Research Misconduct and Other Unethical Conduct

The integrity of the scientific enterprise requires adherence to the highest ethical standards in the conduct of research and research training. Therefore, students and other trainees conducting research are bound by the same ethical guidelines that apply to faculty investigators, based on the Public Health Service regulations dated May 17, 2005. 

Research misconduct is defined in the USPHS Policy as “fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.”3

These terms are defined as follows:

(a) fabrication - making up data or results and recording or reporting them;

(b) falsification - 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;

(c) plagiarism - the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit. Research misconduct does not include honest error or honest differences of opinion.


Misleading or fraudulent behavior, put simply, is lying, and includes acts contributing to or associated with lying. It takes on any form of fabrication, falsification or misrepresentation.

Examples include, but are not limited to: 

  • Reporting false information to gain an advantage;
  • Omitting information or data resulting in misrepresenting or distorting findings or conclusions;
  • Providing false information to explain lateness or to be excused from an assignment, class or clerkship function;
  • Falsely accusing another of misbehavior, or otherwise misrepresenting information about another;
  • Providing false information about oneself, such as on an application or as part of some competition;
  • Taking credit for accomplishments achieved by another;
  • Omitting relevant information about oneself.


Tampering is the unauthorized removal or alteration of University documents (e.g., library books, reference materials, official institutional forms, correspondence), software, equipment, or other academic-related materials, including other students’ work. It should be noted that tampering as a form of cheating may also be classified as criminal activity and may be subject to criminal prosecution.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Tearing out the pages of an article from a library journal;
  • Intentionally sabotaging another student’s work;
  • Altering a student’s academic transcript, letter of recommendation, or some other official college document;
  • Electronically changing another student’s or colleague’s files, data, assignments, or reports.


Academic integrity prohibits the making of unauthorized copies of copyrighted material, including software and any other non-print media. Individuals, under the legal doctrine of “fair use,” may make a copy of an article or copy small sections of a book for personal use, or may use an image to help teach a concept. Examples of copyright violations include:

  • Making or distributing copies of a copyrighted article for a group (on paper or electronically)
  • Disseminating an image or video of an artist’s work without permission (such as a Netter® or Adam® anatomical drawing)
  • Copying large sections of a book

The "fair use doctrine" regarding use of copyrighted materials can be found at the following link: