Ethical Conduct of Research and Creative Activities

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Ethical Conduct of Research and Creative Activities
Applicability
This policy (this “Policy”) will apply to all instances of alleged unethical conduct of
research, research training, and creative activities within the Texas Christian
University community. For purposes of this document, the term “research” will
mean both research and creative activities.
Introduction
Reported instances of unethical conduct in research occur in only a very small
fraction of the total number of research projects conducted annually. Even so, this
small number of transgressions not only presents a serious threat to the integrity
of the research processes but also undermines the very foundation of a university.
Unethical conduct of research is reprehensible and will not be condoned by
Texas Christian University. Researchers must bear the responsibility for
monitoring and evaluating their procedures and results of research activities under
their supervision. All faculty and students are expected to:
a.
be familiar with and act in accordance with this policy;
b.
adhere to commonly accepted practices and standards governing creative
activities and research; and
c.
report any acts of unethical conduct which are known or are suspected to
have occurred.
Definitions
For the express purposes of this policy, the following definitions will apply:
Unethical Conduct The term “Unethical Conduct” when used here will mean
knowing misrepresentation of data, research procedures, or data analysis;
plagiarism and other improprieties of authorship; violation of Federal, State, or
institutional rules on research involving human subjects, animals , DNA, new
drugs and devices and radioactive materials, or other practices that seriously
deviate from those commonly accepted within the scientific (or other relevant)
community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. Honest error or
honest differences in interpretation or judgments of data do not constitute
unethical conduct.
Inquiry
The term “Inquiry” when used herein will mean the process to determine
whether there is sufficient cause to warrant an Investigation.
Investigation
The term “Investigation” when used herein will mean the formal
examination and evaluation of all relevant facts to determine if unethical
conduct has occurred.
Other Definitions
Other defined terms when used herein will have the meaning assigned to
them in this Policy.
Procedures
Any and all instances of alleged Unethical Conduct in research should be reported
in writing to the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs (the “Associate Provost”). Upon
receipt of a written allegation of Unethical Conduct, an Inquiry will be conducted by the
Associate Provost.
a.
Inquiry:
The Associate Provost will notify the person against whom an
allegation of Unethical Conduct has been brought (the “Accused”) in writing
of his or her intent to initiate an Inquiry into the matter. The purpose of the
Inquiry is to determine whether an Investigation is warranted. The Inquiry
will be completed within 60 days after the receipt by the Associate Provost
of the initial report of the allegations unless circumstances clearly warrant a
longer period. At the conclusion of the Inquiry, a written report (the “Inquiry
Report”) will be prepared that identifies what evidence was reviewed,
summarizes relevant interviews, and stated the conclusions of the Inquiry.
If the Inquiry takes longer than 60 days to complete, the Inquiry Report
shall include documentation of the reasons for exceeding the 60-day
period.
The Associate Provost will issue the Inquiry Report to the Accused
prior to issuing it to any other person. The Accused shall have an
opportunity to make written comments upon the Inquiry Report and to have
such comments accompany the Inquiry Report. The Accused shall submit
such written comments to the Associate Provost within 10 days of his or
her receipt of the Inquiry Report from the Associate Provost.
If after reviewing the comments of the Accused, the Associate
Provost concludes that an investigation is necessary or desirable, an
Investigation shall be conducted. If the Associate Provost concludes an
investigation is not necessary or desirable, the Inquiry shall conclude
Texas Christian University’s proceedings regarding the allegations of
unethical conduct that were made against the accused.
The Inquiry Report, shall be dated and given to the Accused, to that
individual’s academic dean, to the person who made the allegation of
Unethical Conduct (the “Accuser”), and to the Provost and Vice Chancellor
for Academic Affairs. A copy of the Inquiry Report will also be retained in
the Office of the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs. The contents of
the Inquiry Report may not be disclosed by any person other than the
Accused, except as needed to conduct the Investigation, if any, or when
disclosed in accordance with paragraphs (4), (5) or (6) hereof.
b.
Investigation:
If the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs concludes
in the Inquiry Report that an Investigation shall be conducted, the
Investigation will begin within 30 days after the date of the date of the
completed Inquiry Report.
In order to ensure a fair and impartial Investigation, the Associate
Provost for Academic Affairs will appoint an Investigation Panel (the
“Panel”). The Panel will be comprised of the Associate Provost for
Academic Affairs, as Chair of the Panel, and three other members who
may come from within and/or outside the University and who have the
expertise necessary to conduct the Investigation. Precautions will be taken
to avoid real or apparent conflicts of interest on the part of those involved in
the Investigation. The Accused, the Accuser and any other individual(s)
who might have information regarding key aspects of the allegations will be
notified in writing that an Investigation will be conducted and will be
interviewed by the Panel. Complete transcripts of the interviews shall be
prepared and provided to each interviewed party for written comment.
These comments, if any, and the transcripts will then be included as part of
the Investigation file. The Investigation should be completed as
expeditiously as possible and, in any event, within 120 days of the initiation
of the Investigation.
After all interviews have been conducted, the Panel shall submit the
transcripts of all interviews to the Accused for written comment. The
Accused shall have 10 days to submit any comments in writing to the
Panel. Following its review of the Accused’s comments, if any, the Panel
will issue a written investigation report (the “Investigation Report”),
including its conclusions and recommendations to the Provost and Vice
Chancellor for Academic Affairs. The Investigation Report shall include a
determination whether Unethical Conduct has occurred and shall suggest a
suitable sanction if it is concluded that the Accused has committed
Unethical Conduct. The comments of the Accused made in accordance
with this paragraph shall be included in the Investigation Report.
The Accused, the Accuser and the responsible Academic Dean(s)
will receive a copy of the Investigation Report. The results of an
Investigation and the contents of the Investigation Report shall not be
disclosed by any person other than the Accused, in accordance with
paragraphs (4), (5) and (6) hereof.
c.
Sanctions:
In the event of a finding by the Panel that Unethical Conduct
has occurred, the Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs may
follow the recommendations for sanctions in the Investigation Report
and/or impose other sanctions. The Provost shall issue his conclusions in
the form of a written report (the “Provost’s Report”) which shall be provided
to the Panel, the responsible academic deans, the Accused and the
Accuser.
d.
Informing Other Persons or Entities About the Proceedings:
If
required by local, state or federal laws or regulations or by any entity,
person or agency funding the research in question, TCU may at any time
so required, inform the agency, entity or persons it is required to inform, of
the Inquiry, the Investigation, the allegations, and the contents of the
Inquiry Report, the Investigation Report, and the Provost’s Report.
e.
Confidentiality:
No person involved in or who becomes aware of
allegations, the Inquiry or the Investigation shall reveal or discuss any
information regarding the content of or existence of the same to any person
or entity except when (1) the person to whom the information is revealed
has a need to know the information in order to participate in any
proceedings conducted under this Policy or (2) the information is revealed
or discussed in accordance with Paragraphs (4) or (6) hereof.
f.
Disclosure of Investigation Results:
Following the issuance of the
Provost’s Report, and if the Investigation Report concludes that there has
been Unethical Conduct by the Accused, the results of and records of the
Investigation including, without limitation, the Investigation Report and the
Provost’s Report, may be made public and/or disclosed to any person
including funding agencies, collaborating colleagues of the Accused,
institutions, journal editors, professional associations, licensing boards, and
potential employers of the Accused who request employment references
regarding the Accused, unless the Provost and Vice Chancellor of
Academic Affairs prohibits or limits such disclosure in the Provost’s Report.
g.
Protection of the Accuser:
The privacy of an Accuser who reports
apparent Unethical Conduct is good fail shall be protected to the maximum
extent that is consistent with the fair treatment of the Accused. Retaliation
against the Accuser by any person for making allegations of Unethical
Conduct shall be prohibited and will subject a person who retaliates to
disciplinary proceedings by Texas Christian University. If the Inquiry Report
or Investigation Report concludes that there has been no Unethical
Conduct on the part of the Accused, the University may bring a disciplinary
action against the Accuser when there is evidence that the Accuser made
the allegations of Unethical Conduct recklessly or in bad faith.
h.
Restoring the Reputation of the Accused:
If the Inquiry Report and,
when an Investigation is conducted, the Investigation Report conclude that
there has been no Unethical Conduct on the part of the Accused, the
University shall undertake diligent efforts, as appropriate, to attempt to
restore the reputation of the Accused.
i.
Records:
All records of the Inquiry and Investigation shall be kept in the
files of the Office of the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs for a period
of at least three years following the conclusion of the Investigation or of the
Inquiry if there is not Investigation.
j.
Compliance with Other University Rules and Regulations:
Any
proceedings conducted hereunder will be conducted in accordance with the
other rules and regulations of Texas Christian University.
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