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Handbook of Operating Procedures

Research Misconduct

Policy Number: 202


Research misconduct


All individuals at the University engaged in research

Date Reviewed:
January 2018
Responsible Office:
Office of the Executive Vice President & Chief Academic Officer
Responsible Executive:
Executive Vice President & Chief Academic Officer


The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (“University”) strives to create a research climate that promotes faithful adherence to high ethical standards in the conduct of research. Research misconduct is an offense that damages not only the reputations of those involved and the University but also the reputation of the entire academic community.

Research misconduct includes fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing or conducting research, reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Research misconduct does not include honest errors or differences in interpretations or judgments of data. The University relies heavily on a sample policy published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity (ORI) entitled “Sample Policy and Procedures for Responding to Allegations of Research Misconduct;” this sample policy complies with the PHS Policies on Research Misconduct (42 CFR Part 93) that became effective June 16, 2005.

This policy applies to all individuals at the University who are engaged in research.  This includes any person paid by, under the control of, or affiliated with the University, such as scientists, trainees, technicians and other staff members, students, fellows, residents, visiting scientists and guest researchers at the University.

To maintain the integrity of research projects, every person engaged in research must keep adequate records of all experimental protocols, data, and findings for the time period required by the University’s Records Retention Schedule or the funding agency, whichever is longer.

Any inquiry or investigation of allegations of misconduct in research will proceed promptly and with due regard for the reputation and rights of all individuals involved. The University will take all reasonable steps to assure that 1) persons involved in the evaluation of the allegations and evidence have appropriate expertise, 2) no person involved in the evaluation is either biased against the accused person(s) or has a conflict of interest, and 3) affected individuals receive confidential treatment to the maximum extent possible.


Fabrication: making up data or results and recording or reporting  such fabricated data and results.

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.

Some allegations of plagiarism involve disputes among individuals who contributed to the development or conduct of a research project but subsequently disagree on the appropriate credit and/or recognition.  Examples include whether an individual(s) should be a co-author or merely receive an acknowledgement, whether an individual(s) should share ownership of intellectual property, whether an individual may subsequently make independent use of ideas and results of the research, etc.  The University considers such disagreements to be authorship or credit disputes rather than plagiarism, and this statement of policy and related procedures do not apply in such cases.


The University has adopted specific procedures and guidelines for handling allegations of research misconduct as described in the attached “Appendix A: Guidelines and Procedures for Allegations of Research Misconduct.”


    • Office of the Executive Vice President & Chief Academic Officer
    • 713-500-3082