Responsible Conduct in Research, Intellectual and Creative Activity

The University at Buffalo is committed to maintaining high ethical standards in our research and other scholarly work.  The integrity of research conducted at UB is of paramount importance to the university as well as to the public and our research sponsors.  It is imperative that our faculty members adhere to rigorous standards of academic integrity, intellectual honesty, transparency and the highest ethical conduct in their work. Every faculty member has a responsibility to ensure that conclusions in technical reports or papers are unambiguous and supported by the presented data. It is the policy of UB to maintain high ethical standards in research and other scholarly work, prevent misconduct where possible and promptly and fairly evaluate and resolve any instance of alleged or apparent misconduct. 

In 2005, the federal government issued a revised version of regulations pertaining to research misconduct, 42 CFR Part 93. These federal regulations require that universities assume primary responsibility for the prevention, detection and investigation of research misconduct and take action to ensure the integrity of research, protection of the rights of research subjects and the public. Universities must also ensure the observance of legal requirements related to federal research funding. Individual agency regulations differ in wording and emphasis.

University policies establish standards of ethical behavior for all members of the university community and prescribe procedures for due process and discipline for deviation from those standards. UB's policy on Responsible Conduct in Research, Intellectual and Creative Activity deals with violations of a subset of these standards and applies to prohibited conduct in proposing, carrying out and reporting research.

Principles of Ethical Conduct

UB, as an institution of higher learning, is dedicated to truth in pursuit of knowledge through research and scholarly activities, the transmission of such knowledge through education and instruction and the application of discoveries to benefit the public good. The university has adopted the following principles of ethical conduct to guide those engaged in scholarly activity:

  • Honesty and integrity in research hold the highest priority.
  • Data, language or analysis taken from other sources must include proper and clear attribution of source.
  • Fabrication, falsification and plagiarism are each violations of research integrity.
  • Data are obtained by processes that comply with state and federal requirements affecting specific rules of research conduct.
  • All authors of a manuscript prepared for publication take responsibility for the contents in precisely the same measure as they stand to take credit.
  • After publication of research results, data are shared with others for scholarly purposes, provided these individuals do not have an explicit professional or personal conflict of interest with the author(s).
    • The Vice President for Research (VPR) will make the determination regarding any such conflicts of interest.

A dedication to these shared values by all faculty, students, fellows and staff is crucial for the functioning of the university. In contrast, when any member of the university community disregards the accepted norms of scientific or scholarly inquiry, the entire community is diminished. Federal regulations define research misconduct as acts that are committed intentionally, knowingly or recklessly. However, gross, inadvertent or careless acts may also endanger public trust and the pursuit of scholarly truth. This can be considered a form of misconduct. The university has an obligation to act and assumes responsibility for discouraging, detecting and dealing with research misconduct involving:

  • Research
  • Research training
  • Applications for support of research or research training
  • Related research or scholarly activities.

Since a charge of research misconduct, even if unjustified, may damage an individual’s career, any allegation of research misconduct must be handled in an expeditious and confidential manner. It is of paramount importance that full attention be given to the rights of all individuals involved.

UB's policy on Responsible Conduct in Research, Intellectual and Creative Activity

The university's policy on "Responsible Conduct in Research, Intellectual, and Creative Activity," as well as applicable federal regulations, require that the confidentiality of research misconduct proceedings be maintained to the maximum extent possible consistent with reaching an effective and efficient resolution.

More information about the university’s policy on Responsible Conduct in Research, Intellectual and Creative Activity is available here: Responsible Conduct in Research, Intellectual And Creative Activity.pdf

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