Policy on Research Misconduct
Every author is expected to conduct research in accordance with the highest acceptable ethical standards practiced all over the world. Biomedica sanctions zero tolerance for research misconduct pre-publication and/or post-publication in any aspect of research, and demands prompt investigation, resolution and penalization for all such allegations under UHS Policy on Research Ethics in particular and Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) guidelines in general. It is the prime responsibility of Editor to determine whether or not an enquiry is warranted and to submit its final report when all necessary investigations, reviews, hearings, and appeals are dealt with. In all such cases, Biomedica encourages and expects that all members of the scientific community liaise in reporting and/or responding to suspected Research Misconduct activity within its purview while adhering to the final decision taken under this Policy.
Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. It does not include honest error or honest differences of opinion. Research Misconduct is said to have occurred if:
- there is a significant deviation from the existing ethical practices of research
- the misconduct is committed intentionally, knowingly, or by negligence
- the allegation be verified and proven by preponderance of the evidence provided.
Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them in deviation from originality.
Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the credit of authorship or impact of research is not accurately represented in the research record.
Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.
Allegation means a disclosure of possible Research Misconduct through any means of communication. The disclosure may be by written, electronic, or oral statement or any other modes of communication made in confidentiality or publically.
Breach of Confidentiality means any deviation from non-disclosure / confidentiality agreement between the Journal and the person (Author/Reviewer/Editorial member, Publisher, IT manager etc) in relation to the research record submitted.
Research Record means the record of data or results that embody the facts resulting from a research, including, but not limited to, research proposals, laboratory records, both physical and electronic, progress reports, abstracts, theses, oral presentations, internal reports, journal articles, and any documents and materials provided in the course of submission of manuscript or during an enquiry.
Impact of the Research Misconduct involves (but not limited to):
- The degree to which the misconduct was knowing, intentional, or because of negligence
- Whether the misconduct was an isolated event or part of an arrangement
- If the misconduct had a significant impact on the research record, research subjects, other researchers, institution(s), or the public welfare.
- If there is an immediate public safety or health risk involved, including an immediate need to protect human or animal subjects.
- If there is a need to suspend research activities by the delinquent person or a group
- If there is a need for reporting to and asking for an action by the other stakeholder organizations e.g funding agencies, scientific councils/associations/commissions, employers, and/or research monitoring agencies etc
SOPS FOR HANDLING RESEARCH MISCONDUCT
Any application relating to disclosure of Research Misconduct1 shall be submitted to Complaint Cell of Biomedica. Mode of complaint submission must be written or a statement through electronic media.
If desired, name of the complainant may remain confidential, in good faith, to the extent possible and allowed by law.
Editor after receipt of application and deliberation with the complainant determines whether or not this allegation falls absolutely under Research Misconduct1 and warrants further enquiry.
Editor shall be responsible for pursuit of such allegation while probing the matter for identification of the delinquent subject(s) through research record(s) or any other evidence provided.
Each allegation shall be handled according to Journal policy adapted from COPE Guidelines
During Enquiry, maintenance of custody and appropriate compilation of the research record (for further presentation) shall be managed by a designated member of Editorial Board.
After thorough deliberation, Editorial team shall decide that:
- the allegation of misconduct cannot be substantiated and hence dismissed whereby no OR further action is required against the complainant for misleading the Editorial Board and submitting false allegation
- the allegation is corroborated and requires further course of action according to COPE guidelines while taking into account the seriousness/impact8 of the misconduct.
Final Investigatory Report with its recommendations, shall be submitted by Editor to the Disciplinary Committee of UHS and a copy for information may be submitted to Ethical Review Committee of UHS. The final Investigatory Report shall include the following information:
- The name(s) and position(s) of the Complainant(s), if not confidential
- The name(s) and position(s) of the Respondents
- A description of nature of each Allegation of Research Misconduct1
- A summary of the steps taken during the Enquiry
- Identification and summary of the research records and evidence reviewed and taken into custody
- A summary of the results of the Enquiry considering the merits of any reasonable explanation by the respondent(s)
- A final recommendation as to whether the allegations were made in good faith and/or punishment is warranted based on the 8impact of research misconduct.
- Any significant written comments or statements made and signed by the Respondent(s) or Complainant(s)
- Upon receipt of the Investigatory Report, Disciplinary Committee of UHS with Editor Biomedica as a Co-opted Member shall propose to take punitive action against the offender, if offense is proved, that may include but not limited to:
- A reprimand in the name of the offender(s) –
- Official information to the organization/institute where author(s) is employed / enrolled with a strong recommendation that a disciplinary action against the offender may be taken by the respective Institute and/or Organization as per its policy and its report may be shared with Editor Biomedica in due course of time.
- Withdrawal or retraction of the manuscript or any other published/disseminated material with addition of Retraction Note on journal website. (Refer to Biomedica Policy on Retraction)
- Black listing from the Journal as an Author and/or Reviewer on permanent basis which may be published in the print media or may be publicized on different websites at the discretion of the Vice-Chancellor.
- The offender will be asked to write a formal letter of apology to the victim and the Editorial Board for breaching the copyright and/or non-disclosure agreement.
- Prosecution by a Tribunal court if infringement of intellectual property rights has occurred. (Refer to UHS IP Rights Policy)
- Any further action as suggested by COPE guidelines or HEC Plagiarism Policy may be adopted. (see Flow Charts below)
The decision of Disciplinary Committee shall be forwarded to the Director QEC of UHS for onwards submission to HEC that may take any further action in this regards (See Biomedica Policy on Plagiarism)
Right to Appeal: The affected person(s) will have the right to appeal to the Chairman HEC / Vice Chancellor / Rector / Head of the Organization for a review of the findings or may submit a mercy petition within 30 days from the date of final notification. Such appeals / petitions will be disposed-off within 60 days of receipt by the Disciplinary Committee of UHS as per the laid down regulations regarding such appeals.
JOURNAL POLICY ON HANDLING MISCONDUCT (COPE Guidelines)
If plagiarism in a submitted manuscript is suspected:
If fabricated data is suspected in a submitted manuscript:
If fabricated data is suspected in a published manuscript:
If image manipulation in a published article is suspected:
If redundant publication in a published manuscript is suspected:
If an ethical problem in a manuscript is suspected:
If peer review manipulation is suspected:
Recognising potential authorship problems:
If ghost, guest or gift authorship is suspected:
If corresponding author requests removal of author before publication:
If corresponding author requests removal of author after publication:
If corresponding author requests addition of extra author(s) after publication:
If undisclosed conflict of interest in a submitted manuscript is suspected:
If undisclosed conflict of interest in a published article is suspected:
Responding to concerns raised after publication:
1. World Association of Medical Editors. Publication ethics policies for medical journals. (Online) (Cited 2019 December). Available from URL: http://wwwwameorg/resources/publication-ethics-policies-for-medical-journals
2. Parrish D, Noonan B. Image manipulation as research misconduct. Sci Eng Ethics 2009; 15: 161-7.
Other reading material:
Little Book of Plagiarism. A publication of Leeds, Metropolitan University. 6th edition, September 2017.
HEC Plagiarism Policy: file:///D:/UHS%20Committee/Biomedica/Plagiarism%20Policy.pdf