When warranted, the Provost or designee may empanel an Inquiry Committee to determine whether a finding of questionable or unacceptable research practices is justified. The Inquiry Committee shall be an ad hoc committee consisting of three (3) members. They will have seniority and experience at the University of Louisville, and shall be individuals with no real or apparent conflicts of interest in the case, are unbiased, and possessed of the necessary expertise to evaluate the evidence and issues related to the reported instance of questionable or unacceptable research practices, to interview the principals and key witnesses, and conduct the inquiry. The members may themselves be researchers or subject matter experts, be administrators, have legal training, or be otherwise qualified to serve as committee members. The Provost or designee shall make the appointments, following consultation with the appropriate vice president(s), dean(s) and chair(s).
The purpose of the inquiry is to explore in detail the reported instance of questionable or unacceptable research practices and to examine the evidence in depth, and to determine specifically whether questionable or unacceptable research practices have been committed, by whom, and to what extent. The inquiry will also determine whether there are additional instances of possible questionable or unacceptable research practices that would justify broadening the scope beyond the initial report. This may be particularly appropriate where the reported instance of questionable or unacceptable research practices involves clinical trials or potential harm to human subjects or the general public or if it affects research that forms the basis for public policy, clinical practice, or public health practice.
The inquiry will normally involve examination of all documents including, but not necessarily limited to, relevant research records, computer files, proposals, manuscripts, publications, correspondence, memoranda, and notes of telephone calls. At a minimum, the Inquiry Committee should interview the complainant/whistleblower, the respondent, and other individuals who might have information regarding the reported instance of questionable or unacceptable research practices. The inquiry will be conducted in a timely and confidential manner.
The Inquiry Committee will generate a report detailing the outcome of the inquiry and forward it to the Provost or designee. The report should contain the following elements: background information; description of the reported instance of questionable or unacceptable research practices; the inquiry process, findings, conclusions and recommendations regarding each reported instance of questionable or unacceptable research practices; the need, if any, for referral of any issue considered research misconduct to the Research Integrity Ombudsperson; and recommended sanctions or other actions, if any. The report should describe the policies and procedures under which the inquiry was conducted, describe how and from whom information relevant to the inquiry was obtained.
When there is a finding of questionable or unacceptable research practices, the Provost or designee shall determine whether sanctions will be imposed and the nature of those sanctions. The Provost or designee shall consult with legal counsel as needed and any other individuals necessary before reaching a decision as to appropriate action. Campus officials designated by the Provost or designee will implement the approved sanctions provide documentation to that effect.