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Research Integrity

Research Misconduct Definitions

  • Fabrication - making up data or results and recording them in the research record.
  • Falsification - manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.
  • Plagiarism - the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

Other Violations of Research Integrity

  • Abuse of confidentiality
  • Dishonesty in publication
  • Property violations
  • Failure to report observed research misconduct
  • Retaliation
  • Directing or encouraging others to engage in research misconduct or any of the above offenses

See the U-M investigation procedures document for definitions.

Federal Requirements

Federal agencies (e.g., Public Health Service) have published research integrity and/or misconduct regulations that define research misconduct, prescribe time limits for inquiry and investigation, and require reporting to the agencies under certain conditions and process stages. 

The university complies with the federal regulations, as applicable, and follows SPG 303.03 regardless of the presence or absence of external funding/sponsorship of a specific research project.

Key components of U-M’s Research Integrity Program include advising the research community to conduct research responsibly and investigating allegations of research misconduct. 

The University of Michigan's Integrity of Scholarship and Research policy outlines the ethical expectations for, and responsibilities of, its academic and research communities and identifies the general principles for investigating research misconduct allegations.  The full policy is located in the Standard Practice Guide (SPG) 303.03.

Integrity of Scholarship and Research Overview

Value Statement

Integrity in scholarship and teaching is a fundamental value upon which the University is founded.  Without integrity, we could not justify the privilege of academic freedom intrinsic to scholarship and education, nor could we provide to society the advancements of knowledge that derive from free and open inquiry.

What is research integrity?

According to the National Institutes of Health, research integrity includes the use of honest and verifiable methods in proposing, performing, and evaluating research; reporting research results with particular attention to adherence to rules, regulations, and guidelines; and following commonly accepted professional codes or norms.

Responsibility of the Academic Community

It is a fundamental responsibility of U-M faculty, staff, students, and administration to maintain the trust of the public in all research and scholarly activity and to preserve the university's reputation for high standards of scholarly integrity.  It is our shared responsibility to:

  • Report suspected academic and research misconduct, and
  • Assure that academic and research misconduct is dealt with in a timely and effective manner.

Research Misconduct Process

Allegations of misconduct should be reported confidentially to the University's Research Integrity Officer (RIO) in the Office of the Vice President for Research or through the University's Compliance Hotline.  Allegations received by the Office of General Counsel or other administrative units (e.g., chancellors, deans, directors, or department chairs) will be directed to the U-M RIO.

U-M's detailed misconduct procedures safeguard the rights of the accused and the complainant (if one is identified) while recognizing the university community's interest in research integrity. The procedures cover four main steps:

  1. Initial assessment to determine if the allegation meets the definition of research misconduct
  2. If #1 is yes, an inquiry to determine if a full research misconduct investigation is warranted
  3. If warranted, an investigation occurs to collect and thoroughly examine evidence
  4. Resolution and outcome

If a misconduct determination is made, the resolution and outcome depend upon the kind of appointment the accused holds and on the seriousness of the sanction recommend.

References and Resources

Guidance & Resources


Jacqueline Jeruss
U-M Research Integrity Officer