issues that confront scholars at all levels of experience, and provide for a more explicit and systematic discussion of these issues with their students. The responsibility to ensure systematic discussion of these issues rests with the departments, and we make recommendations for educational programs based in departments.
We define three behaviors in the conduct of research that merit Institute attention. The first is research misconduct. We define research misconduct as fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism in proposing, conducting, or reporting research or other scholarly activities. Other types of misconduct that can occur in a research setting but which are not unique to research activities are differentiated from research misconduct and defined as general misconduct. In addition, there is a range of questionable or improper research practices that we do not include in either research misconduct or general misconduct, but which can negatively affect the research enterprise, compromise the responsibilities of universities, and violate ethical standards.
We present a set of generic research practices and urge discussions in departments and laboratories to establish field-specific details and to determine at what thresholds deviations from these practices constitute improper or questionable research practices. We believe that discussing such research practices in research groups will contribute to our educational programs and that most disputes arising within groups about deviations from good practice should be resolved by informal discussions or mediation. We see an important role for informal mediation by faculty in departments and schools and have made recommendations to facilitate this. However, allegations of research misconduct cannot be informally resolved nor are they proper for a process of mediation.
We have made recommendations on institutional response to allegations of research misconduct, placing the responsibility for initial inquiry with the department head but providing central resources to ensure proper procedures and institutional memory. We have discussed and made provisions to protect the rights of the accused to a fair, confidential, and objective process and to ensure that those who bring allegations of research misconduct responsibly and in good faith are protected from retaliation and damage to their careers.
Finally, we believe that a period of stability in federal regulations is appropriate to enable universities to gain experience in the application of procedures to ensure the integrity of research done on their campuses.