Research Misconduct

Misconduct in research means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion. Sponsoring agencies also have specific definitions of research misconduct. Investigators should carefully review Sonoma State University's campus policy on Misconduct in Research and Creative Activity.

SSU Policy Highlights

  • Policy is intended to conform to the requirements of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), the U.S. Public Health Service (“PHS”), the National Science Foundation (“NSF”) and federal regulations including, but not limited to, the “Responsibilities of Public Health Service Awardee and Applicant Institutions for Dealing with and Reporting Possible Misconduct in Science” and the “National Science Foundation regulations on Misconduct in Science and Engineering Research.”
  • To the degree it is legally permissible, if any provision of this policy conflicts with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Collective Bargaining Agreement shall take precedence.
  • Upon receipt of an allegation of misconduct in research or creative activity the RIO will inform the appropriate school Dean, the Senior Associate Vice President for University Personnel, the Provost, the individual or individuals against whom the allegation has been made, and all appropriate union representatives, associations, agencies and law enforcement authorities.

Federal Policy Guidance

Submit a Research Misconduct Complaint

If you are concerned that research misconduct has occurred or is occurring, you should submit your research misconduct concern to SSU's appointed Research Integrity Officer (RIO), Steve Karp, at or (707) 664-3715.

If you are unsure whether a suspected incident falls within the definition of research misconduct, you may meet with or contact the RIO to discuss the suspected research misconduct informally, which may include discussing it anonymously and/or hypothetically to the extent possible, under applicable laws, regulations, and policies. If the circumstances described by the individual do not meet the definition of research misconduct, the RIO will refer the individual or allegation to other offices or officials with responsibility for resolving the problem.

If you have determined that research misconduct has occurred, you (the complainant) should file a formal complaint to the RIO. The complaint should include a statement of the alleged misconduct and any other relevant information to the complainant’s allegation. After you have submitted your complaint the RIO will contact you to acknowledge receipt of your complaint, inform you of the next steps related to your complaint, and, if appropriate, request a meeting with you to request additional information related to your complaint.