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Research Misconduct

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What is research misconduct?

Research misconduct is falsification, fabrication, plagiarism, or other serious deviation from commonly accepted practices in the relevant scientific community for proposing, performing or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences in opinion.

Examples of Research Misconduct

  • Making up data
  • Altering data
  • Omitting or selectively reporting data
  • Plagiarism
  • Instructing to falsify or fabricate

How to report research misconduct

Reports can be made via online form or directly to the University’s Office for Research Integrity office.

File an Online Report

Reporter: Any individual can use EthicsPoint, which has anonymous reporting options.

Confidentiality: While such complaints will retain anonymity, the University's ability to investigate and respond to anonymous complaints is limited.

File an EthicsPoint Report

Report to Research Integrity Staff

Reporter: Any individual may report research misconduct.

Confidentiality: The Office for Research Integrity has an obligation to maintain strict confidentiality relative to any research misconduct allegations and proceedings.

Contact Research Integrity

Learn more about this issue

Additional information and resources can be found on Northwestern's Research Integrity website.

Support and Resources

Dealing with any compliance issue is difficult. The University has resources to help you deal with challenging situations.

Key University Contact

  • For general inquiries and concerns, contact the Office for Research Integrity at 312-503-0054 or
  • Northwestern's Research Integrity Officer is Lauran Qualkenbush, Senior Director, Research Integrity and Training. Contact her at 312-503-7908 or

Frequently Asked Questions

Who will see my report?

The Office for Research Integrity will review your report. Northwestern makes reasonable efforts to honor requests of anonymity to the extent possible consistent with a thorough, competent, objective, and fair research misconduct proceeding, and as allowed by law.

What will happen to me after I report?

If the complainant is known and not anonymous, the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) monitors the treatment of individuals who bring allegations of research misconduct and those who cooperate with inquiries or investigations.

Northwestern University ensures that these individuals are not retaliated against and the RIO reviews instances of alleged retaliation for appropriate action. Individuals should immediately report any alleged or apparent retaliation to the RIO. Under federal regulations and Northwestern policy, persons who raise allegations in good faith are protected from retaliation.

What are the next steps? Will I be told the resolution or outcome of what I shared?

You may be contacted by ORI staff to meet to discuss your concerns and explain the research misconduct process. If you decide to proceed as a complainant in the matter, you will be informed of the outcome at each stage of the process.

Know your rights: Northwestern's Non-Retaliation Policy

Northwestern's Policy on Non-Retaliation strictly prohibits retaliation against any member of its community for reporting or inquiring in good faith about suspected wrongful or unlawful activity, or participating in an investigation or proceeding related to such activity. The University considers such actions to be protected activities in which all members may freely engage without worry of negative consequences.