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Office of Research Integrity

Research Integrity

VIII. The Investigation Report

A. Elements

The investigation report must include the following information: [42 CFR § 93.313]

  • nature and specifics of the allegations included in the charge to the committee
  • PHS support including grant numbers, applications, and related contracts and publications listing this support
  • list of research evidence secured along with identification of an a summary of that which was reviewed
  • statement of finding for each individual allegation that includes the type of misconduct (falsification, fabrication, or plagiarism), and whether it was intentional, knowing or done in reckless disregard; summarized supportive facts and analyses including the merits or reasonable respondent explanations; individual(s) responsible for the misconduct; PHS support both current and known applications; pending proposals with non-PHS federal agencies; and if correction or retraction of any publications is needed.
  • comments made by the respondent and complainant on the draft report.
Other items to be included in the investigation report are:
  • names and positions of the committee members and any experts
  • name and position of each respondent
  • reasons for extension of the investigation beyond 120 days
  • recommended institutional actions

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 respondent must be provided with the draft report along with a copy of or supervised access to the evidence on which the report is based. All comments must be returned within 30 days of the date on which the report was received. These comments must be considered in the final report and a copy of them attached to the report. [42 CFR §93.312(a)].

The investigation committee in consultation with the RIO will determine on a case-by-case basis to provide complainant with a copy of the draft report or portions thereof for review. If provided, all comments must be returned within 30 days of the date on which the report was received. These comments must be considered in the final report and a copy of them attached to the report. [42 CFR §93.312(b)]

Both respondent and, if applicable, complainant will be reminded that the draft reports are confidential and may be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement or to come to the office of the RIO to review the report.

C. Institutional Decision and Notification

  1. The RIO will transmit the final report including any comments to the DO.
  2. The DO will provide in writing his/her final decision that has been made based on the preponderance of the evidence and on behalf of the institution regarding acceptance of the report, its findings, and recommended institutional actions. If the determinations differ from that in the investigation report, the DO will explain the basis of his/her decision. The DO may also return the report to the investigation committee with a request for further fact-finding or analysis.
  3. The RIO will provide the DO’s determination in writing to the respondent, and complainant. If there has been a finding of misconduct, the respondent will also be informed that an institutional appeals process is not available.
  4. In cases where PHS support is involved and within the 120 days allotted for completion of the investigation unless an extension has been granted, the RIO will provide ORI with the final report including all attachments, the determination of the DO, and any pending or completed administrative actions against the respondent.

D. Cooperation with the ORI including Record Provision and Retention

The institution will continue to cooperate with ORI during any oversight review as described under 42 CFR Subpart D or hearings and appeals as described under 42 CFR Subpart E. [42 CFR § 93.304(m)]

If requested, the RIO must provide the ORI with records of misconduct proceedings as defined in 42 CFR § 93.317(a). This includes transcripts or recordings of all interviews and their results. In addition, the RIO is responsible for providing other information, documentation, evidence, or clarifications requested by ORI for its review of institutional research misconduct proceedings or its own review of an allegation of misconduct. [42 CFR § 93.300(g), 93.403(b) and (d). These records must be securely retained for at least seven years following completion of the institutional research misconduct proceeding or related PHS proceeding unless ORI has provided written advisement that the records no longer need to be retained or custody of these records has already been transferred to HHS. [42 CFR § 93.317(b)]