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Misconduct in research

Need assistance with misconduct in research?

Duke University policies and procedures governing misconduct in research establish how allegations or evidence of possible research misconduct will be addressed. 

Research misconduct is defined in accordance with federal policy as:

  • Fabrication: The making up of data or results and the recording or reporting them;
  • Falsification: The manipulation of research materials, equipment or processes, or the change or omission of data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record;
  • Plagiarism: The appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results or words without giving appropriate credit.

Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

Reporting Concerns or Allegations of Research Misconduct

Any individual having reason to believe that research misconduct has possibly occurred must report the matter to the misconduct review officer (MRO), their department chair or division chief, dean or other appropriate institutional official. Allegations brought to individuals other than a MRO will be promptly forwarded to the MRO.

Donna Kessler, Ph.D.
Research Integrity Officer, Misconduct Review Officer
(919) 668-5115

If an individual is unsure whether a suspected incident falls within the definition of research misconduct, he or she may meet with or contact the MRO to discuss the suspected research misconduct informally, which may include discussing it anonymously and/or hypothetically.

If the circumstances described by the individual do not meet the definition of research misconduct, the MRO will refer the individual or allegation to other offices or officials with responsibility for resolving the problem. At any time, individuals may have confidential discussions and consultations about concerns of possible misconduct with the MRO to discuss options and available procedures.

Concerns about research misconduct should be reported through the Integrity Line: 1-800-826-8109. The Integrity Line is a telephone hotline open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Individuals can call the hotline to report a concern without giving a name. Calls will not be traced. If an individual wants to leave his or her name to help answer questions about the situation, the information will be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law and / or institutional policies.

The Duke Values page also has information about Speak Up Reporting. To share a suggestion or concern, please complete the form on this page.