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Procedures for Dealing with Issues of Research Misconduct

The Johns Hopkins University Research Integrity Policy (the “University Policy”), available at https://www.jhu.edu/assets/uploads/2017/08/university_research_integrity_policy.pdf, governs the process for reporting, assessing, inquiring into, and investigating allegations of research misconduct at the School of Medicine.  The University Policy applies to all School faculty, trainees, students and staff engaged in the proposing, performing, reviewing or reporting of research, regardless of funding source.  The University Policy contemplates that schools may adopt their own procedures with respect to discipline as a result of an investigation committee finding of misconduct.

The procedure for addressing allegations of research misconduct at the School of Medicine is additionally governed by the Procedures set forth below.  Capitalized terms used in this procedure shall have the meanings ascribed to them in the University Policy.

I. Inquiry

Pursuant to Section III.C. of the University Policy, at the beginning of the inquiry process, the Respondent will be afforded the opportunity to consult with an uninvolved senior faculty member, who will serve as advisor to the Respondent throughout the proceedings in accordance with any school level procedures. The role of the advisor will be to offer advice and guidance regarding the procedural aspects of the process. The advisor shall not act as an advocate for the Respondent.  The Deciding Official shall appoint the advisor, subject to approval by the respondent, and the Respondent may recommend persons to serve in this role.  The advisor may, upon request by the respondent, accompany her or him to meetings with inquiry, investigating, or adjudicating committees

A. No current member of the Standing Committee on Discipline (SCD) may serve as an advisor.  If the Respondent does not wish to consult with an advisor, he or she must so notify the Deciding Official in writing. 

II.  Investigation Procedures

A.The Investigation Committee’s report will not include recommendations as to disciplinary and/or corrective action. 

B.When, pursuant to Section IV.f.iii. of the University Policy, the School of Medicine’s Deciding Official receives the report of an Investigation Committee in which there is a finding of research misconduct, the following procedures will apply.

The Deciding Official will refer the matter as set forth below.

1.       If the Respondent is a faculty member, the report will be sent to the Respondent, his or her department director, the Dean, and the Standing Committee on Discipline (“SCD”).  The SCD will take further action as provided for in this Procedure. 
 

2.       If the Respondent is a student or trainee (e.g., medical student, graduate student, resident, postdoctoral fellow), the report will be sent to the Respondent, the supervisor of the Respondent, the Dean, and the Vice Dean for Education.  The Vice Dean for Education will act as the Deciding Official for purposes of a) accepting or rejecting the report in whole or in part, and b) determining sanctions and/or corrective action, if any, that are warranted.
 

3.       If the Respondent is a staff employee, the report will be sent to the Respondent, the supervisor of the Respondent, the director of the divisional human resources office, and the Dean.  The Dean or the Dean’s designee will act as the Deciding Official for purposes of a) accepting or rejecting the report in whole or in part, and b) with the input of the appropriate human resources office, determining sanctions and/or corrective action, if any, that are warranted.

C.When, pursuant to Section IV.f.iii. of the University Policy, the School of Medicine’s Deciding Official receives the report of an Investigation Committee in which there is no finding of research misconduct, the following procedures will apply.  The Dean or the Dean’s designee will serve as the Deciding Official to accept or reject the report in whole or in part.  If the Investigation Committee report does not find there was research misconduct, but notes significant concerns with respect to research practices or other conduct, the Deciding Official or his/her designee may issue an admonishment, guidance, or other communication to the Respondent or others to address the significant concerns.  If the matter is not within the meaning of research misconduct, but otherwise may fall under the School of Medicine’s Procedures for Dealing with Issues of Faculty Professional Misconduct (and involves a Respondent who is a faculty member), the matter may be considered under that policy.

II.  Standing Committee on Discipline

  1. Upon receipt of an Investigation Committee report in which there is a finding of research misconduct on the part of a faculty member, the Deciding Official shall designate the Standing Committee on Discipline (“SCD”) to review the matter and a) determine whether to accept or reject the investigative report in whole or in part, and b) make recommendations regarding disciplinary and/or corrective action.  
  2. In carrying out its responsibilities, the SCD may advise the Deciding Official to return the matter to the Investigation Committee for additional investigation or modification of its report.  The SCD will then make a final decision whether to accept or reject the report in whole or in part.
  3. If the Respondent’s department or division director is a member of the SCD, he or she is recused from deliberations, except for the department or division director’s testimony before the SCD as described below.  Other SCD members with conflicts of interest, either real or perceived, must disclose those conflicts to the Chair of the SCD.  The Chair will make a determination concerning recusal.
  4. The Respondent will be given an opportunity to appear before and submit written comments to the SCD regarding potential disciplinary actions that the SCD may propose.  Before making a final recommendation regarding disciplinary and/or corrective action, if any, the SCD will meet with the Respondent’s department director (or, at the discretion of the department director, the department director and the division director) so the director(s) can provide the SCD with information bearing on the impact of the proposed disciplinary action and/or corrective measures on the department, which will be noted in the SCD’s report. 
    The SCD will propose sanctions and/or corrective action which may include any of the items set forth in section IV.f.iii of the University Policy.

III.  Advisory Board of the Medical Faculty

The SCD will forward its report and recommendations with respect to faculty discipline to the full ABMF.

A.Interested parties (the Respondent and/or others) may ask or be asked to appear before the ABMF and/or to submit a written statement or materials relevant to the disposition of the case.  Interested parties who wish to make such requests must direct them to the Dean in writing at least seven days in advance of the Agenda Committee meeting immediately preceding the meeting at which the ABMF will consider the matter.  The Dean will forward the requests to the Agenda Committee as an addendum to the SCD materials.  The Agenda Committee will consider the case and all relevant materials and decide whether to grant the request for a personal presentation by the interested party at the ABMF meeting and whether to grant the request to present material to the ABMF.  If the Agenda Committee decides to permit presentation of material to the ABMF by or on behalf of the Respondent, the material must be provided to the Dean at least seven days in advance of the ABMF meeting or, if possible, earlier. 

B.The ABMF will consider the matter in executive session and will decide what disciplinary and/or corrective action, if any, should be taken.  The ABMF will report its decision to the Dean and the Respondent.  All records of the proceedings will be maintained in confidence by the Dean. 

IV.  Appeals

Appeals under this Procedure shall follow the appeal process set forth in Section V of the University Policy.

Approved By:     Advisory Board of the Medical Faculty

Date Adopted: September 27, 2017

Date Effective:  September 27, 2017

Contact:               integrity@jhmi.edu