Reporting Potential Research Misconduct

All potential research misconduct issues must go through the Office for Research Protections (ORP) to be handled by the Research Integrity Officer (RIO). As defined in Penn State Policy RP02 "Addressing Allegations of Research Misconduct," there are established procedures for addressing allegations and handling inquiries/investigations of research misconduct. Penn State's policy aligns with federal policies (e.g., PHS and NSF) on research misconduct. The ORP provides administrative support and oversight of this process. Learn more about the research misconduct process.

Anyone having reason to believe that a member of the faculty, staff, or student body has engaged in research misconduct has a responsibility to report pertinent facts in accordance with policy RP02.  To report concerns of potential misconduct: 

Read more about making anonymous complaints.

To report research concerns that are not research misconduct, please see the information at


Request a Consultation

It is the Research Integrity Officer's responsibility to assess whether or not a research concern falls within the definition of research misconduct. Anyone may request to consult with the RIO to discuss concerns about a research related matter by emailing Concerns discussed during consultations that appear to meet the definition of research misconduct will be subject to the procedures outlined in Penn State Policy PR02.  If the circumstances described do not meet the definition of research misconduct, but do raise other legitimate concerns, the RIO may refer the allegation to other offices or officials with responsibility for addressing the concerns. Individuals who would like to gather more information about the research misconduct process, but who are not ready to make a formal allegation, may present hypothetical situations and details during a consultation.

In addition to the research integrity consultations offered by the Research Integrity Officer, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) offers free Research Ethics Consultations to "help researchers and others involved in the research process identify practical solutions to ethical, policy and social challenges."

For more information, see our resources and tools to help you learn and teach about research misconduct. You can also request a group presentation or training on research misconduct led by our staff.


Retaliation and Confidentiality

Penn State Policy AD67 "encourage(s) and enables any member of the University faculty, staff, or student body to make Good Faith Reports of suspected Wrongful Conduct, and [protects] such individuals from Retaliation for making such reports." As outlined in policy RP02, "The RIO shall endeavor to protect the confidentiality of Respondents and Complainants, and of research subjects identifiable from research records or evidence, by limiting disclosure to those who need to know in order to carry out a thorough, competent, objective, and fair research misconduct proceeding."