Misconduct in Academic Research
Description: Policy and procedure to adjudicate allegations of misconduct in academic research
Notes: Approved by Senate Committee on Research; Approved by Senate: 1994/06/23; Date Effective: 1994/06/23
Approval Authority: Senate
Signature: "Malcolm Ransom"
1. York University affirms that all members of the University have the obligation to maintain the highest standards of academic honesty. It is the responsibility of members of faculty and staff to follow acceptable standards of academic conduct and to foster it in others, and of students to be mindful of and abide by such standards.
2. The University incorporates by reference the regulations on scholarly conduct established by national and international agencies, which include but are not limited to the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Medical Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Council on Animal Care, and the policies of Senate and the relevant sections of the Collective Agreements between the University and its employees, as they exist from time to time.
3. "Misconduct in Academic Research" is defined as:
- (a) any conscious act of fabrication or plagiarism associated with the proposing, conducting or reporting or publication of research, but does not include differences in opinion, honest error or honest differences in interpretation or assessment of data or research results:
- (b) material failure to comply with federal or provincial regulations for the protection of researchers, human subjects or the public, or for the welfare of laboratory animals or material failure to meet other federal or provinical requirements that relate to the conduct of research;
- (c) failure to reveal to the sponsors any material conflict of interest which might be expected, on reasonable grounds, to be unknown to the sponsors and which might influence the sponsor's decisions on whether the researcher should be asked to undertake reviews of research, grant applications or to test products or services for sale or distribution to the public;
- (d) failure to reveal to the University any material financial interest in a business that contracts with the University to undertake research, particularly research involving business products, or to provide research related material or services. Material financial interest includes ownership, partnership, substantial investment whether equity or debt, a directorship, significant honoraria or consulting fees but does not include minor share holding in publicly traded corporations.
4. A finding of misconduct in academic research may lead to a variety of sanctions, ranging from warning or reprimand to dismissal as is appropriate to the circumstances, Senate procedures governing student academic misconduct, and the terms of any applicable collective agreements.
5. Information concerning a finding of misconduct will be communicated to relevant research funding agencies or councils in accordance with their requirements.
Procedures for Determining Misconduct in Academic Research
1. Applicability (This section pending further consultation and amendment)
These procedures govern the determination of misconduct in academic research by all University employees, and person employed under research grants by the University or by its faculty members, including persons who are also students at the University. However, students who have been alleged to have engaged in misconduct in academic research solely in their capacity as students, and in respect only to work related to the completion of their degree requirements, shall be governed by Faculty procedures for dealing with academic misconduct, and by the underlying Senate policy and procedures on which such Faculty procedures are based.
In cases where a conflict of jurisdiction arises, the Dean of the Faculty in which a student is registered may elect which procedures to follow.
2. Initiating an Inquiry
2.1 An allegation of misconduct in academic research shall be in writing and directed to the President. Within 10 days of the receipt of an allegation in writing, the President shall notify the individuals named therein with a copy of the document containing the allegation. The President shall decide whether the circumstances warrant an investigation.
2.2 The President's authority hereunder may be delegated.
3.1 Within 30 days of determining that an investigation is warranted, the President shall, in writing, so notify the persons involved and shall within 30 days of such notification, designate and convene an ad hoc committee of no fewer than 3 persons to conduct the investigation (the Committee). Some but not all of the members of the Committtee shall be from the same discipline as the person under investigation.
3.2 The Commitee shall have the discretion to establish in each case, a procedure suitable to the circumstances, provided that in every case, its discretion will be exercised with the following parameters:
- (a) before any determination is made, the person agannst whom the allegations are made shall have full disclosure of the allegations and evidence and an opportunity to answer in full;
- (b) time is of the essence;
- (c) the proceedings will remain confidential to the extent possible, with a view to protecting from persons not party to or witness in the proceeding the identity of the persons making the allegations and the person against whom the allegations are made.
3.3 In every case, the detailed procedures of the investigation shall be in accordance with the provisions of the applicable collective agreement and Faculty regulations.
4.1 At the conclusion of its investigation, the Committee shall report to the President, in writing, with its findings as to whether or not misconduct has occurred. Upon receipt of the Committtee's report, the President shall make a formal determination as to whether there has been misconduct.
4.2 If the determination is that the allegations should be dismissed, the file shall be closed.
4.3 If the determination is that the allegations disclose that there has been misconduct, the President shall determine an appropriate penalty.
4.4 In every case, the imposition of a sanction shall be in accordance with the provisions of the applicable collective agreement and Faculty regulations in force at the time of the imposition of the sanction.
5.1 Written records shall be kept of the inquiry and investigation and these records shall be kept as confidential files, for a mimimum of 3 years following the finding of misconduct or dismissal of the allegation.