biguity remains as to whether an individual accused of misconduct in science is entitled to a full disciplinary hearing for penalties or disciplinary sanctions that may be mild, such as a letter of reprimand or mandatory supervision.

TABLE 5.1 Types of Local Institutional Actions Resulting from Misconduct Investigations, March 1989 to December 1990

Penalty or Action

Number of Cases

Issued letter of reprimand


Terminated research support (i.e., would not allow subject to continue as principal investigator)


Required review of future applications for research support


Informed future prospective employers of findings


Required correction of literature or withdrawal of manuscripts


Denied or revoked tenure


Dismissed subject or requested retirement


Accepted voluntary retirement


a Includes dismissal of an NIH intramural scientist.

SOURCE: Department of Health and Human Services (1991b).

The types of institutional actions taken in response to misconduct investigations reviewed by the DHHS's OSIR are given in Table 5.1.

Findings, Discussion, and Conclusions

Government agencies, congressional oversight committees, and academic institutions generally agree that the primary responsibility for handling complaints of misconduct in science rests with the research organization. However, the development and implementation of policies and procedures for handling misconduct in science have been problematic. Some universities, particularly small research institutions, are not prepared to accept responsibility for pursuing allegations of misconduct in science. 11 It is difficult for any institution to investigate members of its own community, especially individuals who hold positions of high esteem. In addition, some research institutions and government agencies have made mistakes in investigations of complex cases, such as appointing to investigatory panels members who have personal or professional ties to the individuals who have been

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