Research Misconduct

Candice Yekel, Associate Vice President for Research and Director of the Office for Research Protections, is the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) for all of Penn State University, including the College of Medicine, Commonwealth campuses, and all institutes and labs. All research misconduct issues must go through the Office for Research Protections. 

About Research Misconduct

Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. The three types of misconduct are defined below:

Fabrication is defined as making up data or results and recording or reporting them.

Falsification is defined as 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 is defined as the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit. It does not include honest error or differences of opinion.

Note that research misconduct does not include authorship disputes. Utlize these Authorship Guidelines to prevent authorship issues. 

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.

See resources and tools to help you learn and teach about research misconduct. Request a group presentation or training on research misconduct led by our staff.

Research Misconduct and Students

Because multiple University policies or guidelines may apply to allegations and cases of student research misconduct, we have developed guidance to help determine the appropriate policy or procedure to initiate or follow.

Reporting Research Misconduct

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.

We encourage anyone wishing to make such a report to contact the Office for Research Protections directly at (814) 865-1775 or  Please also contact us directly for general questions regarding research misconduct and reporting.

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

You can also report using the Penn State Ethics Hotline at (800) 560-1637 or online.

Request a Confidential Consultation

If you are unsure whether a situation would be defined as research misconduct or have concerns about a research-related matter, you can request a confidential consultation with our Research Integrity Analyst.