Research Integrity, Ethics, and Misconduct

Promoting Professional Research with Integrity

Researchers should conduct their work in an honest and professional manner to ensure that the research they carry out is reliable. Integrity requires rigorous adherence to professional standards, honesty in reporting, and appropriate acknowledgment.

What Is Research Misconduct?

As noted in the Policy and Procedures on Integrity in Research and Publication, research misconduct includes fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research or in reporting research results.

  • Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
  • Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes or changing or omitting data or results such that the 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.
  • Research misconduct does not include honest error or difference of opinion.

Research misconduct also includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Intentionally misleading or deliberately false reporting of credentials and related information.
  • Abuse of confidentiality with respect to unpublished materials.
  • Misappropriation of research materials.
  • Evasion, or intentional failure to comply after notice with research regulations, such as those governing conflict of interest/commitment, human subjects, laboratory animals, new drugs, radioactive materials, genetically altered organisms, and safety.
  • Any other conduct that constitutes a serious deviation from accepted ethical guidelines and professional standards in scholarship and research.

Committed to the Ethical Conduct of Research

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is committed to the values expressed in its General Principles on the Ethical Conduct of Research and Scholarship to guide the research and scholarly activities of its students, staff, and faculty.

Researchers should conduct their work in an honest and professional manner to ensure that the research they carry out is reliable. Integrity requires rigorous adherence to the professional standards of a researcher’s particular field, honesty in the reporting of research methods and results, and appropriate acknowledgment of collaborators and funding sources.

Individuals in leadership or supervisory positions have a special obligation to foster academic integrity in their relationships and in their work. Violations of professional standards are a matter for peer review and censure; in some instances, they may be grounds for university disciplinary action. Most problems can be handled by informal mediation at the organizational level closest to the individuals involved.

The university has policies and procedures for responding to incidents of academic misconduct that cannot be handled by informal procedures or mediation. These are outlined in the University of Illinois System’s Policy and Procedures on Integrity in Research and Publication.


Christopher Lehmann
Research Integrity Officer
601 E. John Street, Fourth Floor


Responsible Conduct of Research Training

Principal investigators (PIs) of certain federal grants must ensure that research personnel who are paid from those funds are trained in the responsible conduct of research (RCR). It is important to note that each funding agency has its own specific training requirements. See below for an overview of each agency’s respective requirements as well as resources for helping you fulfill this important obligation.

Visit the RCR Reporting System


Additional Resources for RCR Training

The sites listed below provide resources to help principal investigators fulfill their obligation to provide training in the responsible conduct of research for their students, fellows, and staff. Please contact the Research Integrity Officer if you have any questions. Note regarding face-to-face training: NIH requires a face-to-face component for RCR training, though researchers who are not funded by NIH may also wish to provide face-to-face training for their trainees and support staff. This in-person training may take a variety of forms:

  • A formal course in the responsible conduct of research (check your department’s course catalog)
  • Departmental seminar(s) focusing on research integrity-related issues
  • Including research integrity topics in the syllabi of already-scheduled courses (such as courses in research methods)
  • Incorporating research integrity discussions into a regularly scheduled laboratory or departmental meetings

Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society

Associated with the Gies College of Business, the center promotes a professional's responsibility and accountability at both the individual and organizational level.

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative

All UIUC faculty, employees, and students have access to research ethics training through CITI.

Ethics CORE (Collaborative Online Resource Environment)

This national online ethics library contains courses, reference materials, and links to scholarly and research literature.

The Office of Research Integrity

ORI oversees research integrity activities for the Public Health Service (PHS), including investigations into research misconduct in research supported by PHS.

On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research

Developed by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institution of Medicine, On Being a Scientist supplements informal ethics training provided to graduate students and beginning researchers.

Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science

OEC provides case studies, multimedia, codes of ethics, instructor materials, and other resources that are of particular relevance to engineers and those in physical sciences.