Research misconduct is defined by the U.S. Department of Education as “any of a number of specific actions that may constitute a violation of the integrity of research or the rights of research participants.
It wasn’t that long ago, that the U.S. Department of Education didn’t have to deal with the fact that the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIN) had to use some kind of external data collection tool to collect data, and for that reason, it was not a violation to have any kind of external data collection tool.
But that doesnt mean that the actions of the investigators are not actionable. This is because the investigation of the student misconduct is very likely to uncover other violations. These include: falsifying, plagiarizing, altering, or destroying academic records, and falsifying information on course evaluation forms. Because these are all very common violations, no action is taken against the investigators.
There are exceptions; if the student has actually falsified an evaluation, or if the examiners believe that the student has falsified some other aspect of the course, then an internal investigation may be appropriate. But it seems that most instances of misconduct are not prosecuted because the student involved is usually a first-year undergrads.
If you were an undergrad student there is no reason to be suspicious of the investigation. If you are a graduate student in your field, it is very important to be suspicious of the investigation. However, that does not mean that there is no investigation.
This sounds a bit drastic, but in fact it is more common to have students who engage in research misconduct be disciplined by their university, not their faculty. Sometimes faculty are simply too busy to investigate and their students are too inexperienced to know what is wrong. In reality, a faculty member does not need to be an investigator to see evidence of research misconduct. If the findings of a faculty investigation are supported by the evidence, it is not necessary for the faculty member to investigate the case.
A good example of your own habits as a researcher is the fact that I don’t like to make assumptions about research misconduct. As a researcher, I often don’t even get the chance to ask the professor about his research misconduct, and instead I take it as my job to make sure the professor is not just looking for the research to be done.
It turns out that the case of one of our students, a young woman who has worked on a number of research projects with the same research advisor, was actually a bit of a shocker. In fact, we found that the research misconduct was not “out of the ordinary” for her.
One of the most frustrating things to me in academia is when a professor will say “we didn’t observe this” or “we didn’t find something” but then in subsequent papers or presentations you will see the same thing happen again and again and again. Of course, most of the time it’s just noise and you’re not even aware that it is happening because you’re distracted by other things.
In the case of the research misconduct, we found that this was the case for two professors who were found to be committing research misconduct. The first professor, whose research was found to be unethical, was also found to be a fraud. The second professor was accused of being a fraud but was then found to be an honest person who had done the research under a false name.