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Policy 150.50

Misconduct in Scholarly Work

Owner: Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer

  1. Introduction

    This Policy describes academic integrity and the procedures for handling misconduct in scholarly work at UMGC.

  2. Academic Integrity

    1. In accordance with the Board of Regents Policy III–1.00 Policy on Faculty, Student and Institutional Rights and Responsibility for Academic Integrity, approved on November 30, 1989, UMGC endeavors to foster academic integrity throughout the academic community.

    2. UMGC identifies academic integrity as the commitment to certain core values: truth, honesty, fairness, respect, and responsibility.

      1. Honesty and truthfulness: Express the truth, without deception, duplicity, cheating, and fraud. Be forthright in our interactions with each other, and making all reasonable efforts to fulfill our commitments.

      2. Fairness: Treat students, faculty and staff according to UMGC standards and policies, administered in an impartial manner.

      3. Respect: Foster an environment that enables honest and open communication, free from harassment and intimidation, where alternative points of view are treated with consideration, and the diversity of our academic community is appreciated, and where the work of others is acknowledged through the proper identification of sources.

      4. Responsibility: All members of the university community are held accountable for their work and actions. Academically dishonest behavior is not tolerated and is viewed as a breach of community ethical standards.

    3. Online resources to educate faculty, students and staff regarding academic integrity standards are located at Information and Library  Services and the Effective Writing Center.

  3. Misconduct in Scholarly Work

    1. In accordance with the Board of Regents Policy III–1.10 Misconduct in Scholarly Work, approved on November 30, 1989, UMGC has established this Policy to prevent scholarly misconduct, and to discover and censure instances of misconduct when they occur.

    2. These procedures apply to all UMGC faculty, staff, and students (for work performed outside of coursework) in the performance of scholarly or creative activity and/or research that is connected with UMGC or with a UMGC appointment. Conduct other than scholarly misconduct may be subject to review under other policies and procedures.

    3. Allegations of academic dishonesty performed by a student within a course are handled in accordance with Policy 150.25 Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism.

    4. In every case processed under this Policy, the burden of proof rests with the complainant. The complainant must establish the guilt of the person accused by clear and convincing evidence. In cases where the complainant wishes to remain anonymous, the burden of proof rests with the Assistant Vice President for Academic Integrity and Accountability (AVP/AIA) or designee, as appropriate. See Section VI. Handling Allegations of Scholarly Misconduct. If it is determined that the allegation was frivolous, mischievous or malicious, appropriate disciplinary action may be taken.

  4. Definitions

    1. See Section II. for Academic Integrity.

    2. Misconduct in scholarly work includes, but is not limited to, the following:

      1. Falsification of data, ranging from fabrication to deceptively selective reporting, including the purposeful omission of conflicting data with the intent to falsify results.

      2. Improper experimental manipulation. For example, manipulating experiments to obtain biased data.

      3. Plagiarism, defined as the intentional or unintentional presentation of another person's idea or product as one's own, includes but is not limited to the following: copying verbatim all or part of another's written work; using phrases, charts, figures, illustrations, or mathematical or scientific solutions without citing the source; paraphrasing ideas, conclusions, or research without citing the source; or using all or part of a literary plot, poem, film, musical score, or other artistic product without attributing the work to its creator. See also Section I. D. above.

      4. Improper assignment of credit. For example, knowingly failing to cite or insufficiently citing the work of others, including associates and students, or inadequately identifying the repetition of data or material that appears in more than one publication.

      5. Abuse of confidentiality. For example, improper use of information gained by privileged access, such as information obtained through service on peer review panels and editorial boards.

      6. Deliberate violation of regulations. For example, failure to comply with regulations concerning the use of human subjects, the care of animals, or health and safety of individuals and the environment.

      7. Misappropriation of funds or resources. For example, the misuse of funds for personal gain. 

    3. A conference is a communication between two or more individuals by telephone, in writing (including but not limited to e–mail, fax, or posted letter), through videoconferencing, net–meeting, or in person.

    4. "Faculty Inquiry Panel" refers to a group of at least six faculty members who shall be recommended by the Deans and Vice Presidents of each geographic region (Stateside, UMGC Asia, and UMGC Europe), and approved individually by the Academic Advisory Board. The panelist position will be held for a maximum of two years and may be renewed.

  5. Promotion of Professional Integrity

    UMGC will periodically evaluate procedures and practices that promote integrity in scholarly work, as well as practices that may inadvertently provide incentives for misconduct.

  6. Handling Allegations of Scholarly Misconduct

    1. Referral
      Within 30 calendar days of an alleged violation of scholarly misconduct, or when a person should have reasonably known of the misconduct, all UMGC faculty, staff, and students must report violations of this Policy in writing to the AVP/AIA or designee. All referrals will be treated as confidential.

    2. Inquiry

      1. The AVP/AIA or designee will immediately inform, in writing, the person accused of violating this Policy. The AVP/AIA or designee will also appoint an ad–hoc, three–member Inquiry Committee, consisting of appropriate exempt staff members and faculty members selected by the AVP/AIA or designee from the Faculty Inquiry Panel, to explore whether there was an incident of scholarly misconduct by the person accused. No member of the Inquiry Committee may be personally or professionally associated with the allegation.

      2. Within 30 calendar days of receipt of the referral, the Inquiry Committee will conduct a preliminary administrative inquiry to determine whether there is sufficient basis for the allegation to warrant a full investigation. All material reviewed by the Inquiry Committee will be considered confidential and shared only with those who need to know.

      3. The Inquiry Committee may communicate with the person accused and provide the opportunity to present any relevant evidence. Any person accused in an inquiry is required to cooperate in furnishing materials and responding to questions. Upon request, the person accused may see the information submitted against him or her relating to the violation of scholarly misconduct. However, the person accused will not have the right to see any information that violates the privacy rights of others. The Inquiry Committee will dismiss the referral if:

        1. The allegations, even if true, do not constitute violation of this Policy; or

        2. The original allegation was frivolous, mischievous or malicious; or

        3. There is no evidence of violation of this Policy based upon the inquiry conducted by the Inquiry Committee.

      4. The Inquiry Committee will inform the AVP/AIA or designee of its evaluation process and findings in writing, along with a recommendation with respect to any further investigation, the reasons for its recommendation, and whether any other actions should be taken if an investigation is not recommended. The AVP/AIA or designee will notify the complainant (if not submitted anonymously), the person accused, and the appropriate Dean as determined by the AVP/AIA or designee of the decision in writing within 40 calendar days of the referral.

    3. Investigation Committee

      1. If the Inquiry Committee determines that further investigation is warranted, the AVP/AIA or designee will notify the Deputy Chief Academic Officer (DCAO) or designee.

      2. Within 14 calendar days of the AVP/AIA's or designee’s notification, the DCAO or designee will appoint an ad–hoc, three–member Investigation Committee. The Investigation Committee may be advised by legal counsel during this process. If the alleged misconduct involves the performance of research or other scholarly work supported by an external sponsor, UMGC will also inform the sponsor, in writing, of the allegation and investigation procedure.

      3. The DCAO or designee will instruct the Investigation Committee to perform a thorough investigation to reach a firm conclusion about the validity of the allegation, or to be sure that further investigation could not alter an inconclusive result, within 30 calendar days of the appointment of the Investigation Committee. This investigation may require review of the materials obtained during the inquiry conducted by the Inquiry Committee; the collection and consideration of any other evidence relevant to the allegation; the holding of a fact–finding conference to interview individuals involved; and the seeking of an expert opinion from outside UMGC.

      4. Witnesses may be requested to submit to questioning, either in person, via video link, or in writing, by the Investigation Committee. The Investigation Committee will communicate with the person accused and complainant (if not anonymous) and give them the opportunity to present any relevant evidence. The person accused may submit questions in writing for the complainant regarding the report of scholarly misconduct.

      5. If a fact–finding conference is held, the person accused and complainant will be entitled to participate. The person accused or complainant may be accompanied by a representative, who may be an attorney, at his or her own expense. Representatives may advise during the course of a fact–finding conference, but shall not personally participate. Parties who wish to be accompanied by an attorney must so inform the DCAO or designee in writing at least five calendar days before the scheduled date of the meeting. Representatives may not appear in lieu of persons accused or complainants.

      6. After the investigation is complete, the Investigation Committee will deliberate. The Investigation Committee will render a recommendation to the DCAO or designee, in writing, that will include the process by which the decision was made. If the Investigation Committee finds the allegation to be supported by clear and convincing evidence, the Investigation Committee will recommend an appropriate sanction to the DCAO or designee. If the Investigation Committee finds that the allegation was frivolous, mischievous or malicious, it may recommend an appropriate sanction against the complainant to the DCAO or designee. The DCAO or designee will review the recommendations and render a decision and a sanction. See Section VII. Sanctions.

  7. Sanctions

    1. If the DCAO or designee determines that misconduct is not confirmed, the institution and person accused must consider whether a public announcement will be harmful or beneficial in restoring any reputation(s) that may have been damaged.

    2. If the DCAO or designee determines that the person accused is guilty of scholarly misconduct, disciplinary actions may include, but are not limited to, the following:

      1. Termination of employment.

      2. Removal from particular project.

      3. Letter of reprimand.

      4. Probation for a specified period with conditions specified.

      5. Suspension of rights and responsibilities for a specified period.

      6. Financial restitution.

      7. Removal from an academic program.

      8. Dismissal from the University.

    3. If the DCAO or designee determines that the allegation by the complainant was frivolous, mischievous or malicious, appropriate disciplinary action may be taken.

    4. Once the DCAO or designee renders a decision and sanction, the person accused, the complainant, and any other appropriate individuals, including applicable external sponsors and the appropriate Dean as determined by the DCAO or designee, will be notified in writing within 30 calendar days of the DCAO's receipt of the Investigation Committee's recommendation. Appeals regarding this decision may be addressed to the President.

  8. Appeals

    1. The person accused may appeal in writing to the President within 30 calendar days of the date of the DCAO's written decision and sanction. The President or designee will review all information and reports pertaining to the allegation. The President will render a decision and sanction based on this evidence within 30 calendar days of receipt of the appeal of the person accused. The President may render one of the following decisions:

      1. Affirm the finding and the sanction.

      2. Affirm the finding and reduce, but not eliminate, the sanction, if found to be grossly disproportionate to the offense.

      3. Remand the case to the Investigation Committee, if procedural errors or errors in interpretation of UMGC regulations were so substantial, or if new and significant evidence became available that could not have been discovered before or during the original inquiry.

      4. Dismiss the case.

    2. The decision of the President is final and is not itself appealable.

Original Policy Approval Date4/30/04
Substantive Revision Dates9/5/06
Technical Amendment Dates4/17/20