Grants Policy and Guidance

Research Misconduct: Information and Frequently Asked Questions on Policies and Procedures

Definition of Research Misconduct under Federal Policy

Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.

  • Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
  • Falsification is 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 is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.
  • Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

(Source: 65 FR 76260-76264; 70 FR 37010-37016; 2 CFR § 910.132; 10 CFR § 733.3)

A finding of research misconduct requires that:

  • There be a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community;
  • The misconduct be committed intentionally, or knowingly, or recklessly; and
  • The allegation be proven by a preponderance of evidence.

(Source: 65 FR 76260-76264; 70 FR 37010-37016; 2 CFR § 910.132; 10 CFR § 733.3)


Official Documents on Research Misconduct Policies and Procedures

The Federal and Department of Energy (DOE) policies and procedures on research misconduct can be found at the links below. Federal regulations governing procedures for handling of research misconduct allegations concerning research supported by DOE grants, cooperative agreements, and management and operations (M&O) contracts, are specified in 10 § CFR 733. Specific provisions governing procedures for financial assistance recipients (under grants and cooperative agreements) are specified in 10 CFR § 600.31 Specific provisions governing procedures for M&O contractors are provided in DEAR 952.235-71 RESEARCH MISCONDUCT.

FEDERAL POLICY ON RESEARCH MISCONDUCTExternal link (PDF)

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY POLICY ON RESEARCH MISCONDUCTExternal link (PDF)

48 CFR § 970 - DOE MANAGEMENT AND OPERATING CONTRACTSExternal link

2 CFR § 910.132 - RESEARCH MISCONDUCTExternal link

10 CFR § 733 - ALLEGATIONS OF RESEARCH MISCONDUCTExternal link

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ACQUISITION REGULATION (DEAR) 952.235-71 RESEARCH MISCONDUCT (Scroll down to page 257)


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. If, as a DOE Office of Science program manager, I receive an allegation of research misconduct or encounter apparent evidence of research misconduct, what should I do?

DOE program managers should notify their Team Leader or Division Leader of the concern on a confidential basis. Team Leaders and Division Directors should bring the matter to the attention of their Associate Director. The Associate Director should notify the Deputy Director for Science Programs (SC-2). The Office of the Deputy Director for Science Programs will provide guidance and  handle the matter in accordance with Federal and Department policy and procedures.

Q. What are the confidentiality requirements under Federal and DOE policy on research misconduct?

Federal policy requires that such matters be handled in strict confidentiality: “To the extent possible consistent with a fair and thorough investigation and as allowed by law, knowledge about the identity of subjects and informants is limited to those who need to know.”(65 FR at 76264)

Q. What is the role of the DOE contracting officer under DOE research misconduct policies and procedures?

The DOE contracting officer has an important role under DOE research misconduct policies and procedures, including in the event that a recipient institution initiates a research misconduct investigation.  This applies both to M&O contractors and recipient institutions of DOE financial assistance. The role of the contracting officer is described in 10 CFR § 733External link, 2 CFR § 910.132External link, and DEAR 952.235-71 RESEARCH MISCONDUCT.

Q. If, as a DOE M&O contractor, or a recipient institution of DOE financial assistance (i.e., grant or cooperative agreement), I receive an allegation of research misconduct related to DOE-funded research, what should I do, and whom should I notify?

Under Federal and DOE policy, the contractor or financial assistance recipient institution is responsible for maintaining the integrity of research performed pursuant to its DOE award including the prevention, detection, and remediation of research misconduct as defined under Federal and DOE policy, and the conduct of inquiries, investigations, and adjudication of allegations of research misconduct in accordance with the requirements of Federal and DOE policy and procedures.

Unless otherwise instructed by the DOE contracting officer, the contractor or financial assistance recipient institution must conduct an initial inquiry into any allegation of research misconduct. If the contractor or financial assistance recipient institution determines that there is sufficient evidence to proceed to an investigation, it must notify the DOE contracting officer. Additional procedures and requirements are detailed in 10 CFR § 733External link, 2 CFR § 910.132External link, and DEAR 952.235-71 RESEARCH MISCONDUCT.

Last modified: 3/5/2016 8:18:31 PM