42 CFR § 93.106 - Evidentiary standards.
The following evidentiary standards apply to findings made under this part.
(b) Burden of proof.
(1) The institution or HHS has the burden of proof for making a finding of research misconduct. The destruction, absence of, or respondent's failure to provide research records adequately documenting the questioned research is evidence of research misconduct where the institution or HHS establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the respondent intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly had research records and destroyed them, had the opportunity to maintain the records but did not do so, or maintained the records and failed to produce them in a timely manner and that the respondent's conduct constitutes a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community.
(2) The respondent has the burden of going forward with and the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, any and all affirmative defenses raised. In determining whether HHS or the institution has carried the burden of proof imposed by this part, the finder of fact shall give due consideration to admissible, credible evidence of honest error or difference of opinion presented by the respondent.
(3) The respondent has the burden of going forward with and proving by a preponderance of the evidence any mitigating factors that are relevant to a decision to impose administrative actions following a research misconduct proceeding.