Handling misconduct

Each research operator (university, institution, agency, etc.) is and remains responsible for handling any misconduct brought to their attention within their organisation, and ensures that appropriate action is taken.

When a suspected violation is reported (plagiarism, falsification or fabrication of data, conflicts of interest, questionable research practices), the institution acts promptly to implement a procedure similar to an administrative investigation, under the operational responsibility of its research integrity officer. The investigation collects, examines and appraises the facts pertaining to the report, hearing witnesses and calling in experts where applicable. This investigation is conducted objectively, with due process and in a manner that respects the presumption of innocence and protects all those involved.

The results of the investigation are made public, ensuring the right balance between transparency and the protection of the persons involved (sources, witnesses and other people concerned, including the accused).

If the investigation confirms the allegation, all necessary measures are taken promptly from the academic (correction or withdrawal of the articles, for example), disciplinary and civil points of view, where applicable. In liaison with the OFIS, all the possible lessons are learned from each situation that is analysed, in order to improve the prevention of violations in the future.

Alongside OFIS, the role of the Professional Ethics Board set up on 7 May 2018 within the Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation is to draw particular attention to the articulation between the rights and obligations of public agents and the practices and particular demands of academic life. It focuses especially on conflicts of interests and plural activities.