Scientific Integrity

USC expects all personnel to adhere to the highest ethical standards both in the conduct of research and in the management of related data.  Click on the links below for further guidance in these areas.

Policy on Scientific Misconduct

USC is committed to maintaining an environment that promotes high ethical standards in the conduct of research without inhibiting productivity or creativity of persons involved in research.  The university does not tolerate misconduct in any aspect of research, and has developed a scientific misconduct policy that sets out policies and procedures for fairly and uniformly investigating and reporting all instances of alleged or apparent misconduct involving research by members of the university community, regardless of funding source.

Under USC’s scientific misconduct policy, falsification, fabrication or plagiarism in connection with the proposal, performance or review of research, or in reporting its results, amounts to scientific misconduct when committed intentionally or with reckless disregard of accepted practices.

Allegations of research misconduct are investigated promptly and thoroughly, while taking into account the legitimate privacy interests of both those who bring allegations and those who face them.  USC does not tolerate any form of retaliation against those who make allegations of scientific misconduct, and likewise does not tolerate allegations of scientific misconduct that are made in bad faith.

A finding of scientific misconduct may lead to a range of disciplinary actions against those found to have engaged in it, up through and including dismissal from the university.  Under applicable regulations, USC also reports findings of research misconduct to federal agencies as required.

Policies and Procedures

USC’s policies and procedures related to scientific misconduct may be found in the USC Scientific Misconduct Policy (see link below).

Education and Training

The Office of Compliance has created a grants management education program, which is offered to all faculty, staff and students.  The program is comprised of an online course titled “Above Reproach: Ethical Conduct in Research,” which focuses on ethical issues related to the proposal, conduct and reporting of research.

Scientific Misconduct policy