Research Integrity and Misconduct


Michael P. Wolcott

Michael P. Wolcott
Research Integrity Officer, WSU
Interim Vice President for Research, WSU
Regents Professor
509-335-5532 (W)

J. Levi O’Loughlin
Deputy Research Integrity Officer, WSU
Associate Director, WSU
University Biosafety Officer
509-335-1585 (W)

Emily Vander Zanden
Research Integrity Manager, WSU
509-335-5238 (W)

The Research Integrity Officer is responsible for assessing allegations to determine whether they fall within the definition of research misconduct and whether the allegation is sufficiently credible and specific to warrant an investigation. The research integrity officer (RIO) also oversees inquiries and investigations, including appointing expert members to inquiry and investigation committees. For more information, you can also review EP 33, “Responding to allegations of Research Misconduct.”

Concerns about possible research integrity and misconduct should be submitted to: or 509-335-5238.

What is Research Misconduct?

Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, 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, differences in opinion, or authorship disputes.

Examples include:

  • Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them.
  • Falsification is 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 the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.
  • Serious deviation from accepted practices includes but is not limited to:
    • Abusing confidentiality, including the use of ideas and preliminary data gained from:
      • Access to privileged information through the opportunity for editorial review of manuscripts submitted to journals; and
      • Peer review of proposals being considered for funding by agency panels or by internal committees, such as the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and the University Research Grants Committee.
    • Stealing, destroying, or damaging the research property of others with the intent to alter the research record; and
    • Directing, encouraging, or knowingly allowing others to engage in fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism.

Additional Training

For additional information on Research Misconduct, select the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) modules through CITI’s website. Choose the most applicable option to your field, as each include training for Research Misconduct. Access instructions are found here: CITI Training Resources | Office of Research Support and Operations | Washington State University (

Instructor-led training is also available via the Research Administration Series: Track 2: Session 06: Advanced – Research Misconduct Overview and Prevention – Human Resource Services, Washington State University (