Policy Statement on the Integrity of Scholarship

Applies to: Faculty, students, other trainees, staff, and all other members of the University of Michigan’s academic community

A.  Introduction

Integrity in scholarship and research is a fundamental value upon which the University is founded. Without integrity, we cannot justify the privilege of academic freedom intrinsic to scholarship and research, nor can we provide to society the advancements of knowledge that derive from free and open inquiry.

It is, therefore, a fundamental responsibility of the faculty, staff, students, and administration of the University of Michigan to maintain the trust of the public in all research and scholarly activity. It is the shared responsibility of all members of our academic community to ensure that misconduct in scholarship and research is dealt with in a timely and effective manner, and that the reputation of the University for high standards of scholarly and research integrity is preserved.

At the University of Michigan, misconduct in the pursuit of scholarship and research (henceforth termed research misconduct) is generally defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing or reviewing research or in reporting research results. Research misconduct does not include honest error, author disputes, or differences of interpretation inherent in the scientific and creative process that are normally corrected through further research and scholarship.  For definitions of italicized terms, see Section B of the associated procedures:  Definition of Research Misconduct.

The purpose of this policy is to reaffirm the University’s commitment to integrity of research and scholarship, and outline the principles that govern the procedures that will be followed in the University’s review of allegations of research misconduct. These principles are outlined in Section B of this policy, while the review procedures may be found on the University’s Research Integrity web page.

B.  General Principles

The principles set forth in this policy apply to allegations of research misconduct in connection with any research conducted at the University of Michigan, regardless of the presence or absence of external funding or sponsorship of the specific research project.

Federal requirements: The National Science Foundation, the Public Health Service, and other federal agencies have published formal regulations regarding the investigation of allegations of research misconduct in the context of activities supported by those agencies (See Exhibit A). The University will comply with those statutory and regulatory requirements if applicable.

  1. Requirements for findings of research misconduct:  A finding of research misconduct requires a determination that there has been a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant academic community; that the research misconduct was committed intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly; and that the allegation has been proved by a preponderance of evidence.
  2. Handling of questionable research practices:  Concerns in the context of research and scholarship that do not rise to the level of research misconduct, such as carelessness or questionable research practices, as well as authorship disputes, will generally be handled through the appropriate administrative channels. 
  3. Whistleblower protection:  It is a violation of University policy to retaliate against a complainant for reporting in good faith an allegation of research misconduct.
  4. Unsupported allegations:  Complainants, respondents, and other participants in the research misconduct review process are expected to act in good faith throughout.  Failure to act in good faith may lead to disciplinary action.
  5. Prompt reporting:  Prompt reporting of research misconduct is critical for ensuring timely and appropriate fact gathering.

C.  Sanctions

The University may take disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, upon a finding of research misconduct.

D.    Procedures

        Procedures for SPG 303.03 

SPG Number
Date Issued
Last Updated
Next Review Date
Applies To
Faculty, students, other trainees, staff, and all other members of the University of Michigan’s academic community
Office of the Vice President for Research
Primary Contact
Office of the Vice President for Research