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Research Misconduct

Research misconduct damages the scientific enterprise, is a potential misuse of taxpayer dollars, and undermines the trust of citizens in government-funded research. Pursuing allegations of research misconduct — plagiarism, fabrication, and falsification — continues to be a focus of our investigative work. 

 

What is research misconduct?

According to NSF's Research Misconduct regulation (45 C.F.R. part 689), it's "fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing or performing research funded by NSF, reviewing research proposals submitted to NSF, or in reporting research results funded by NSF." A finding of research misconduct requires proof by a preponderance of evidence that the act is a significant departure from accepted practices of the relevant research community and that the act be committed intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly.

How do you handle research misconduct allegations?

NSF's Research Misconduct regulation describes the procedures we follow in handling allegations of research misconduct. Our Dear Colleague Letter also explains our procedures.

What have you found?

Where can I find more information?

  • View our outreach presentations and articles for educational institutions and the research community.
  • NSF's Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) describes its policies about research misconduct, potential consequences of research misconduct, and grantee responsibilities.
  • The Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science contains resources for teaching and learning about ethics in engineering and science, as well as the responsible conduct of research. (Any opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in their material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation Office of Inspector General.)