recommendation for disciplinary action against the person or persons making the allegation shall be made. See Section A under Institutional Action.
d. If an allegation is found to be unjustified but has been submitted in good faith, no further formal action other than informing all involved parties shall be recommended.
9. The proceedings of the inquiry, including the identity of the respondent, will be held in strict confidence to protect the parties involved. Protection will be provided also to the maximum extent possible, the privacy of those who in good faith report apparent misconduct.
E. Notification of Findings From the Inquiry.
1. The respondent shall be given a copy of the report of inquiry. If he or she comments on that report, those comments will be made part of the record.
2. The complainant will be informed by the Vice President, University Relations and External Programs of the outcome of the inquiry.
a. Finding of no misconduct
If the inquiry outcome does not find misconduct, all involved parties shall be so notified by the Vice President, University Relations and External Programs and efforts will be made to be sure individuals are cleared of unsupported allegations.
The documentation of inquiry will be maintained in a secure manner for a period of at least 3 years after the termination of the inquiry to permit a later assessment of the reasons for determining that an investigation was not warranted, if necessary.
b. Finding of misconduct for externally funded projects
1. The Director of the OSI will be notified in writing on or before the date the investigation begins when on the basis of the initial inquiry, the institution determines that an investigation is warranted for any externally funded projects.
2. Any agency sponsoring the research will be notified of a pending investigation.
3. The OSI and/or other appropriate authorities will be notified within 24 hours if there is any reasonable indication of possible criminal violations.
4. Allegations found to require investigation will be forwarded to the investigative body with the procedures outlined below.
The purpose of the investigating committee is to undertake a thorough analysis of the allegation and to obtain all reasonable available information which it believes relevant to the charges. It is expected that the investigation should be completed within 120 days of its initiation.
1. The Vice President, University Relations and External Programs shall, within 30 calendar days of the reporting by a committee of inquiry of the need for investigation, appoint an investigating committee of senior faculty who are without conflict of interest, hold no appointment in the departments of either the complainant or the respondent, and have appropriate expertise for evaluating the information relevant to the case.
2. The committee may hold hearings and has the authority, responsibility and resources to collect and consider all of the evidence relevant to the allegation.
3. It may obtain expert opinions, if necessary, to reach firm conclusions and may seek the advice of external experts if that is required to avoid conflicts of interest.
4. The investigation must be thorough. It must obtain sufficient evidence to permit the committee to reach a firm decision about the validity of the allegation, or to be sure that further investigation could not alter an inconclusive result.
5. If in the course of the investigation, additional information may emerge that may justify broadening the scope of the investigation beyond the initial allegations, the respondent is to be informed in writing of significant new directions in the investigation.
6. If, during the investigation the University believes it necessary to act to protect the health and safety of research subjects, patients, and students, such administrative action will be taken.
7. Copies of all materials secured by the committee shall be provided to the respondent and other concerned parties as judged appropriate by the committee.
8. The respondent shall have an opportunity to address the charges and evidence in detail. The respondent may be accompanied by and confer with legal counsel at hearings, but is expected to speak for him/herself.
9. Hearings will be confidential and may be declared closed by request of any of the principals. Written notification of hearing dates and copies of all relevant documents will be provided by the Vice President, University Relations and External Programs in advance of scheduled meetings. A record of the proceedings will be made, and a transcript prepared upon request and made available to involved parties.
10. After all evidence has been reviewed and hearings completed, the investigating committee shall meet in closed sessions to deliberate and prepare its findings and recommendations.
11. If the investigation cannot be completed in 120 days, the committee should compile a progress report, identify reasons for the delay, and request an extension from the Vice President, University Relations and External Programs.
12. The committee will submit to the Vice President, University Relationss and External Programs a full report that details the committee's findings and recommendations. The report of the committee is advisory.
G. Notification of Findings of the Investigation
1. The Vice President, University Relations and External Programs will send the report to the respondent. The respondent may comment in writing upon the report.
2. The OSI will be notified of the final outcome of the investigation when appropriate.
A. Absence of Fraud or Serious Misconduct
1. All research sponsors and others initially informed of the investigation will be informed in writing that allegations of fraud were not supported.
2. In publicizing the finding of no fraud, the institution will determine whether public announcements will be harmful or beneficial in restoring any reputations that may have been lost. Usually, this decision will rest with the person who was innocently accused.
3. If the allegations are deemed to have been maliciously motivated, appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken against the complainant.
4. If the allegations are found to be unjustified but were submitted in good faith, no further formal action will be taken.
B. Presence of Fraud or Serious Misconduct
1. The Vice President, University Relations and External Programs will notify all federal agencies, sponsors, or other entities initially informed of the investigation of the finding of fraud.
2. If, upon consideration of the report of the Committee of Investigation, it is believed that an act of scholarly misconduct is supported by a preponderance of the credible evidence, then disciplinary and/or administrative action consistent with the faculty member's contract and University rules and regulations will be initiated.
THE RIGHT TO APPEAL
1. Individuals may appeal the judgment of the investigating committee and/or the sanction.
2. A written statement of the grounds for the appeal must be submitted to the president of the institution within 30 days of written notification of the results of the investigation. Grounds for appeal may include, but are not limited to:
a. New previously unconsidered evidence;
b. Sanctions not in keeping with the findings;
c. Conflict of interest not previously known among those involved in the investigation; and
d. Lapses of due process.
3. Upon receipt of a written appeal, the president will evaluate the evidence and make a determination. He may reopen the investigation. The president's decision will be binding on all parties and will be conveyed to all involved in a timely fashion.
4. In the case of termination, the president's decision may be appealed as provided for under the faculty member's contract and Manual of Policies and Procedures.