General Misconduct and Questionable Research Practices

Other types of misconduct can occur in a research setting that do not rise to the level of falsification, fabrication, plagiarism, or deliberate interference with the integrity of the work of others. Attitudes and behaviors that may not fall within the definition of research misconduct, but are none-the-less corrosive to the research environment and constitute general misconduct, include, but are not limited to:

  • Carelessness or negligence in the handling of research results
  • Misappropriation of funds or equipment
  • Harassment
  • Vandalism
  • Unreported conflicts of interest

Most of these are offenses that violate legal statutes or Institute policies and can be addressed through established complaint and disciplinary procedures.

In addition to research misconduct and general misconduct, an MIT faculty committee on academic responsibility, chaired by Professor Sheila E. Widnall, also identified a set of generic practices for the proper performance of research and mentoring in its report, Fostering Academic Integrity: Report of the Committee on Academic Responsibility, pp. 9-11. Departments, centers, and laboratories are encouraged to discuss the thresholds at which deviations from the practices outlined in the report may constitute improper or questionable research practices. Such deviations would interfere with the responsible practice of research and should be strongly discouraged. Most disputes within groups about deviations from good practice can be resolved by informal discussions with supervisors, lab and center directors, or department heads.

Additional information and resources can be found on the Responsible and Ethical Conduct at MIT website