Research misconduct could be in the form of any research practice that intensely swerves from the normally recognized and accepted ethics/integrity standards or practices of the pertinent research community and includes, but is not limited to:
- Premeditated fabrication: making up data or results and reporting them.
- Falsification: manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately reported.
- Plagiarism: the act of using another person's words, results, processes or ideas without giving credit to that person and presenting them as one’s own.
Research misconduct can also be the consequence of mistaken, careless, unintentional, languid, or disordered research practices. These kinds of misconduct are punishable at the institutional level.
Once research misconduct has been identified, all entities involved in the research must take responsibility to resolve the issue, including the principal investigator and co-investigators. When someone is suspected of committing research misconduct, the appropriate practise is to first launch an investigation. If the investigation discloses a possible research misconduct situation, the second step is to then conduct a full-scale investigation.
Finally, BAU uses the facts collected during the full-scale investigation to reach decisions regarding the presence of misconduct and its intensity, and what appropriate corrective action should be taken.
Guidelines on how to handle the informant and individuals who are suspected of having committed research misconduct
BAU, in line with other research institutions, has adopted comparable procedures to deal with research misconduct:
- A person suspecting a research misconduct should report the incident to the Deanship of Postgraduate Studies and Research to initiate an instantaneous investigation to look into the allegations to assess if it is a research misconduct and whether it is within the authority of BAU.
- The informant of the suspected misconduct should be treated with “fairness and respect” by BAU and efforts should be made to safeguard his/her job and reputation as necessary.
- The person suspected of research misconduct should be also protected and treated with “fairness and respect” by BAU.
- The person in charge of the investigation process should strive to maintain the confidentiality of both individuals.
- If the misconduct issue is a criminal one or exceeds the authority of BAU, the University should report the misconduct allegations to the proper authorities or bodies.