The ethical conduct and reporting of research is a vital component for the public trust in and funding of academic research. Misconduct in research harms the individuals involved but also threatens the integrity of the department, college, university, and broader scientific community. University policies and procedures encompass the definition of what constitutes misconduct, the process of investigating misconduct and consequences of research misconduct.
Research Misconduct is fabrication, falsification of data and/or plagiarism in proposing, performing or reviewing research, or in reporting research results; however, it does NOT include honest errors, differences in opinion or authorship disputes.
- Fabrication is defined as making-up data or results or recording or reporting made-up data or results.
- Falsification is the act of manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record.
- Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.
*Please note, since research misconduct does NOT include honest errors, differences in opinion or authorship disputes, these are generally referred to the Department Chair/Administrator for resolution.
UNL’s Research Misconduct Policy covers all institutional members, regardless of funding, defined as any person who is employed by, is an agent of, or is affiliated by contract or agreement with UNL.
Institutional members could include, but are not limited to:
- Teaching staff
- Support staff
- Research coordinators
- Clinical technicians
- Postdoctoral and other fellows
- Sub-awardees and their employees
There are three basic phases to any research misconduct investigation once an allegation has been received (allegation, inquiry and investigation):
- The allegation is evaluated by the Research Integrity Officer to determine if it falls within the definition of research misconduct (fabrication, falsification and/or plagiarism).
- If the allegation falls within the definition, an inquiry process is initiated to gather information about the allegation.
- Based upon the findings of the inquiry, a formal investigation could be launched.
The UNL research misconduct policy prohibits institutional members from retaliating in any way against complainants, witnesses, or committee members. Institutional members are obligated to immediately report any alleged or apparent retaliation against complainants, witnesses or committee members to the Research Integrity Officer (RIO), who shall review the matter and, as necessary, make all reasonable and practical efforts to counter any potential or actual retaliation and protect and restore the position and reputation of the person against whom the retaliation is directed.
Policy & Resources
Research Compliance Services and the Office of Research & Economic Development treat all research misconduct allegations seriously and confidentially. All institutional members are obligated to promptly report observed, suspected, or apparent research misconduct to the Research Integrity Officer (RIO). If you would like to discuss or report a situation in which research misconduct has occurred please contact either the RIO or the Research Compliance Services Director. For additional information, please consult the UNL Research Misconduct Policy or the other resources below.
UNL Research Misconduct Policy (Updated 7/2023)
Office of Research Integrity (Department of Health and Human Services)
Office of Inspector General (National Science Foundation)
Research Integrity Officer
Jen Nelson, Ph.D.
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Office of Research and Economic Development
Lincoln, NE 68583
Director, Research Compliance Services
Sara Quinn, M.S., CCRP
Prem S. Paul Research Center at Whittier School
2200 Vine St. Ste. 275
P.O. Box 830863