Members of the Cornell University community are expected to perform their scholarly and scientific activities with honesty, meet the highest ethical standards, and respect the appropriate standards of evidence and the contributions and scholarship of others. Following University Policy 1.2 on Research Integrity, the university will vigorously investigate allegations of research misconduct and research-related misconduct that contravene these expectations, taking all reasonable steps to protect the rights and interests of individuals whose work or performance is questioned. 

Definition of Research Misconduct and Research-Related Misconduct:

Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results, according to the Code of Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 93:

  1. Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
  2. Falsification is 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.
  3. Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

Research-related misconduct is defined in University Policy 1.2 on Research Integrity (Section 3, Definitions) and is summarized as follows: 

Any act that violates the standards of integrity in the conduct of scholarly and scientific research and communication outside the parameters of research misconduct as defined in this policy and relevant federal regulations. Examples of research-related misconduct can be found in Policy 1.2, Research Integrity, Section 3, Definitions). Research-related misconduct also includes any form of retaliation against a person who, while acting in good faith, provides information about suspected or alleged misconduct.

Research-related misconduct includes other unacceptable behaviors that Cornell has elected to prohibit that may appear in an academic environment. Cornell adheres to the procedures for investigating research misconduct allegations required by federal agencies as a condition of federal funding.

What constitutes Research Misconduct or Research-Related Misconduct?

A finding of research misconduct requires:

  • A significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community;
  • That the conduct was intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly committed; and
  • proven allegations by a preponderance of the evidence.

Misconduct does not include an unintentional error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.

What must I do if I encounter Research Misconduct or Research-Related Misconduct?

All members of the Cornell community have a responsibility to report suspected research misconduct or research-related misconduct under University Policy 1.2 on Research Integrity. Whether you are a faculty member, a member of the staff, or a student, you are encouraged to report the allegation to Cornell’s Research Integrity Officer. You can also make an anonymous report using Cornell EthicsPoint.