Approved: October 16, 2013
Reviewed: May 15, 2017
Next Scheduled Review: October 16, 2018
The credibility of academic research, scholarship and creative work depends on the integrity with which it is designed, conducted, documented and communicated. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) is responsible for promoting practices that encourage honesty and scientific integrity, and adopts this rule to address allegations or other indications of fraud or serious misconduct. TTI is committed to developing and maintaining ethical standards of research, scholarship and creative work and reporting abuse of those standards.
Reason for Rule
This rule implements System Policy 15.99.03, which addresses allegations of misconduct in research, scholarship and creative and applies to both non-sponsored and sponsored activities, regardless of the funding source.
Procedures and Responsibilities
TTI’s research, scholarship and creative work must be conducted under the highest standards of honesty and integrity and all data, primary sources, procedures and findings will be properly and thoroughly documented. TTI’s credibility and long-term reputation depend on the encouragement, enforcement and reward of superior ethical standards. Achieving high ethical standards should transcend considerations of finance, personal gain and short-term individual and institutional recognition.
2. DUTIES OF ETHICS OFFICER
TTI has appointed an Ethics Officer, who has decision-making authority for the resolution of issues related to ethics in research, scholarship and creative work. The duties of TTI’s Ethics Officer shall include those duties specified in System Regulation 15.99.03 – Ethics in Research Scholarship and Creative Work.
3. EVALUATING ALLEGATIONS OF MISCONDUCT
Upon receiving an allegation of misconduct in research, scholarship or creative work, the Ethics Officer will review and assess the allegation to determine whether:
- the allegation falls within the definition of misconduct in research, scholarship or creative work provided in this rule;
- the allegation is sufficiently credible and specific to warrant an inquiry; and
- federal funding is involved.
4. NOTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
The Ethics Officer will follow the notification requirements specified in system regulation 15.99.03.
The Ethics Officer shall facilitate the inquiry and follow the inquiry procedures established in system regulation 15.99.03. The inquiry report shall be directed to the Agency Director or designee.
If the findings of the inquiry provide sufficient basis for conducting an investigation, one shall be undertaken within 30 calendar days of the date the Agency Director is notified of the need for an investigation. An investigation committee shall be appointed by the Agency Director or designee. The investigation committee shall have at least three members, one or more of whom is a in the same discipline as the respondent (in the case of faculty or researchers), or a staff member whose discipline and job responsibilities are substantially similar to those of the respondent (in the case of staff members). The investigation committee shall follow those procedures applicable to investigations described in System Regulation 15.99.03.
The Agency Director or designee shall render a decision as required in System Regulation 15.99.03.
6. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
6.1 If the conclusion of an investigation is that the respondent did not commit misconduct in research, scholarship or creative work, TTI will develop a reasonable plan to restore the respondent’s reputation and research capabilities.
6.2 TTI shall take reasonable steps to protect complainants who make an allegation of misconduct in research, scholarship or creative work in good faith.
6.3 If it is determined that the complainant made allegations of misconduct in research, scholarship or creative work in bad faith, the complainant may be subject to disciplinary action.
Related Statutes, Policies, or Requirements
TTI will apply the definitions in System Regulation 15.99.03, except as provided below:
Respondent – individual(s) who is the subject of information provided by a complainant. This term includes staff and researchers. The term also includes students except as set out below:
If the alleged misconduct relates to course-related requirements, Texas A&M University’s rules for handling allegations of academic misconduct shall be applied unless the alleged misconduct relates to federally funded research or creative work, either by an active federal research project or the use of data or primary sources that were compiled in whole or in part with federal funds in which case the procedures set out in this rule apply.
If the alleged misconduct relates to the student’s degree requirements outside of course-related requirements, the allegation shall be forwarded to the designated officer for handling in accordance with Texas A&M University’s rules unless the alleged misconduct relates to federally funded research or creative work, either by an active federal research project or the use of data or primary sources that were compiled in whole or in part with federal funds in which case the procedures set out in this rule apply.