10 CFR § 600.31 - Research misconduct.

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(a) A recipient is responsible for maintaining the integrity of research of any kind under an award from DOE including the prevention, detection, and remediation of research misconduct, and the conduct of inquiries, investigations, and adjudication of allegations of research misconduct in accordance with the requirements of this section.

(b) For purposes of this section, the following definitions are applicable:

Adjudication means a formal review of a record of investigation of alleged research misconduct to determine whether and what corrective actions and sanctions should be taken.

Fabrication means making up data or results and recording or reporting them.

Falsification means 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.

Finding of Research Misconduct means a determination, based on a preponderance of the evidence, that research misconduct has occurred. Such a finding requires a conclusion that there has been a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community and that it be knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly committed.

Inquiry means information gathering and initial fact-finding to determine whether an allegation or apparent instance of misconduct warrants an investigation.

Investigation means the formal examination and evaluation of the relevant facts.

Plagiarism means the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

Research means all basic, applied, and demonstration research in all fields of science, medicine, engineering, and mathematics, including, but not limited to, research in economics, education, linguistics, medicine, psychology, social sciences statistics, and research involving human subjects or animals.

Research misconduct means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results, but does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

Research record means the record of all data or results that embody the facts resulting from scientists' inquiries, including, but not limited to, research proposals, laboratory records, both physical and electronic, progress reports, abstracts, theses, oral presentations, internal reports, and journal articles.

(c) Unless otherwise instructed by the Contracting Officer, the recipient must conduct an initial inquiry into any allegation of research misconduct. If the recipient determines that there is sufficient evidence to proceed to an investigation, it must notify the Contracting Officer and, unless otherwise instructed, the recipient must:

(1) Conduct an investigation to develop a complete factual record and an examination of such record leading to either a finding of research misconduct and an identification of appropriate remedies or a determination that no further action is warranted;

(2) Inform the Contracting Officer if an initial inquiry supports an investigation and, if requested by the Contracting Officer thereafter, keep the Contracting Officer informed of the results of the investigation and any subsequent adjudication. When an investigation is complete, the recipient will forward to the Contracting Officer a copy of the evidentiary record, the investigative report, any recommendations made to the recipient's adjudicating official, and the adjudicating official's decision and notification of any corrective action taken or planned, and the subject's written response to the recommendations (if any).

(3) If the investigation leads to a finding of research misconduct, conduct an adjudication by a responsible official who was not involved in the inquiry or investigation and is separated organizationally from the element which conducted the investigation. The adjudication must include a review of the investigative record and, as warranted, a determination of appropriate corrective actions and sanctions.

(d) The Department may elect to act in lieu of the recipient in conducting an inquiry or investigation into an allegation of research misconduct if the Contracting Officer finds that:

(1) The research organization is not prepared to handle the allegation in a manner consistent with this section;

(2) The allegation involves an entity of sufficiently small size that it cannot reasonably conduct the inquiry;

(3) DOE involvement is necessary to ensure the public health, safety, and security, or to prevent harm to the public interest; or,

(4) The allegation involves possible criminal misconduct.

(e) DOE reserves the right to pursue such remedies and other actions as it deems appropriate, consistent with the terms and conditions of the award instrument and applicable laws and regulations. However, the recipient's good faith administration of this section and the effectiveness of its remedial actions and sanctions shall be positive considerations and shall be taken into account as mitigating factors in assessing the need for such actions. If DOE pursues any such action, it will inform the subject of the action of the outcome and any applicable appeal procedures.

(f) In conducting the activities in paragraph (c) of this section, the recipient and the Department, if it elects to conduct the inquiry or investigation, shall adhere to the following guidelines:

(1) Safeguards for information and subjects of allegations. The recipient shall provide safeguards to ensure that individuals may bring allegations of research misconduct made in good faith to the attention of the recipient without suffering retribution. Safeguards include: protection against retaliation; fair and objective procedures for examining and resolving allegations; and diligence in protecting positions and reputations. The recipient shall also provide the subjects of allegations confidence that their rights are protected and that the mere filing of an allegation of research misconduct will not result in an adverse action. Safeguards include timely written notice regarding substantive allegations against them, a description of the allegation and reasonable access to any evidence submitted to support the allegation or developed in response to an allegation and notice of any findings of research misconduct.

(2) Objectivity and expertise. The recipient shall select individual(s) to inquire, investigate, and adjudicate allegations of research misconduct who have appropriate expertise and have no unresolved conflict of interest. The individual(s) who conducts an adjudication must not be the same individual(s) who conducted the inquiry or investigation, and must be separate organizationally from the element that conducted the inquiry or investigation.

(3) Timeliness. The recipient shall coordinate, inquire, investigate and adjudicate allegations of research misconduct promptly, but thoroughly. Generally, an investigation should be completed within 120 days of initiation, and adjudication should be complete within 60 days of receipt of the record of investigation.

(4) Confidentiality. To the extent possible, consistent with fair and thorough processing of allegations of research misconduct and applicable law and regulation, knowledge about the identity of the subjects of allegations and informants should be limited to those with a need to know.

(5) Remediation and sanction. If the recipient finds that research misconduct has occurred, it shall assess the seriousness of the misconduct and its impact on the research completed or in process. The recipient must take all necessary corrective actions. Such action may include but are not limited to, correcting the research record and as appropriate imposing restrictions, controls, or other parameters on research in process or to be conducted in the future. The recipient must coordinate remedial actions with the Contracting Officer. The recipient must also consider whether personnel sanctions are appropriate. Any such sanction must be consistent with any applicable personnel laws, policies, and procedures, and must take into account the seriousness of the misconduct and its impact, whether it was done knowingly or intentionally, and whether it was an isolated event or pattern of conduct.

(g) By executing this agreement, the recipient provides its assurance that it has established an administrative process for performing an inquiry, mediating if possible, investigating, and reporting allegations of research misconduct; and that it will comply with its own administrative process and the requirements and definitions of 10 CFR part 733 for performing an inquiry, possible mediation, investigation and reporting of allegations of research misconduct.

(h) The recipient must insert or have inserted the substance of this section, including paragraph (g), in subawards at all tiers that involve research.

[70 FR 37013, June 28, 2005, as amended at 74 FR 44278, Aug. 28, 2009]

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