observing regulations governing research, failure to report misconduct, or retaliation against individuals who report misconduct to the list of behaviors that are considered misconduct. In addition, the National Science Foundation has retained a clause in its misconduct policies that includes behaviors that seriously deviate from commonly accepted research practices as possible misconduct.

A crucial distinction between falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism (sometimes called FFP) and error or negligence is the intent to deceive. When researchers intentionally deceive their colleagues by falsifying information, fabricating research results, or using others’ words and ideas without giving credit, they are violating fundamental research standards and basic societal values. These actions are seen as

Fabrication in a Grant Proposal

Vijay, who has just finished his first year of graduate school, is applying to the National Science Foundation for a predoctoral fellowship. His work in a lab where he did a rotation project was later carried on successfully by others, and it appears that a manuscript will be prepared for publication by the end of the summer. However, the fellowship application deadline is June 1, and Vijay decides it would be advantageous to list a publication as “submitted” rather than “in progress.” Without consulting the faculty member or other colleagues involved, Vijay makes up a title and author list for a “submitted” paper and cites it in his application.

After the application has been mailed, a lab member sees it and goes to the faculty member to ask about the “submitted” manuscript. Vijay admits to fabricating the submission of the paper but explains his actions by saying that he thought the practice was not uncommon in science. The faculty members in Vijay’s department demand that he withdraw his grant proposal and dismiss him from the graduate program.

  1. Do you think that researchers often exaggerate the publication status of their work in written materials?

  2. Do you think the department acted too harshly in dismissing Vijay from the graduate program?

  3. If Vijay later applied to a graduate program at another institution, does that institution have the right to know what happened?

  4. What were Vijay’s adviser’s responsibilities in reviewing the application before it was submitted?

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement