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FORMAL INVESTIGATION

 

If the President concurs with the Inquiry Board’s report, appropriate action will be taken. If an investigation is warranted, the President shall notify the funding agency, if any, that an investigation is underway to determine if scientific misconduct has occurred. The University shall keep the funding agency apprised of any developments during the course of the investigation, including the status of current funds designated for use by the respondent.

 

1. The Research Integrity Misconduct Policy Officer will ensure that during an investigation, interim administrative actions are taken to protect Federal funds and the public health so that the purposes of Federal assistance are carried out.

 

2. The Office of Research Integrity will be informed that an investigation will be initiated on or before the date the investigation begins.

 

The President shall appoint an Investigating Committee consisting of no more than 5 persons including as least 1 member of the Committee on Scientific Misconduct and 1 individual who is not affiliated with the University. The Investigating Committee should contain individuals with sufficient expertise and dedication to conduct a thorough investigation. Precautions should be taken to avoid real or apparent conflicts of interests on the part of those involved in the inquiry or investigation. University Legal Counsel shall advise the Investigating Committee. The investigation is to be initiated within 30 days of the completion of the inquiry into allegations.

 

The respondent along with the complainant shall be notified immediately that a formal investigation will occur. The University, the respondent, and the complainant may each be represented by counsel during the investigation, if desired. The investigation must be timely and thorough and provide the respondent with an opportunity to respond fully to the allegations. Although interviews during the investigation shall be conducted in non-adversarial manner, the interviews shall be fully recorded by tape recorder or court reporter unless the Investigating Committee is otherwise advised by legal counsel. Each participant shall have an opportunity to review the transcript from his/her interview. The record of the interviews will become a part of the investigatory file.

 

Private and separate sessions will be conducted to hear the respondent, the accuser, and others as deemed necessary by the Investigating Committee. All relevant evidence that is produced shall be reviewed and secured. Necessary support (e.g., clerical, gathering information, witnesses, organization, security, record keeping, and confidentiality) will be arranged by the Misconduct Policy Officer, who shall serve as an ex officio member (without vote) of the Investigating Committee.

 

The formal investigation shall be completed within 120 days after the completion of the informal inquiry. This includes conducing the investigation, preparing the report of findings, making the report available for comment, and submitting the report to the funding agency. The Investigating Committee will provide a written report of its findings, conclusions, and recommendation, together with all pertinent documentation and evidence to the President along with a copy to the Committee on Scientific Misconduct. The investigation may result in various outcomes, including:

 

1. A finding of misconduct;

 

2. A finding that no culpable conduct was committed, but serious scientific errors were discovered;

 

3. A finding that no fraud, misconduct or serious scientific error was committed.

 

The Investigating Committee’s report shall set forth the nature of any violation, the severity of the infraction, and the effect of the violation on the particular research project as well as any other research being conducted at this University. The final report must describe the policies and procedures under which the investigation was conducted, how and from whom information was obtained relevant to the investigation, the findings and basis for the findings, and include the actual text or an accurate summary of the views of any individual(s) found to have engaged in misconduct, as well as a description of any sanctions or corrective measures recommended to be taken. Specifically, the report shall recommend whether corrective measures for information erroneously published or submitted for publication, such as letters of retraction or withdrawal of manuscripts from the publisher are warranted. Each member of the Investigating Committee shall sign the report or submit a signed dissenting report.

 

If the Investigating Committee determines that it will not be able to complete the investigation within 120 days, it must submit to the President a written request for an extension and an explanation for the delay that includes an interim report on the progress to date and an estimate for the date of completion of the report and other necessary steps. The request for an extension beyond 120 days will be submitted to the Office of Research Integrity. This request will include an explanation of the request for an extension of time, an interim progress report, an outline of remaining activities and a projection of the completion date.

 

In the event that Howard University through the Committee on Scientific Misconduct elects to terminate an investigation, the Research Integrity Misconduct Policy Officer will advise the ORI of the planned termination. These reasons for this termination will be specified in the communication. The Committee on Scientific Misconduct will be responsive to the Office of Research Integrity review and advice regarding early termination.

 

If misconduct is confirmed, the President, upon the recommendation of the Committee on Scientific Misconduct and the appropriate Vice President(s) or Provost, shall impose appropriate sanctions against the respondent. THE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES SET FORTH IN THIS DOCUMENT SHALL SUPERSEDE SIMILAR POLICIES PROVIDED IN THE HOWARD UNIVERSITY FACULTY HANDBOOK, EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK (NON-FACULTY), AND THE STUDENT JUDICIARY CODE OF CONDUCT WITH REGARD TO ALLEGATIONS OF SCIENTIFIC MISCONDUCT AND/OR FRAUD. Upon receipt of an unfavorable report and recommendation from the Committee on Scientific Misconduct, but prior to a final determination by the President of the University, the respondent may petition the Committee for reconsideration of those findings and conclusions. The respondent must petition the Committee in writing no later than 10 calendar days after receipt of the Committee’s report. Upon the conclusion of this process, The Committee’s report shall be forwarded to the President for consideration. The decision of the President shall be final1. The Committee’s report and President’s decision will be filed with the funding agency detailing the University’s response to the allegation of scientific misconduct.

 

If misconduct is not substantiated, the Committee’s report shall so state and the University shall make diligent efforts to restore the reputation of the respondent. No disciplinary measures should be taken against the complainant and every effort should be made to prevent retaliatory action against the complainant if the allegations, however incorrect, are found to have been made in good faith. If the allegations are found to have been maliciously motivated, disciplinary actions may be taken against those responsible.

 



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