Research Misconduct Defined

Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.

  • Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
  • Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.
  • Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

Additionally, at UNLV, "research misconduct" shall be further defined to include:

  • Material failure (as defined below) 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 real or perceived conflicts of interest (as defined below).
  • An abuse of confidentiality, such as the use (or release to others) of ideas or preliminary data of others that 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 pursuant to a confidentiality agreement between UNLV and a third party.

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.

Conflict of Interest

"Conflict of interest" means any outside activity or interest that may adversely affect, compromise, or be incompatible with the obligations of an employee in the institution. Conflict of interest encompasses any situation in which an employee of the university uses, or is in a position to use, his or her influence and authority within the university to advance his or her own personal or financial interest, or the personal or financial interests of individuals in the employee’s household; persons to whom the employee is related by blood, adoption, or marriage within the third degree of consanguinity; or persons with whom the employee has substantial and continuing outside business relationships. NSHE Title 4, Chapter 10, Section 1.7 specifies that conflicts of interest are prohibited for any employee of the Nevada System of Higher Education.

The bias of such conflicts could conceivably inappropriately affect the goals of research, instructional, or administrative programs. The education of students, the methods of analysis and interpretation of research data, the hiring of staff, procurement of materials, and other administrative tasks at the university must be free of undue influence of outside interests. The appearance of a conflict may be as serious and potentially damaging as an actual conflict. Therefore, apparent conflicts must also be disclosed and evaluated with the same vigor as actual conflicts. For more information on this subject, see the Conflict of Interest and Commitment site.

Material Failure

"Material failure" means any act or failure to act in a manner that has or may have an adverse effect on the reputation, goodwill, or financial condition of the university, as well as any act or failure to act in a manner that has or may impair the right or ability of the university to carry on its mission, operations, business, research, education, or other affairs.