Office of Research Integrity

Research Integrity

VI. The Inquiry Report

A. Elements

The inquiry report should include the following information:

  • names and positions of the committee members and any experts
  • name and position of the respondent(s)
  • list of the allegations
  • grant support in particular PHS support to include grant numbers, applications, related contracts and publications listing support
  • list of the research evidence reviewed
  • list of individuals interviewed and summaries of each testimony
  • the committee’s recommendation on conducting an investigation
  • the evidence supporting the recommendation
  • other actions that should be taken if an investigation is not recommended
  • reasons for extension of the inquiry beyond 60 days, if applicable
  • complainant and respondent comments on the draft report or portions thereof

These comments may be used to prepare the final report.

The RIO and institutional counsel should review the final report. Modifications should be made if necessary and appropriate.

B. Notification of the Respondent and Complainant

The entire draft inquiry report must be provided to the respondent for review while the complainant may be permitted to review the committee recommendation, his/her own testimony, and other portions of the report if useful feedback might be obtained. All comments should be returned within 7 calendar days of receipt.

C. Institutional Decision and Notification

  1. The RIO will transmit the final report including any comments to the DO who will then determine if an investigation is warranted.
  2. The RIO will then provide the DO’s written decision to the respondent, the complainant, and all appropriate institutional officials.
  3. The RIO will provide the final report within 30 days to the ORI in cases where PHS support is involved and the DO has made the written decision that an investigation is warranted. The decision to open an investigation must be made on or before the date that the investigation begins. [42 CFR § 93.304(d)]. Additional information will be provided upon request. [42 CFR § 93.309(b)] as will notification of any special circumstances that may exist. [42 CFR § 93.309(d)]

D. Record Retention

  1. Decision to conduct an investigation – All records and evidence must be retained for use in the subsequent investigation.
  2. Decision to not conduct an investigation - Sufficiently detailed documentation of inquiries must be retained in a secure place for a minimum of seven years in the event that the ORI wishes to assess a decision not to investigate.

E. Protection of Reputations

If the decision is made to not proceed to the investigation stage, the RIO must take all reasonable and practical steps, if requested and as appropriate, to restore a respondent’s reputation. [42 CFR § 93.304(k)]