Skip to main content

Research Misconduct

Research Misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, plagiarism or other serious deviation from accepted practices in proposing, carrying out or reporting results from research.

  • 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.

It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments in evaluating research methods and results.

Rush takes the matter of research misconduct seriously. Regulations (42 CFR 93) require federally funded research centers to have a policy, procedure and a Research Integrity Officer (RIO) to address allegations of research misconduct. Rush’s policy is CC-RC-0009: Research Misconduct: Policy for Review and Reporting Allegations.

ORI Research Misconduct Resources

Reporting an Allegation

If you believe that research misconduct has occurred or is occurring, notify the Research Integrity Officer, Colleen Sowinski, MBA, MPH, CCRP, CHRC. Research misconduct allegations may be submitted in one of the following manners:

  • Email Colleen Sowinski
  • Call (312) 942-18314
  • Physically drop off a hard copy of the allegation at Suite 601 of the Jelke Building
  • Forward the complaint to the Rush 24-hour hotline at (877) 787-4009.  Please note, complaints made through the hotline must have enough detailed information to allow assessment.
  • Hotline reporting can be done online.  Click Here

Other recipients of allegations must forward the allegation to the RIO within two business days of receipt of the allegation (assuming that the research integrity officer is not the original recipient of the allegation).

Allegations should be made in good faith and be substantiated by information or some form of proof, such as documents or statements that would enable the RIO to begin the initial assessment.

The allegation must include the following, at a minimum:

  • Name or description of the research study involved
  • Name of the respondent if known
  • Date or time frame when the alleged research misconduct occurred
  • Description of the research misconduct
  • Description of how the complainant learned of the alleged research misconduct (i.e., eyewitness, second-hand account, reviewed documents, etc.)

Although you may submit anonymous allegations, Rush discourages this practice as such allegations may be more difficult to review and assess.

This flow diagram visualizes the research misconduct review and process.


For a comprehensive review of regulatory requirements on research misconduct, visit the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity website.

For an in-depth understanding of Rush’s policy and process regarding allegations made pertaining to research misconduct, please refer to Research Misconduct: Policy For Review and Reporting Allegations.