Research Misconduct

Butler University is responsible for the integrity of research conducted at the University. As a community of scholars, in which truth and integrity are fundamental, the University must establish procedures for the investigation of allegations of misconduct of research with due care to protect the rights of those accused, those making the allegations, and Butler University. Furthermore, federal regulations require the University to have explicit procedures for addressing incidents in which there are allegations of misconduct in research.

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 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.

A finding of research misconduct requires that:

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

Funding agencies and research institutions are partners who share responsibility for the research process. Federal agencies have ultimate oversight authority for federally-funded research, but research institutions bear primary responsibility for prevention and detection of research misconduct, and for the inquiry, investigation, and adjudication of research misconduct alleged to have occurred in association with their own institution. Butler University has a formal process for handling allegations of research misconduct.

If you have any questions or concerns about what constitutes research misconduct or would like to report possible misconduct you should consider talking to someone in your department or another colleague. You can always contact the Office of Sponsored Programs (317-940-9766, To make an anonymous report about possible misconduct, send a report through campus mail to the Office of Sponsored Programs at JH-109.

All reports of possible research misconduct will be handled in a confidential manner.  It is against Butler University policy to retaliate for good faith reporting of concerns about inappropriate activity.

Additional Resources