Scientific Ethics & Misconduct

Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar: Statement on handling of allegations of research misconduct. (Click here for Word format file)

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(This ILS statement has been adopted from and is identical in spirit and substantially in content to that of the statement by Department of Biotechnology, Government of India)
Throughout this statement, ILS means Director, Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneswar or any person specifically nominated under the authority of the Director, ILS.
The Institute of Life Sciences is keenly aware that science thrives on a foundation of integrity in its practice, record-keeping and interactions with colleagues. Integrity is naturally expected in communication science in seminars, meetings and in publications. This policy statement is intended to address situations where this foundation of integrity may be compromised. Training and mentoring at every level of one’s scientific career is important if instances of misconduct are to be unusual. The ILS expects that all its investigators have access to these and other statements on good research practices including statements in other countries – please see attached pdf files

  1. Research misconduct
    1. Research misconduct is defined by ILS as:Fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or deception in proposing, carrying out or reporting results of research or deliberate, dangerous or negligent deviations from accepted practices in carrying out research.
      It includes failure to follow established protocols if this failure results in unreasonable risk or harm to humans or the environment and facilitating of misconduct in research by collusion in, or concealment of, such actions by others.
      It also includes intentional, unauthorized use, disclosure or removal of, or damage to, research-related property of another, including apparatus, materials, writings, data, hardware or software or any other substances or devices used in or produced by the conduct of research.
      It does not include honest error or honest differences in the design, execution, interpretation or judgment in evaluating research methods or results or misconduct unrelated to the research process.
      Similarly it does not include poor research unless this encompasses the intention to deceive.
  2. Responsibilities of the organisation
    1. ILS considers that it is the responsibility of the organisation to investigate all allegations of research misconduct made against its staff and students and others working its laboratories. Findings of research misconduct would be matters for consideration under the Institute’s disciplinary procedures.
    2. ILS will also ensure that these processes contain provisions that apply to visiting researchers while based in the organisation and to the organisation’s staff while visiting elsewhere.
    3. It will be the responsibility of ILS, in confidence and without prejudice, at the earliest opportunity, about allegations of serious research misconduct that concern grant-holders whenever there is prima facie credibility in allegations of a serious nature. ILS will determine what constitutes ‘serious misconduct’ and to document it as part of its notified processes.
    4. ILS, an autonomous Institute under Department of Biotechnology, Government of India will inform DBT, Government of India (Only DBT, GoI) in confidence, of all instances of research misconduct involving grant-holders that have resulted in the allegations being substantiated, as well as of the outcome of the disciplinary process resultant therefrom.
    5. This policy statement ensures that research misconduct is taken seriously in the organisation and that any member of staff raising bona fide concerns can do so confidentially, and without fear of suffering any detriment, as also that mala fide allegations will invite disciplinary action.
  3. Principles for investigation of allegations of research misconduct
    1. ILS, where appropriate, will take legal advice on implementing these procedures to ensure that the procedures comply with all legal obligations for the conduct of such investigations from time to time in force.
    2. ILS endorses the following principles when implementing these procedures:• The responsibilities of those dealing with the allegation will be clear and understood by all interested parties
      • ILS will ensure an impartial and independent investigation and to ensure that line-management obligations or other interests of those dealing with the allegation do not conflict with these procedures
      • Individuals undertaking research at ILS will be contractually obliged to participate in and comply with these procedures,
      • ILS will consider the confidential nature of the investigation and safeguard the rights to confidentiality of the interested parties
      • ILS will ensure that all interested parties will be informed of the allegation at an appropriate stage in the proceedings and that anyone accused of misconduct will have the right to respond
      • The Institute will also ensure that no employee shall suffer a detriment who makes an allegation in good faith against another employee, but equally that disciplinary procedures are in place to deal with malicious allegations
      • The allegations will be dealt in a fair and timely manner through an external committee of experts (when required) and record of the proceedings will be kept
      • The outcome of investigation will be made known to all interested parties
      • Anyone found guilty of misconduct will have the right to an appeal
      • Wherever appropriate, efforts will be made to restore the reputation of the accused party if the allegation is not found to be correct.
  4. Sanctions
    1. Sanctions by ILS will be based on the outcome of investigations of complaints to be undertaken by a committee of experts.
    2. When institutional investigations reveal that the allegation of research misconduct are proved and substantiated, ILS will consider appropriate sanctions. These may include, but are not restricted to the following:• A letter of reprimand
      • Decreased allocation of funds and/or withdrawal of funding
      • Requiring withdrawal or correction of pending or published abstracts and papers emanating from the research in question
      • Changes to staffing of the particular project/investigator
      • Special monitoring of future work by an external committee
      • Barring from applying for extramural grant for stipulated period
      • Other appropriate administrative disciplinary procedures.