General Policies & Principles
A. Reporting Misconduct
All institutional members have the responsibility to report observations of possible research misconduct to the RIO, Dean, Chair, Program Director, or to the confidential, compliance hotline [800-296-0269]. All individuals receiving such allegations should contact the RIO regarding it in a timely manner so that these institutional policies and procedures can be followed.
An individual may contact [843-792-3370] or meet with the RIO to informally discuss the situation. This may be done anonymously and/or hypothetically. If the RIO determines that the circumstances described do not meet the definition of research misconduct, the RIO will refer the individual to other officials or offices with responsibilities for resolving such problems.
The RIO is also available to confidentially discuss concerns about possible misconduct and to provide counsel about appropriate procedures for reporting allegations.
B. Cooperating with Research Misconduct Proceedings
All institutional members should cooperate with the RIO, institutional officials, and the inquiry and investigation committees in research misconduct proceedings. This includes providing information, research records, and evidence, serving as a witness, and maintaining confidentiality. The institution will take reasonable and practical steps to ensure cooperation of its respondents and other institutional members. [42 CFR § 300 (f)]
C. Maintaining Confidentiality
The RIO will limit disclosure of identifying information except on a need to know basis for misconduct proceedings and in response to requests by the ORI. This limited disclosure is required for: identity of respondents and complainants and, except as otherwise prescribed by law, records, or evidence from which research subjects might be identified. Written confidentiality agreements may be required to ensure that the recipient of identifying information does not make further disclosure. Confidentiality will also be provided for witnesses, if indicated, to protect them against possible harassment or retaliation.
D. Protecting the Complainant, Witnesses, and Committee Members
The RIO will monitor the treatment of individuals bringing allegations of misconduct, those interviewed during the misconduct proceedings, and those serving on inquiry and investigation committees for retaliation by institutional members against these individuals. This retaliation may affect the terms and conditions of their employment or other status at the institution. Institutional members should immediately report alleged or apparent retaliation to the RIO who will review and take appropriate action.
E. Protecting the Respondent
Upon receiving an allegation of scientific misconduct, the Research Integrity Officer will immediately assess the allegation to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant an inquiry, whether PHS support or PHS applications for funding are involved, and whether the allegation falls under the PHS definition of scientific misconduct.
F. Notifying the ORI of Special Circumstances and Taking Interim Administrative Actions
The RIO will notify the ORI immediately if PHS supported research is involved and if, at any time during the misconduct proceedings, any of the seven conditions listed in 42 CFR § 93.318 are thought to exist.
In conjunction with this, the institution will take appropriate interim administrative action to protect against a threat of harm to public health or safety, federal funds, and equipment, integrity of the research process, or rights and interest of individuals involved in the research misconduct proceedings. These actions will be taken regardless of the source of research support. [42 CFR § 93.304(h)].