1.6 Research Integrity

1. Misconduct and Reporting

Research is a human enterprise. Scientists are susceptible to human error and may certainly engage in differences of opinion about interpretations or judgments of data. Researchers also work under difficult constraints, such that publication pressures, limited resources and other contingencies can push against the desire to maximize quality.

Responsible research conduct includes maintaining high quality standards, while acknowledging mistakes. Research integrity rests on the judgment and conscience of the researcher.

Beyond human error or negligence, there are also errors that involve deliberate deception. Research misconduct is defined as "fabrication, falsification, plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results."

Stanford University, along with the agencies that fund research conducted here, has explicit policy requirements related to allegations, investigations and reporting of research misconduct. (See RPH 1.7: Research Misconduct: Policy on Allegations, Investigations, and Reporting.)

Violations should be reported in confidence through normal organizational channels. In the case of research misconduct, reports should be made to the dean of the appropriate school. Where reporting within a School structure is difficult, perceived violations of laws, regulations or grant/contract terms may be reported to the Director of Audit, Compliance, Risk and Privacy or the General Counsel. Reports may be made confidentially, or even anonymously. Reporting such concerns in good faith is a service to the University and to the larger academic community, and will not jeopardize anyone's employment. (See Stanford Ethics and Compliance Helpline)

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