These policies and procedures represent an
evolving set of documents. The complexity of the subject matter is such that
the current policies and procedures will need a yearly formal review by the
senior research officer of the university with the advice of the faculty senate
and other bodies which have interest. This policy is intended to conform to all
laws and regulations, state or federal, regarding funded research.
(B) Policies and procedures regarding
conflicts of interest and/or commitment.
(1) Each university
employee will review and comply with these policies by promptly taking whatever
steps are required to avoid, eliminate, remediate or manage an actual conflict
of interest and/or commitment. This also includes graduate students, identified
as investigators on externally funded grants.
(2) On the first day of
May, each university employee will submit a potential conflict of
interest/commitment and request for preapproval of outside activities form
(yearly conflict of interest and commitment report) to her or his immediate
supervisor that discloses any outside activities that could represent a
conflict of interest and/or commitment seeking preapproval for the upcoming
year. In addition, employees are required to update the form during the course
of the year seeking preapproval for any additional proposed outside
(3) Written disclosure is
required pursuant to this rule during the individual's employment contract
when additional outside consulting activities arise that could represent a
conflict of interest and/or commitment.
(4) Outside consulting
activities of full-time employees will be governed by the
(a) All forms of outside activities that involve a time
commitment at the expense of an employee's primary responsibilities to the
university during an individual's employment contract must be
(b) The maximum allowable time permitted for outside consulting
activities is one day per week on average during the period of the university
academic-year or calendar year contract. Particular circumstances, including
but not limited to teaching assignments or other scheduled university duties
and/or the terms and conditions of support of university grants or contracts,
will be taken into account in approving such arrangements.
(c) The responsibilities and professional activities that
constitute an appropriate and primary commitment will differ across colleges,
schools, departments, and disciplines, but should be based on an understanding
among the employee, his/her department chair, dean or administrative
supervisor(s), and the executive vice president and chief administrative
officer, and in accord with university policies.
(d) University resources both human (e.g. students, support
staff) and material, may not be used for any purpose that is unrelated to the
mission of the university and neither for outside consulting nor for private
gain. This shall not apply to use of material resources used in a purely
trivial and incidental way.
(5) Failure to
pre-disclose and manage conflicts of interest and/or commitment may subject the
employee open to sanctions and possible legal actions. (As defined in
paragraphs (D)(3) and (D)(4) of this rule.)
(6) Outside activities in
violation of state or federal laws or regulations (including but not limited
to: "PHS Promoting Objectivity in Research, 42 U.S.C. 216, 289b-1, 299c-4;
Sec. 219, Tit. II, Div. D, Pub. L. 111-117, 123 Stat. 3034 (2012)";
"national science foundation investigator financial disclosure
policy," 59 fed. reg. 33,308 (1994) and 60 fed. reg. 35,820 (1995); Ohio
ethics law Chapter 102. of the Revised Code; and section 2921.42 and section
2921.43 of the Revised Code), subject an employee to discipline up to and
including termination of employment by the university.
(7) Managing potential
conflicts of interest and/or commitment requires timely and accurate
disclosure. Therefore, all university employees who engage in outside
activities are required to seek prior approval of those activities as they are
encountered in accordance with the following guidelines:
(a) Some outside activities, which might be considered conflicts
in a technical sense, are routinely allowable without permission but with
timely notice to the immediate supervisor because they are (i) accepted
practices and (ii) generally minimal in their personal financial impact and
impact on the university. Examples of such activities: public service in
community service agencies, royalties for published scholarly works or
institutional royalty sharing, honoraria, prizes and awards for professional
recognition, or routine activities for professional organizations and
(b) All forms of outside activities which do not fit the above
category and do involve (i) a time commitment of one day or less per week (on
average) during the employment contract during the period of the university
academic year or calendar year contract, and (ii) university employee
remuneration of less than ten thousand dollars from a single source during the
employees university contract period are to be reported to the employees
immediate supervisor. Disclosure reports are to be made in written form with
simple statements of what is being done, for whom, and at what level of
compensation (e.g., less than ten thousand dollars). If there is no significant
conflict of interest or commitment and the activities are common, the
supervisor shall so certify and file the report with signed certification in
the department or equivalent level personnel file. Certification is required
prior to an employee engaging in any such activity. Examples of such
activities: extensive activities for professional organizations and
(c) All other forms of outside activity which involve a time
commitment in excess of one day per week on average during the period of the
university academic year or calendar year contract or outside activities for
which an employee receives remuneration valued at ten thousand dollars or above
from a single source during the employees university contract period are to be
reported to the immediate supervisor (e.g., department chair or supervisor).
Disclosure reports are to be in written form with simple statements of what is
being done, for whom, and at what level of compensation (e.g., more than ten
thousand dollars). Preapproval is required prior to an employee engaging in any
such activity. If the immediate supervisor certifies, he/she will, with signed
certification forward the request to his/her immediate supervisor (e.g.,
college dean or division director). If the intermediate supervisor certifies,
he/she will report the request to the appropriate central administration
officer (e.g., executive vice president and chief administrative officer). The
request will be kept on file at that location.
(8) All university
employees are to complete the yearly potential conflict of interest/commitment
and request for preapproval of outside activities form on or before the first
of May and continue to update the form throughout the year. Completed reports
are to be sent to the employee's immediate supervisor for preapproval of
the activity. The employee's immediate supervisor will forward the report
to his/her immediate supervisor (i.e., college dean, division chair) for
preapproval who will, in turn, forward the report to the appropriate central
administrative officer (i.e., executive vice president and chief administrative
officer ) for final review and approval or denial. Forwarded annual disclosure
reports will be kept in the appropriate central administrative office. Nothing
in this paragraph shall be construed to prohibit disclosures required as
defined in paragraph (B)(17) of this rule.
University student assistants employed solely
on an hourly pay basis, part-time teaching faculty, and employees working less
than half-time are exempt from submitting the annual disclosure form but
nonetheless are to comply with the university's conflict of interest and
related policies. Questions or concerns of these persons on these matters are
to be referred to their department chair.
(9) University employees
with knowledge of an impending arrangement between the university and an
outside entity with which they or their family members have financial
interests, employment, or other involvements are to disclose those facts to
their administrative superior before the university approves the proposed
arrangement. Examples of such arrangements: gifts in kind, contributions;
sponsored research or other sponsored programs; patenting, licensing, or
technology transfer or other intellectual property agreements; procurement,
contracts, and/or subcontracts, and similar agreements as defined in paragraph
(H)(5) of this rule.
(10) The president, vice
presidents, deans, and other officers, as may be designated by the board of
trustees from time to time, are to submit for review and approval an annual
disclosure statement which includes memberships on any corporate boards,
partnerships, or associations held by such officers. In addition to any
proposed outside activities, including consulting, such disclosures also are to
identify any office or fiduciary relationship with a not-for-profit corporation
or public board or agency.
(11) No university
employee is to use or attempt to use his/her public position or state property,
including property leased by the state, to secure or attempt to secure anything
or the promise or offer of a thing of value that is of such a degree to
manifest an improper substantial influence upon him/her with respect to his/her
(12) No university
employee is to solicit or accept from any person or organization anything of
value pursuant to an expressed or implied understanding that his/her conduct of
university business would be influenced thereby.
(13) No university
employee is to intentionally use or disclose confidential or proprietary
university information and/or intellectual property in any way that could harm
the university or result in the receipt of anything of value for him/herself,
for his/her family member, or for any other person or organization with which
the university of Akron employee is associated as defined in paragraph (G)(5)
of this rule.
(14) No university
employee is to receive private financial gain arising from the sale of
textbooks or other materials used in a course in which the employee is an
instructor. When the employee as instructor believes that such textbook or
material is appropriate for the benefit of the students, the employee must
arrange either to (i) waive royalties or other type of personal financial gain
or (ii) designate the university or a recognized professional organization or
honorary to receive such royalties or gain. The latter option must ensure that
there will be no potential for future personal financial gain by the employee
from this classroom use. All proposed plans are to be submitted to the
university for prior approval through the department chair.
(15) Inventions and
patent rights of university employees developed or obtained during the course
of the individual's employment contract with the university belong to the
university unless otherwise stipulated in a specific written university patent
rights agreement signed by an authorized university official delegated such
authority by the university board of trustees. Computer software developed by
university employees during the course of the individual's employment
contract with the university or using university resources is the property of
Inventions or discoveries made using any
university facilities or other university resources belong to the university
even if the inventors are not university employees, unless otherwise stipulated
in a specific written university patent rights agreement signed by an
authorized university official delegated such authority by the university board
University intellectual property, including
inventions and computer software, is to be managed under rule 3359-02-05 of the
Administrative Code. The university will share with inventors and software
authors any net royalties or royalty-type income that may be gained as a direct
result of licensing or attempting to license the intellectual property.
University employees are to disclose in a
timely manner to the university: (a) their own creation or discovery of
inventions and computer software which are developed using university
resources, regardless of sponsorship; (b) any discoveries and inventions
utilizing university resources, including those resulting from their
participation in sponsored research or other sponsored programs, other
remunerative outside activities in their field of academic interest or
specialization, or any other activities of an outside commercial enterprise,
including any university employee-owned or employee-managed company; and/or (c)
the creation or discovery of inventions of any others associated with them when
that development involved any university resources.
No university employee is to provide
confidential or proprietary information including disclosures or other
information regarding inventions or other intellectual property, to a company
or other entity or its agents without prior disclosure to and specific
permission from the university board of trustees upon recommendation of the
vice president for research.
(16) University employees
who wish to propose or are involved in university sponsored research or other
sponsored programs are expected to review and adhere to all university
policies, procedures, and obligations related to proposing, managing, reporting
of results, and other aspects of such projects.
(17) The university
requires that investigators disclose to the university's director of the
office of research administration any potential conflicts of interest prior to
the submission of a proposal for funding. If a new conflict of interest arises
at any time during the period after submission of the proposal through the
period of award, the filing of a disclosure and immediate action toward
remediation is required. Each investigator must disclose all significant
financial interests including those of family members if legally required, as
well as any other potential conflicts of interest as defined in paragraphs
(G)(6) and (G)(20) of this rule.
(a) That would reasonably appear to be directly and significantly
affected by the research or educational activities funded, or proposed for
funding, by an external sponsor or
(b) In entities whose financial interests would reasonably appear
to be directly and significantly affected by such activities.
(18) Conflict policies
regarding research projects:
(a) University employees are prohibited from independently
submitting or negotiating proposals or contracts for any externally sponsored
research or other sponsored programs on behalf of the university. Proposals,
and any subsequent negotiations, awards, other agreements, or changes are to be
processed through and require the prior written authorization of the university
through the office of research administration.
(b) All university employee involvement in proposals for
sponsored research or other programs at other institutions must be approved in
advance through the office of research administration. University employee
involvement in a program or project at another institution that might be
conducted appropriately at the university of Akron as part of normal employee
duties could result in situations that place students and staff in conflicts of
interest, and deprive students and colleagues of the faculty members or other
employees primary intellectual energies. A bona fide subgrant or subcontract
agreement of equitable terms, normally involving one institution as fiscal
agent and the other(s) as subgrantee(s), negotiated in advance between the
university and the other institution(s), and naming the university employee
among the key personnel for the project, is an appropriate means for a
university employee or team to participate in inter-institutional research
projects or other sponsored programs.
(c) University employees must receive specific prior written
approval from the senior research officer to divert funded research
opportunities or other sponsored program support from the university to other
institutions or external entities.
(d) A university employee will inform students and all workers
engaged in research or other sponsored programs to be conducted under his or
her supervision of all details, policies, and procedures concerning the project
needed for the students and workers to perform their role. These include full
disclosure of the terms of the agreement in support of the activity, including
concerning copyrights or patent rights arising from the research; policies and
procedures governing scholarly misconduct; and other as applicable (e.g. health
and safety regulations, protection of human rights, ethical care and use of
animals, radiation safety, biohazard safety).
(e) It is the responsibility of each university employee to
disclose promptly to the senior research officer any situation or proposal in
which the objectivity of a university employee or participant in a research
project could be reasonably questioned.
(19) Conflicts involving
(a) University employees are prohibited from negotiating or
entering into contracts or other agreements which claim, imply, or appear to
involve the university, unless such actions are part of their official
university duties and within the scope of their employment. The board of
trustees and president will specifically delegate in writing those employees
with such signatory authority to contractually commit the
(b) University employees are prohibited from entering into a
contract (other than their employment contract) or lease (other than by student
employees for student housing) with the university, whether or not the contract
or lease derived in whole or part by university funds, except as otherwise
provided by law.
(c) No university employee, in their official capacity, in a
position to approve or influence a contract or lease may enter into such a
contract or lease which involves the university employees' family members,
business associates, or any organization with which the university employee is
associated whether or not the contract or lease derived in whole or in part
from university funds. It is the duty of each university employee to disclose
promptly any such proposed contract, lease, or similar relationship or
agreement to the university through the department chair or equivalent
immediate supervisor as defined in paragraph (H)(5) of this rule.
(20) Maintaining the
university as a community of scholars requires the free and open exchange of
ideas and the results of scholarly activities. To this end:
(a) University students and scholars involved in research have
the right to pursue topics of interest, have access to available information
and facilities, and to communicate the results of their work in accordance with
the law and university policies.
(b) University employees with outside business interests or
outside consulting activities must ensure that the activities of university
students, staff, post doctoral fellows, visiting scholars, and other employees
are not exploited by those outside interests and activities.
(c) All university employees have a right to know the source(s)
of funding that support their work.
(21) Employee pursuit of
a degree, when presenting a situation in which a possible conflict of interest
or conflict of commitment could reasonably be thought to exist requires prior
approval by the employee's immediate supervisor.
(22) No university
employee may give or accept anything of value that may substantially or
improperly influence him or her with respect to his or her university
(23) The university seal,
logo, trademarks, and all other university intellectual property may not be
used by any person, including any university employee outside his or her scope
of employment; not by any firm, corporation, or other entity without the
express written permission of the president or the president's
university's name will not be used by any employee for the purpose of
advertising outside the scope of one's employment by the university or in
relation to commercial ventures for private financial gain. In situations when
it is not clear whether or not the use of the university's name is
appropriate, the employee must obtain the written permission of the
(25) All equipment,
apparatus, museum materials, scientific collections, books, and other
university property are in the immediate care of the university employees of
the respective departments to which such materials belong. University employees
are expected to practice good stewardship in the use and care of university
(26) Nepotism is an
impermissible conflict of interest as defined in paragraph (G)(5) of this
(a) No university employee may participate, formally or
informally, in the decision to hire, retain, grant tenure to, promote,
determine salary of, discipline, renew, modify or terminate a family
member's individual employment with the university, or to renew, modify,
or terminate any other condition of employment.
(b) No university employee may give preferential or favored
treatment in the supervision or management of another university employee who
is a family member.
(c) No university employee may authorize or use his or her
authority, formally or informally, to secure authorization of any public
contract in which he or she or a family member has an interest.
(27) Service as an expert
witness in any civil or criminal case can be undertaken only when there is no
conflict of interest or conflict of commitment. If the university is involved
in the case as a named party, there must be prior disclosure and/or
(28) While executing
their university duties, university employees may not use their authority in an
exploitative manner in relationships with others.
(29) A whistle blower,
who raises or wishes to raise an allegation against a university
employee/employees, of a conflict of interest and/or conflict of commitment,
related wrongdoing, or of institutional conflict(s) of interest, must respect
the confidentiality of sensitive information and give legitimate institutional
structures an opportunity to resolve the matter. Whistle blowers and other
witnesses have the responsibility to raise their concerns honorably and with
foundation. The university has a duty to undertake review and actions as
appropriate and not to tolerate or engage in retaliation against whistle
blowers. This duty includes providing appropriate and timely relief to
ameliorate the consequences of actual or threatened reprisals, and holding
accountable those who retaliate.
(30) Responsibilities of
the department chair or equivalent are:
(a) To maintain a record of any outside activity disclosed by a
university employee under his/her direction.
(b) To act in good faith to assist the university in
implementation of this policy.
(c) To convey to the dean or administrative supervisor the
concerns they, or others, have with this policy.
(d) To review and forward to the dean and senior research officer
with his or her comments any case which appears to have a potential conflict of
interest or conflict of commitment. Such comments should include actions
recommended by the chair to manage or remedy the conflict(s).
(31) Responsibilities of
the dean or other administrative supervisor are:
(a) To maintain a record of any outside activity disclosed by a
university employee under his/her direction.
(b) To act in good faith to assist the university in
implementation of this policy.
(c) To convey to the executive vice president and chief
administrative officer the concerns they, or others, have with this
(d) To review and forward to the executive vice president and
chief administrative officer and senior research officer with his or her
comments any case which appears to have a potential conflict of interest or
conflict of commitment. Such comments should include actions recommended by the
dean to manage or remediate the conflict(s).
(32) The office of
research administration under this policy is responsible for providing
employees with the annual reporting form for each eligible employee under their
(C) Procedures for reports,
certifications, disclosures, and approvals.
(1) Disclosures and
requests for approvals are to be directed first to the immediate administrative
supervisor, as well as to the next higher level.
(2) Regardless of whether
the disclosure is disallowed or approved, the completed reports are to be sent
to the employee's immediate supervisor for preapproval. The
employee's immediate supervisor will forward the report to his/her
immediate supervisor (i.e., college dean, division chair) for preapproval who
will, in turn, forward the report to the appropriate central administrative
officer (i.e., executive vice president and chief administrative officer) for
final review and approval or denial. The executive vice president and chief
administrative officer shall use best efforts to complete such review within
thirty days from the date of receipt of the conflict disclosure forms.
Forwarded annual disclosure reports will be kept in the appropriate central
administrative office. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to prohibit
disclosures required as defined in paragraph (B)(17) of this rule.
(D) Procedure for investigation of alleged conflict of
interest or conflict of commitment.
(1) In cases in which an
allegation of misconduct by a university employee is made, the senior research
officer, general counsel or his designee(s) will take the following
(a) Notify the appropriate dean or vice president of the person
(b) Take appropriate interim actions to protect government and
university funds and assure that the purposes of any governmental financial
assistance are being carried out in the interim during the review process, as
defined in paragraph (D)(6) of this rule.
(c) Meet with both the complainant(s) and the subject(s) thereof.
Subject(s) of the allegations will be told, with specificity, the nature of
such allegations and be given full opportunity to respond. They will be
encouraged to supply any documentary information supportive of their position
and given a reasonable time (ten working days) within which to do so. They will
be encouraged to supply the names of any individuals or entities that could
supply information helpful to their position or to the full and complete
investigation of the matter. The individual who is charged may be accompanied
by legal counsel or other advisor during interviews with the committee and/or
individual members of the committee. The role of counsel or other advisor is
limited to observation and advising his/her client on responding to
(d) At this time the subject of investigation will be responsible
for all fees or expenses in his/her defense of allegations.
(2) Although a
whistleblower enjoys a privilege to report allegations of misconduct, the
office of research integrity states (position paper no. 1, the
whistleblower's conditional privilege to report allegations of scientific
misconduct, 1993), that abuse of the privilege may leave the whistleblower
liable for defamation. In addition, this may subject a whistleblower who abuses
the privilege to administrative action by the university as defined in
paragraph (F)(11) of this rule. If the allegation of misconduct by the
whistleblower proves unfounded, the university should take specific steps for
redress of the rights of the unjustly subject of investigation. Among
(a) The university will become responsible for the defense
expenses of the subject of investigation, if so ordered by a court of competent
(b) The subject of investigation will be given the option to take
legal action when appropriate, interview any identified witness(es) and review
any and all documentation that might have a bearing on the outcome of the
(c) The university will report to appropriate federal or state
agencies and university officials in accordance with federal and state
(3) If a university
employee is indeed found to have violated university policy or to have violated
the terms of a memorandum of understanding or other terms which were required
by the university in order to manage or eliminate a potential conflict of
interest or conflict of commitment, the provost, in consultation with the
senior research officer, the dean or administrative supervisor, the general
counsel, and the inquiry committee, may recommend to the president one or more
of the following disciplinary sanctions, for action by the university board of
(a) Formal reprimand.
(b) Suspension from the university for a definite
(c) Dismissal from the university.
(d) Other remedial, corrective, or other action which is deemed
(4) Illegal acts under
this policy may also be subject to prosecution by state and/or federal
authorities separate from any university disciplinary sanctions. A university
employee may appeal a negative decision and/or disciplinary sanctions in
writing to the president, with a copy to the provost, within fifteen days of
receipt of the notice of the decision. The president will consider the appeal
in consultation with the inquiry committee; chair, dean or administrative
supervisor, senior research officer, and/or provost as he or she deems
appropriate; and with the general counsel and any other upper management that
he or she deems appropriate. The president will provide a decision on the
appeal to the employee with a copy to the provost and general counsel, within
thirty days of receiving the appeal. The decision of the president will be
final, subject to the approval of the board of trustees.
(5) In cases of
allegation/accusation of wrongdoing, if as a result of this investigation the
allegations are found without merit, the matter will be expunged from all
personnel records of the subject of investigation, and the
allegation/accusation files will be sealed and delivered to the custody of the
office of general counsel. The university recognizes its responsibility to
report promptly to those involved, in public and/or in private as may be
appropriate, those allegations which prove to be unsubstantiated or
(6) All proceedings and
actions should be conducted in conformity with Revised Code and code of federal
regulations. If it becomes apparent during the course of any review, inquiry,
or investigation that there is illegal conduct or activity and/or that the
conduct indicated or complained of may be criminal in nature, the
university's general counsel will be immediately notified and provided all
information and documentation gathered during the investigatory process to
date. The decision of how the investigation should proceed, whether the
investigation is taken over by the general counsel or whether outside
authorities, including police or other law enforcement agencies, should be
notified and involved will be determined by the general counsel. Criminal
investigations, when necessary, take precedence over normal university academic
or advisory reviews. Sequencing of all other reviews which may be needed will
be coordinated among the senior research officer, provost, general counsel, and
(7) If a violation of
this policy involves a collateral proceeding under university policies
regarding scholarly misconduct, then the provost will defer a final decision on
sanctions until the scholarly misconduct inquiry and/or investigation process
is also completed.
(8) The detailed
documentation of any allegation/accusation, investigation, and determination
will be maintained by the office of general counsel of the university for at
least three years from the date of the determination, from the date of
acceptance of a final report by the federal office of research integrity or any
inspector(s) general involved, or at least three years from the termination
date of any related grant or contract, whichever date is later. Documentation
must be provided when required by law or upon request to authorized government
college, committee, and other university records are to be retained under
suitable confidentiality and may not be destroyed without the permission of the
university's general counsel and the university archivist.
(E) University principles for research and sponsored
(1) The university will
deal legally and ethically with external sponsors of research and sponsored
programs in ways that avoid institutional conflicts of interest. The same is
expected of project personnel and sponsors.
(2) The university will
not enter into agreements contrary to its mission.
(3) The university will
not accept an award for a project that is unacceptable to the principal
investigator. Once an award is accepted by the university, all parties are
expected to fulfill their respective obligations under that
(4) The university, its
faculty, and its students will retain the right to use all data for research
and educational purposes and to publish results in scholarly publications in
accord with university policies. A delay of no more than one year may be
mutually agreed upon to permit patent filings or other legal filings. To
restrict student theses or dissertations from public access for up to one year
to permit patent or other legal filings, a written request must be submitted to
the dean of the graduate school along with the final draft. The dean of the
graduate school will then forward all copies of the thesis or dissertation to
the university archivist with a request to withhold it from public access and
the open library shelves for up to one year.
participation of university students in sponsored research is
(6) In all cases, and at
a minimum, the university will retain a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free
right to practice and use patents, copyrights, all other intellectual property,
information and/or materials resulting from or related to any sponsored project
for research, testing, and educational purposes only.
(7) The university will
not enter into activities or agreements which could jeopardize its nonprofit
tax-exempt status or conflict with its required state of Ohio or federal cost
principles and/or accounting methods, including but not limited to United
States code of federal regulations title 2 part 220 regarding federal cost
principles for educational institutions and related administrative or
subsequent applicable governing regulations.
(8) The university will
not enter into activities or agreements which could jeopardize its eligibility
to receive federal or state funds.
(9) The university will
not enter into contracts which are not to be governed or construed under Ohio
(10) The university will
not accept contractual terms that require the university to indemnify or hold
harmless other parties.
(11) Title to
intellectual property rights resulting from sponsored projects is to vest with
the university. Any transfer of these rights to non-governmental entities is
subject to specific approval by the board of trustees of the university. An
option or a license may be negotiated in good faith and under reasonable terms
and rates to share rights through a license with the sponsor, on a
non-exclusive, exclusive-by-field-of-use, or similarly limited
(12) The university will
not enter into agreements in which the names of the parties or the facts and
terms of the agreement cannot be revealed, but the specific topic of the
research may be kept confidential.
(13) The university will
not make any warranties, express or implied, including but not limited to,
implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular
(14) The university
prohibits use of its name or marks or intellectual property by another without
its specific prior written permission.
(15) The university will
take title to all equipment and supplies acquired under any sponsored
agreement, unless covered under a specific and separate written agreement
executed by an authorized representative of the university and that
(16) The university
routinely utilizes the personal services of university employees, visiting
professionals, students and others who may not be United States citizens or
permanent resident aliens of the United States. Sponsoring or collaborating
agencies must assume responsibility for inquiry and/or waivers, in advance of
entering into any agreement with the university, under the federal export
administration regulations, international traffic in arms regulations, and/or
similar or subsequent regulations concerning participation in research by or
dissemination of data to foreign nationals.
(F) Policies and procedures governing scholarly
(1) While encouraging
freedom of inquiry, the university of Akron is committed to the scientific
method and the ethical conduct of research. Scholarly misconduct by employees,
visiting scholars, or students in research and scholarship broadly construed as
applying to scientific experimentation, artistic expression, and all other
areas of scholarship in any disciplines not in the spirit of the mission of the
university and therefore is not acceptable. The scholarly misconduct policy
governs any type of research or scholarship that is publicly disseminated,
either by presentation (formal or informal) or publication.
(2) Investigations of
alleged scholarly misconduct are conducted within the scope of the law and
limited to the discovery of information that would support or refute the
allegation. Adverse findings may provide grounds for disciplinary action, up to
and including dismissal from the university.
(3) Inquiry and
investigation procedures for scholarly misconduct relating to
university-related research or scholarship that is publicly
(a) Reports of alleged scholarly misconduct may be submitted in
writing to, and will be investigated under the direction of, the senior
research officer. In addition, the senior research officer, the provost, the
president, or board of trustees may themselves initiate such an investigation
without a written allegation.
(b) Investigations of alleged scholarly misconduct are conducted
by an impartial inquiry committee formed by the senior research officer. The
inquiry committee is advised by the office of the general counsel. Members of
the inquiry committee are individuals with no real or potential conflict of
interest with regard to the alleged misconduct, and with the necessary
background to investigate it.
(c) If the subject of investigation is an employee or assignee of
an academic unit, the inquiry committee consists of two full-time faculty
members from the college of primary appointment of the subject of investigation
and one full-time faculty member from each of three different colleges or
(d) If the subject of investigation is not an employee or
assignee of an academic unit, the inquiry committee consists of two members
appointed by the vice president to whom the subject of investigation reports
and three members appointed by the senior research officer.
(e) The composition of the inquiry committee is not necessarily
limited to university of Akron employees.
(f) The subject of the investigation may object to the selection
of specific members, with foundation, in writing to the senior research
(g) Inquiry committee chairs are elected by the committee. If the
subject of investigation is a faculty member, the chair's primary
appointment must be in a different college.
(h) If the inquiry raises questions about the protection of human
subjects, ethical animal care and use, radiation safety, biohazards, and/or
campus safety, the inquiry committee will contact the appropriate university
standing committee for assistance. At the request of the inquiry committee or
the senior research officer, a member of each appropriate standing committee
may be added as an ex-officio but non-voting member of the inquiry
(4) The guidelines for
the operation of the inquiry committee are as follows:
(a) The work of the inquiry committee is divided into two
processes. The process that occurs first is the preliminary review of charges
of scholarly misconduct to determine if a charge of misconduct will stand. The
second process that may occur is a formal investigation of charges of scholarly
(b) When charges of scholarly misconduct are filed against an
individual the senior research officer notifies the individual of the substance
of the charges in writing.
(c) The inquiry committee conducts interviews with appropriate
individuals and collects relevant information. The senior research officer
provides the committee with all information provided to him/her in the filing
of the charge. The provost or senior research officer shall provide assistance
and support to the inquiry committee when requested.
(d) The individual who is charged may be accompanied by legal
counsel or other advisor during interviews with the committee and/or individual
members of the committee. The role of counsel or other advisor is limited to
observation and advising his/her client on responding to
(e) After collection, review, and discussion of factual
information, the committee submits a written report of their findings to the
senior research officer and the individual charged with one of two
(i) The charges are
without merit and the matter should be expunged from all personnel records of
the individual charged and the files of the committee sealed and delivered to
general counsel or
(ii) The charges have
merit and warrant a formal investigation.
(f) The written report of the committee following the preliminary
review must be completed within thirty days of the notification of charges to
the individual by the senior research officer. The formal investigation must
begin within fifteen days from the completion of the preliminary review. A
written report of the formal investigation must be completed and submitted to
the senior research officer within sixty days of the notification of the
charges to the individual.
(g) Written reports of the committee must contain evidence
reviewed, summaries of all interviews conducted, and the
conclusion/recommendation of the committee.
(h) The senior research officer provides a copy of the
committee's report(s) to the individual charged.
(i) The individual charged can provide written comments on the
proceedings of the committee and these comments become part of the permanent
records of the committee's proceedings.
(j) If the recommendation of the committee, at the conclusion of
the preliminary inquiry, is that the charges are without merit and the matter
should be expunged from the personnel records of the individual charged and the
senior research officer does not agree with this recommendation, the senior
research officer informs the provost of such and directs the committee to begin
a formal investigation of the charges.
(k) The individual charged must be notified in writing that a
formal investigation is to be conducted. This notification includes details of
the charges of misconduct, summary of the general nature of the evidence
supporting the charges, and statements as to the rights of the individual
charged to (i) have a hearing, (ii) confront and cross-examine adverse
witnesses, (iii) be heard in person and (iv) present witnesses and documentary
evidence, and to have legal counsel at his or her expense with the same
limitations as in the preliminary review.
(l) If a formal investigation is to be held, the senior research
officer or designee takes appropriate administrative actions to protect federal
funds and to ensure that the purposes of any federal financial assistance is
being carried out. The federal office of research integrity, located within the
national institutes of health of the public health service, is notified that an
investigation is being conducted.
(i) The subject of
investigation may have private legal counsel, but the role of the subject of
investigation employee's legal counsel will be limited in the same manner
as in the initial inquiry.
(ii) The inquiry
committee will inform the senior research officer, who will promptly notify the
federal office of research integrity of:
(a) Any reasonable
indication of possible criminal violation.
(b) Any developments
during the investigation that disclose facts that may affect current or
potential federal funding for the individual(s) under investigation or facts
that the federal agency needs to know to ensure appropriate use of federal
funds and otherwise protect the public interest.
(iii) In executive
session the inquiry committee will seek, examine, and evaluate all relevant
facts, including but not limited to the charges, consider any written responses
to the charges by the subject of investigation, report by experts, advice of
consultants, etc. However, the subject of investigation has the right to
request a public hearing or a private hearing before the committee at which
time the subject of investigation will have the right to present any
explanation or rebuttal, to question any complainant, and to question the
(iv) For allegations
substantiated by the formal proceedings, the senior research officer will
inform appropriate funding agencies of the allegations and findings regarding
the scholarly misconduct.
(v) The senior research
officer will report findings and recommend further action to the
(vi) The provost may
recommend to the president one or more of the following disciplinary sanctions,
for action by the university board of trustees:
(b) Suspension from the
university for a definite period.
(c) Dismissal from the
(d) Other remedial,
corrective, or other action that is deemed appropriate.
(vii) Illegal acts may
also be subject to prosecution by state and/or federal
(viii) A university
employee may appeal a negative decision and/or disciplinary sanctions in
writing to the president, with a copy to the provost, within fifteen days of
receipt of the notice of the decision. The president may consider the case in
consultation with the committee, senior research officer, provost, chair, dean
or administrative supervisor, as he/she deems appropriate; and with the general
counsel. The president will provide a decision on the appeal to the subject of
investigation, with copy to the provost, senior research officer, and the
general counsel, within thirty days of receiving the appeal.
(ix) The decision of the
president will be final, subject to the approval of the board of
(5) If, as a result of
this investigation the allegations are found without merit, the matter will be
expunged from all current personnel records of the subject of investigation,
and the accusation file will be sealed and delivered to the custody of the
office of general counsel.
(6) The university will
report promptly to those involved, in public and/or in private as may be
appropriate, those allegations that prove to be unsubstantiated and those
allegations that are substantiated.
(7) If it becomes
apparent during the course of any review, inquiry, or investigation that there
are illegal issues and/or that the conduct indicated or complained of may be
criminal in nature, the university's general counsel should be immediately
notified and provided all information and documentation gathered during the
investigatory process to date. The decision of how the investigation should
proceed will be determined by the general counsel. Criminal investigations take
precedence over normal university academic or advisory reviews. Sequencing of
any other reviews will be coordinated among the senior research officer,
provost, general counsel, and president.
(8) If a violation of
this policy involves a collateral proceeding under university policies
regarding a conflict of interest or conflict of commitment, then the senior
research officer will institute the conflict of interest and/or conflict of
commitment review(s), but the provost will defer a final decision or sanctions
on that matter until the scholarly misconduct inquiry and/or investigation
procedure is completed.
(9) The detailed
documentation of any allegation, accusation, inquiry, investigation, and
determination will be maintained by the office of general counsel of the
university for at least three years from the date of determination, date of
acceptance of a final report if any from the federal office of research
integrity and/or any inspector(s) general involved, or at least three years
from the termination of any related grant or contract, whichever date is later.
Documentation must be provided when required by law or upon request of
authorized government authorities.
Departmental, college, committee, and other university records
are to be retained confidentially to the extent permitted by law and may not be
destroyed without the permission of the university's general counsel and
the university archivist.
(10) A whistleblower who
raises or wishes to raise an allegation against a university employee of
scholarly or scientific misconduct or related wrongdoing must respect the
confidentiality of sensitive information and give legitimate institutional
structures an opportunity to function in resolution of the matter.
Whistleblowers and other witnesses have responsibility to raise their concerns
honorably and only with foundation. The university has a duty to undertake
review and actions as appropriate and not to tolerate or engage in retaliation
against good-faith whistleblowers. This duty includes providing appropriate and
timely relief to ameliorate the consequences of actual or threatened reprisals,
and holding accountable those who retaliate. Although a whistleblower enjoys a
privilege to report allegations of misconduct, the office of research integrity
states (position paper no. 1, the whistleblower's conditional privilege to
report allegations of scientific misconduct, 1993), that abuse of the privilege
may leave the whistleblower liable for defamation. In addition, this may
subject a whistleblower who abuses the privilege to administrative action by
(1) Business associate-
Any person legally linked with the employee in business contracts,
partnerships, firms, enterprises, franchises, trusts, joint ventures, finances,
real estate, or in other for-profit legal entities or agreements.
(2) Compensation- money,
financial benefit or things of value. Compensation does not include
reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of
official duties or for actual and necessary expenses reimbursed for services to
non-profit organizations and outside professional associations and related
(3) Conflict of
commitment- a real or apparent competition of outside activities such that an
independent observer might reasonably question whether the employee's
professional actions or decisions are or will be adversely affected by
competing outside activities and interests to the detriment of the
employee's specific and primary duties to the university and its
(4) Conflict of interest-
a real or apparent divergence between a university employee's private
interests and his or her professional obligations to the university, such that
an independent observer might reasonably question whether the individual's
professional actions or decisions are or could be determined by considerations
of private gain rather than by potential benefit to the university
(5) Family member-
conflict of interest/commitment/nepotism- the "family" shall have the
same meaning as defined by section 2921.42 of Revised Code (grandparents,
parents, spouse, children, whether dependent or not, grandchildren, brothers
and sisters, or a person related by blood or marriage residing in the same
household). This will not apply in financial disclosures.
(6) Family member-
financial disclosure in connection with external funding - for purposes of
considering issues of disclosure of financial interest and financial
relationships, "family" shall be deemed to mean employee, spouse and
(7) Financial interest-
anything of monetary value, including but not limited to salary or other
payments for services (e.g., consulting fees); equity interests (e.g., stock
options or other ownership interests); intellectual property rights (e.g.,
patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and royalties from such rights);
and any other interest which an employee has in a business enterprise outside
property- an all-encompassing term now widely used to designate as a group at
least all of the following: patents or patentable inventions, trademarks,
copyrights, trade secrets, and the rights of publicity.
(9) Invention- a
discovery or development which may be patentable (novel, useful, and
non-obvious), and certain types of computer software.
(10) Investigator- a
principal investigator, project director, co-investigator, or any other person
at the university who is responsible for the design, conduct, or reporting of
research or educational activities funded by an external sponsor.
(11) License- a
permission to use a right to intellectual property under defined
(12) Mission- the
university's mission, including teaching; research; scholarly and creative
activities; and community and public service.
(13) Outside activities-
outside professional association activities and outside consulting
(14) Outside consulting
activities- activities of university employees, other than their employment
obligations to the university, performed for compensation above actual and
necessary expenses or honoraria. These do not include outside professional
association activities. These may or may not involve conflict of interest or
conflict of commitment, which may need management.
(15) Outside professional
association activities- uncompensated activities (except for actual and
necessary expenses and honoraria) such as, but not limited to, those involving
recognized professional associations and societies or scholarly or advisory
bodies related to academic work or disciplines; serving on public commissions
or boards of philanthropic organizations; presenting guest lectures or
scholarly papers at academic or professional conferences; leading or
participating in seminars, workshops, or short courses sponsored by academic,
government, or nonprofit organizations; serving on review panels or
accreditation teams; visiting colleagues or model programs at other
universities or public or nonprofit institutions. Such uncompensated activities
are not considered outside consulting activities.
(16) Private gain-
acquiring something of value, profiting, receiving payment, or otherwise
receiving some form of personal financial or material increase or compensation
for self or family member(s), from the university of Akron.
(17) Quarter- any three consecutive
(18) Scholarly misconduct- academic and/or
scientific misconduct construed so as to encompass misconduct in the physical
sciences, natural sciences, health sciences, social sciences, humanities,
professions, fine arts, applied arts, in artistic expression and in all other
academic fields within the university. Terms and categories of misconduct will
be deemed to have those meanings and interpretations as reflected by their
common usage and understanding in an academic and research community. At the
university of Akron, each department is the judge of these meanings and
interpretations. Scholarly misconduct is intended to include within it but is
not limited to the definitions of the American association of
universities' broad categories of classification of scientific misconduct
and the federal definitions as published by the national institutes of health
of the U.S. public health service, U.S. department of health and human
services, and of the national science foundation, as amended. Scholarly
(b) Falsification of discovery.
(c) Theft of another's discoveries, scholarly work, or
(d) Violation of accepted scientific procedures in making
(e) Falsification of data.
(f) Abuse of confidentiality.
(g) Practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly
accepted within the scientific or academic community or discipline for
proposing, conducting, or reporting research (not including honest error or
honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data) or in publication,
except that this is not intended to cover research or proposals or publications
that may be protected as an exercise in academic freedom.
(h) Material failure to comply with federal requirements,
including protection of researchers, human subjects, and the public; and/or to
ensure the welfare and ethical care and use of laboratory animals.
(i) Failure to meet other material legal requirements governing
research or sponsored programs.
(19) Senior research officer- the
university administrator named by the university to represent the university at
the Ohio board of regents as chief research officer.
(20) Significant financial interest- a
financial interest beyond the following:
(a) An equity interest in an entity that does business with the
university of Akron that, when aggregated for the employee and the
employee's family members, meets one of the following tests: exceeds ten
thousand dollars in value as determined through reference to public prices or
other reasonable measures of fair market value, and represents more than a five
per cent ownership interest in any single entity as defined in paragraph (G)(6)
of this rule.
(b) Salary, royalties, or other payments that, when aggregated
for the employee and the employee's family members, exceeds ten thousand
dollars in an entity doing business with the university of Akron.
(c) A significant financial interest does not
(i) Royalties or
royalty-type income/remuneration from the university itself.
(ii) Income from
seminars, lectures, or teaching engagements sponsored by public or nonprofit
(iii) Income from service
on advisory committees or review panels for public or nonprofit
(21) State- state of Ohio.
(22) Technology transfer- conveyance from
one party to another of knowledge, methods and/or materials used to apply
science, especially to industrial or commercial objectives; and/or conveyance
of intellectual property, whether through license or otherwise.
(23) University- the university of
(24) Whistleblower- a university employee
or student who reports what may be illegal or wrongful activities of the
university and/or its employees.
(25) Central administration officer -
executive vice president and chief administrative officer.