Allegations of Research Misconduct

Federal regulations define research misconduct as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research."  Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.

  • Falsification is changing research materials, equipment, or processes or altering or omitting data or results so that the research record does not accurately reflect the research findings.
  • Plagiarism is using another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion. In addition, the federal policy on research misconduct does not apply to authorship disputes unless they involve plagiarism. Research misconduct has a very specific meaning in federal regulations. Noncompliance with policies and procedures for the protection of human research subjects, although reportable to an Institutional Review Board (IRB), is not considered to be research misconduct under the federal definition.

In cases of suspected misconduct, the Editors and Editorial Board will use the best practices of COPE to assist them to resolve the complaint and address the misconduct fairly. This will include an investigation of the allegation by the Editors. A submitted manuscript that is found to contain such misconduct will be rejected. In cases where a published paper is found to contain such misconduct, a retraction can be published and will be linked to the original article.

Our Journal editors should be informed of any actions by reviewers or authors that are not in-line with this statement. If there is suspected misconduct by an editor, the complaint should first be made to the co-editors. If the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved, then the complaint should be passed to the editorial board of our Journal.