Most allegations of research misconduct are not substantiated. Nevertheless, respondents should take such allegations seriously because they can have a negative effect on their research career. When accused of research misconduct, a respondent should
- review the PHS Policies on Research Misconduct - 42 C.F.R. 93,
- review the institution’s policies on responding to research misconduct,
- gather documentation and identify witnesses,
- consider whether an advisor, expert, or counsel is needed,
- avoid actions which are or could be perceived as, retaliatory against the whistleblower,
- and maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings.
In responding to an allegation, an institution must provide
- notification of receipt of an allegation
- confidential treatment to the maximum extent possible,
- an opportunity to comment on allegations and findings,
- a copy of the inquiry report for comment,
- notification whether an investigation will be initiated,
- a prompt, fair, objective, thorough and competent investigation,
- a copy of the investigation report for comment,
- access to the evidence on which the report is based,
- and a diligent effort, as appropriate, to restore the reputation of the respondent if the allegation is not confirmed.
After reviewing the investigative report submitted by the institution, ORI may make a PHS research misconduct findings and recommend the imposition of PHS administrative actions. The respondent may appeal the PHS finding and administrative actions to the HHS Departmental Appeals Board where the appeal will be heard by an Administrative Law Judge.