Allegations of Research Misconduct SOP

This standard operating procedure (SOP) includes the following sections: Purpose, Procedure, Contacts, and Links.


To address allegations of research misconduct in work conducted with PHS funding or work submitted in applications or proposals that request PHS funding, regardless of whether the funds resulted in a grant, contract, cooperative agreement, or other form of NIH support.


Research misconduct is fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, reviewing, or reporting research.

  • Fabrication means making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
  • Falsification means 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 means appropriating another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has sole authority over investigations of research misconduct and will coordinate a response.

Go to the NIH Research Integrity website for more information on grantee, contractor, trainee, and investigator responsibilities, as well as details on NIH's role in handling research misconduct.


  • Immediately notify the NIAID research integrity officer (RIO) of any allegation of research misconduct.
  • If you do not receive a response within three business days, email the NIH extramural research integrity officer (ERIO) at


  • If you have any reason to suspect research misconduct, or you receive a report or allegation of research misconduct, follow the instructions above.
  • Advise anybody with an allegation to also contact the NIAID RIO.
  • Treat any information you receive about such allegations as strictly confidential. Discuss with only the RIO.
  • Do not take any of the following actions:
    • Divulge any other information
    • Express personal opinions
    • Attempt to investigate the allegation. Investigations fall within the exclusive purview of ORI
    • Request supporting documentation
    • Contact a principal investigator, contractor, scientific review officer, or reviewer
  • If contacted by the news media, Congressional representatives, other official sources within NIH or outside of NIH, or any other outside source such as the public, inform them of the following:
    • NIAID staff cannot acknowledge or deny an allegation
    • Only ORI has authority over investigations
    • They can get more information at the NIH Research Integrity website
    • If they wish to persist in their inquiry, they should contact the NIAID RIO
  • Grants management specialists can also read the GMP Office of Research Intergrity (ORI)—Misconduct in Science SOP.

NIAID Research Integrity Officer (RIO)

  • Send allegations to the ERIO using the Research Misconduct SharePoint System. ERIO works with ORI and other HHS staff to determine a response.
  • Ensure that NIAID enforces administrative actions, if any.
  • Represent NIAID on matters of research integrity policy through membership on the NIH Research Integrity Group.
  • Inform the director of the NIAID Office of Science Management and Operations of all investigations.


NIAID Research Integrity Officer (RIO)—Matthew Fenton

NIH Extramural Research Integrity Officer (ERIO)—

Director, Office of Science Management and Operations—John McGowan

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42 CFR 93—Public Health Service Policies on Research Misconduct

Bars to Grant Awards—Research Misconduct SOP

HHS Office of Research Integrity

Reporting Fraud, Waste, and Abuse SOP

Research Misconduct on the NIH extramural intranet

Content last reviewed on December 30, 2014