Research Integrity, Ethics, and Misconduct

Promoting Professional Research with Integrity

Researchers should conduct their work in an honest and professional manner to ensure that the research they carry out is reliable. Integrity requires rigorous adherence to professional standards, honesty in reporting, and appropriate acknowledgment.

What Is Research Integrity?

As described in the Policy on Integrity in Research and Publication, research integrity means the conduct of research in an honest and professional manner. Practicing research integrity includes, but is not limited to:

  • Employing appropriate research methods for the field and experimental question.
  • Basing the conclusions on critical objective analysis of data.
  • Managing conflicts of interest and commitment.
  • Designing research to be replicable, when possible.
  • Promoting open access and sharing data as specified in institutional, sponsor, and publisher policies, or standard practices in the field.
  • Promoting intellectual and professional growth of mentees and adherence to the mutual responsibilities of mentors and trainees.
  • Protecting research subjects.
  • Maintaining a safe and inclusive research environment.
  • Conducting peer review in an unbiased, transparent manner.
  • Attributing authorship based on appropriate authorship criteria.
  • Attributing credit for work and ideas through proper acknowledgement and citation.
  • Respecting the ethical obligations regarding the societal impacts of research.
  • Complying with research regulations and guidelines.

Committed to the Ethical Conduct of Research

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is committed to the values expressed in its General Principles on the Ethical Conduct of Research and Scholarship to guide the research and scholarly activities of its students, staff, and faculty.

Individuals in leadership or supervisory positions have a special obligation to foster integrity in their relationships and in their work. Violations of professional standards are a matter for peer review and censure; in some instances, they may be grounds for university disciplinary action. Most problems can be handled by informal mediation at the organizational level closest to the individuals involved.

The university has policies and procedures for responding to incidents of alleged research misconduct. The University Board of Trustees approved the Policy on Integrity in Research and Publication (effective July 22, 2021). The policy directs each university to develop procedures consistent with federal law and guidance that include four phases of a Research Misconduct Proceeding: Assessment, Inquiry, Investigation, and Adjudication. UIUC is in the process of updating its procedures for adjudicating allegations of misconduct in research and publication. Until such procedures are approved, allegations of research misconduct will continue to be adjudicated following the University of Illinois System’s Policy and Procedures on Integrity in Research and Publication (effective August 28, 2009) to the extent they are consistent with the Policy approved in July 2021.


Christopher Lehmann
Research Integrity Officer
601 E. John Street, Fourth Floor


Responsible Conduct of Research Training

Principal investigators (PIs) of certain federal grants must ensure that research personnel who are paid from those funds are trained in the responsible conduct of research (RCR). It is important to note that each funding agency has its own specific training requirements. See below for an overview of each agency’s respective requirements as well as resources for helping you fulfill this important obligation.

Visit the RCR Reporting System


Additional Resources for RCR Training

The sites listed below provide resources to help principal investigators fulfill their obligation to provide training in the responsible conduct of research for their students, fellows, and staff. Please contact the Research Integrity Officer if you have any questions. Note regarding face-to-face training: NIH requires a face-to-face component for RCR training, though researchers who are not funded by NIH may also wish to provide face-to-face training for their trainees and support staff. This in-person training may take a variety of forms:

  • A formal course in the responsible conduct of research (check your department’s course catalog)
  • Departmental seminar(s) focusing on research integrity-related issues
  • Including research integrity topics in the syllabi of already-scheduled courses (such as courses in research methods)
  • Incorporating research integrity discussions into a regularly scheduled laboratory or departmental meetings

Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society

Associated with the Gies College of Business, the center promotes a professional's responsibility and accountability at both the individual and organizational level.

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative

All UIUC faculty, employees, and students have access to research ethics training through CITI.

Ethics CORE (Collaborative Online Resource Environment)

This national online ethics library contains courses, reference materials, and links to scholarly and research literature.

The Office of Research Integrity

ORI oversees research integrity activities for the Public Health Service (PHS), including investigations into research misconduct in research supported by PHS.

On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research

Developed by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institution of Medicine, On Being a Scientist supplements informal ethics training provided to graduate students and beginning researchers.

Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science

OEC provides case studies, multimedia, codes of ethics, instructor materials, and other resources that are of particular relevance to engineers and those in physical sciences.