Research Misconduct Policy Update

A stack of books
Jul. 11, 2017

UNLV is committed to the ethical and responsible conduct of research. As such, UNLV has a research misconduct policy that is based on and aligns with the Public Health Service (PHS) Policies on Research Misconduct, 42 CFR Part 93, the federal research misconduct regulations, as well as Chapter 6 of the NSHE Code, the misconduct and disciplinary policy presiding over all NSHE faculty except those at the Desert Research Institute.

In consultation with the vice president for research and economic development, the Office of Research Integrity recently updated UNLV’s research misconduct policy to include a new rules and procedures document that details how each inquiry, investigation, and adjudication will be conducted at the university and further aligns UNLV policy with 42 CFR Part 93 and NSHE Code, Chapter 6. The updated policy will improve UNLV’s research misconduct process by:

  • Further incorporating federal best practices for misconduct investigation, such as having an inquiry committee.
  • Increasing efficiencies, as UNLV and federal officials (through NSHE) will now be able to conduct a single, simultaneous investigation into an allegation of research misconduct.
  • Enabling a more detailed accounting of research misconduct claims.
  • Preventing institutional mishandling of investigations, which could impede federal investigations.
  • Streamlining the annual research misconduct reporting process to federal agencies.

Although federal agencies have ultimate authority over federally funded research, UNLV bears the primary responsibility for detecting, investigating, and adjudicating research misconduct alleged to have occurred in association with the university. Therefore, UNLV’s research misconduct policy applies to any individuals paid by, holding appointment from, or affiliated with the university—regardless of whether or not their research is funded and regardless of the funding agency—including:

  • Deans
  • Chairs
  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • Postdoctoral fellows
  • Residents
  • Trainees
  • Technicians
  • Professional staff members involved in research
  • Guest researchers
  • Graduate students
  • Undergraduate students

UNLV’s updated research misconduct policy can be found here. A list of important links and frequently asked questions regarding this policy are also available below. If you have any additional questions or would like to request an appointment to discuss how these changes may affect you, please direct them to or 702-895-2794.

Important Links

Frequently Asked Questions

What is research misconduct?

Under the provisions of the Federal Research Misconduct Policy, “research misconduct” is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Additionally, at UNLV “research misconduct” shall be further defined to include:

  • Material failure to comply with applicable federal requirements for protection of researchers, human participants, or the public; or for ensuring the welfare of laboratory animals.
  • Material failure to disclose all Conflicts of Interest.
  • An abuse of confidentiality, such as the use (or release to others) of ideas or preliminary data of others, which were given in the expectation of confidentiality, such as those gained from access to privileged information through: (1) the opportunity for editorial review of manuscripts; (2) the opportunity for peer review of proposals by external entities or by internal committees; and (3) disclosure of information covered by a confidentiality agreement between UNLV and a third party.

What doesn’t qualify as research misconduct?

“Research misconduct” does not include disputes regarding honest error or differences of opinion. Research misconduct is also not intended to include authorship disputes such as complaints about appropriate ranking of co-authors in publications, presentations, or other work unless the dispute constitutes plagiarism as defined in this policy

What’s changed from the old policy?

The updated policy includes a new rules and procedures document you can review here.

Who investigates research misconduct at UNLV?

The vice president for research and economic development serves as the administrative officer (AO) of any report of research misconduct. The VPRED appoints the Executive Director, Office of Research Integrity, or designee, as the Research Integrity Officer (“RIO”) who will have primary responsibility for implementation of the institution’s policies and procedures on research misconduct. The Deciding Official (DO) is the president. The president will receive the findings of facts and recommendations and shall reach a written decision within a reasonable time.

Did this policy change go through the University Policy Committee (UPC)?

No. UNLV’s research misconduct policy is based on federal regulations and previously established and approved NSHE code. Additionally, as the policy affects less than 50 percent of UNLV’s population—since less than 50 percent of those employed by or attending UNLV conduct research—this policy would not meet the threshold for review by the UPC.

Who reviewed and approved these policy revisions?

The vice president for research and economic development.

I suspect a student of research misconduct? Whom should I contact?

Allegations of research misconduct against students should be referred to the UNLV Office of Student Conduct for investigation and adjudicationbased on UNLV’s Student Conduct Code.

I don’t work on UNLV’s main campus. Does this policy apply to me?

The UNLV research misconduct policy, rules, and procedures apply regardless of whether research is conducted on the main UNLV campus, at the Shadow Lane campus, at the Paradise campus, or at UNLV-affiliated facilities and campuses located in Las Vegas or elsewhere in the U.S. or internationally.

My research isn’t federally funded. Does this misconduct policy apply to me?

As required by 42 CFR § 93, UNLV must have written policies and procedures for responding to allegations of research misconduct and reporting information about that response to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s (“HHS”) Office of Research Integrity (“ORI”). UNLV, in compliance with state and Nevada System of Higher Education policies, applies federal research misconduct policies to all research, whether funded or not.