A. General Policy

The principles that govern scientific research long have been established and applied in the discovery of new knowledge. The faculties and administrators at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and its teaching hospitals (hereafter referred to as the institution) have a central and critical responsibility to maintain these high ethical standards. Validity and accuracy in proposing, collecting, reporting, and reviewing of data are intrinsically essential to the scientific process. Dishonesty in these endeavors is contrary to the very nature of research, that is, the pursuit of truth.

The goal of this document is to present the guidelines and the procedures that will be used in dealing with alleged misconduct by researchers. “Research misconduct means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.” It does not include honest error or differences of opinion. [42 CFR § 93.103] The use of this document to address other forms of misconduct by faculty and staff would be at the discretion of the dean of the college in which a faculty member holds a primary appointment or in which the staff member is employed and subject to relevant regulations and procedures.

Primary responsibility for the integrity of all scientific research rests with the individual researcher. The researcher accepts this responsibility with the understanding that the commission of misconduct in the research process is a major breach of contract between the researcher and the institution.

The Medical University of South Carolina will make every effort, consistent with Federal and State laws, and University policy, to support and protect the confidentiality of those bringing an allegation of misconduct in good faith, those against whom the allegation is made, and any research subjects, except at needed to carry out the research misconduct proceedings.

The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) will be provided with an annual report and assurance that the institution agrees to comply with 42 CFR Part 93.

In case of any conflict between this policy and 42 CFR Part 93, the regulation shall prevail if PHS supported research is involved in the alleged misconduct.

B. Scope

This policy and the associated procedures apply to all individuals at MUSC engaged in research, research training, or activities related to these that is supported by or for which support has been requested from the Public Health Service (PHS). The PHS regulation at 42 CFR Part 93 applies to any research, research-training, or research-related grant or cooperative agreement with the PHS. This policy applies to any person paid by, under the control of, or affiliated with the institution, such as scientists, trainees, technicians, and other staff members, students, fellows, guest researchers, or collaborators at MUSC.

These policies and associated procedures except where otherwise indicated also apply to all other research at MUSC regardless of funding source. They will be used in whole or part for research misconduct proceedings beginning with initial review of an allegation. Particular circumstances in an individual case may dictate variation from the normal procedure deemed in the best interests of MUSC and PHS. Any change from normal procedures must also ensure fair treatment to the subject of the inquiry or investigation i.e. the respondent. Any significant variation should be approved in advance by the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Medical University of South Carolina or his/her designee.

This policy and associated procedures apply only to allegations of scientific misconduct that occurred within six years of the date that the institution or HHS received the allegation except where the health or safety of the public is involved or except where there is subsequent use i.e. the respondent continues or renews any incident of the alleged research misconduct [42 CFR § 93.105(b)].

This policy and associated procedures do not apply to disputes of authorship or collaboration disputes.