Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct: Core Component 2.E

2.E - Core Component 2.E

The institution’s policies and procedures call for responsible acquisition, discovery and application of knowledge by its faculty, students and staff.

  1. The institution provides effective oversight and support services to ensure the integrity of research and scholarly practice conducted by its faculty, staff, and students.
  2. Students are offered guidance in the ethical use of information resources.
  3. The institution has and enforces policies on academic honesty and integrity.


2.E.1  The detailed framework for ethical and responsible conduct of research at ASU, whether funded by an external source or unfunded, is established in the policies assembled in the Research and Sponsored Projects Manual (RSP). To ensure that research at ASU is conducted according to these policies ethically and honestly, the institution has established the Office for Research and Sponsored Programs Administration (ORSPA), which is directly responsible for oversight in areas of research integrity. ORSPA reviews research proposals for activity where ethical and safety concerns might arise with respect to human subjects, biosafety, and general research activity; existing policies address how breaches of these policies are to be handled. Parts of the review processes are carried out through a set of boards and committees that provide expert review of proposals where concerns might arise. These groups include the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee  (IACUC), and the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). Following are minutes from select meetings: IRB (Bio) meetingIRB (Social Behavioral) meetingIACUC meeting, and IBC meeting.

Many health- and safety-related issues also are monitored by the Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC). Investigators who conduct research involving human subjects must complete online training offered through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI). ORSPA also initiates individual outreach by staff through daily consultation with researchers. The Institutional Review Board (IRB), established by RSP 201-01, guards the rights and safety of the human subjects of research projects in a manner consistent with ethical principles. ASU has negotiated federal-wide assurance with the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP), National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, so that ASU research practices comply with federal regulations in research involving human subjects, regardless of the project’s source of funding. Two committees comprise the Institutional Review Board: the Social Behavioral IRB and the Bioscience IRB. Protocols for dealing with human subjects are closely examined by the committees, and revisions and refinements are identified that must be made for the work to be performed.

All personnel including faculty, research associates, students, laboratory technicians, and teaching assistants who care for and/or use animals in research or teaching are certified through the Laboratory Animal Training Association (LATA) Program. The Institutional Care and Use Committee (IACUC) receives and reviews protocols or amendments for animal use. IACUC activities follow the policies and processes given in the ASU IACUC Policies and Procedures Manual.

Any research conducted at the institution involving recombinant DNA (rDNA), or the use of infectious agents, must be registered with the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). Such research must be consistent with the policies provided in the Department of Environmental Health & Safety Biosafety Manual, which also specifies the process by which proposed research activity is reviewed by the IBC. EHSS performs biosafety inspections of laboratories performing research with biological and rDNA materials at regular intervals, conducts interviews with researchers regarding the protocol-directed work, and provides training courses.

All employees of the institution are responsible for compliance with university and ABOR policies, federal law, and state statutes regarding conflicts of interest. Disclosures of financial interest are required prior to the submission of a proposal to certify that financial conflicts of interest will be satisfactorily managed, reduced, or eliminated prior to the expenditure of any funds awarded. All researchers who have a pending proposal or active award through the ASU ORSPA are required by federal law to complete an annual conflict of interest questionnaire to determine if they have any outside financial interests that could potentially conflict with their responsibilities at ASU; if the questionnaire reveals a conflict of interest, a conflict of interest disclosure form is required. The disclosure provides additional information to the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance (ORIA) who then determines whether there is a conflict to manage, reduce, or eliminate. In addition to the Conflict of Interest Annual Questionnaire, disclosures are submitted to ORIA based on employee self-disclosure, certification of a conflict on proposal processing forms, or a disclosure through Arizona Technology Enterprises, the group managing intellectual property for ASU. 

In 2012, in partnership with other administrative units, ORIA developed and instituted a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics Program governing the ethical conduct expected of all ASU employees engaged in research. The program includes the ASU Code of Business Conduct and Ethics Manual, summarizing the various policies and departmental function areas that oversee the ethical conduct policies to be followed.

2.E.2. and 2.E.3  The central role of faculty members and academic professionals in creating a culture of mutual respect within a community of scholars has led to the articulation of policies defining expectations for ethical and responsible conduct. The policies for faculty and academic professionals are provided in the Academic Affairs Manual (ACD), in particular in Chapter 200 of ACD. These policies protect academic freedom ACD 201, delineate academic responsibilities ACD 202, and provide a system of policies related to professional ethics, including a Code of Ethics ACD 204-01 and Standards for Professional Conduct ACD 204-02. Additional policies place restrictions on royalties from instructional materials and other materials sold and on gifts and gratuities ACD 204-06; define and prohibit acting upon conflicts of interest ACD 204-08; and (as provided by ABOR policy 6-914) provide protection from reprisal for “whistleblowing.” Inappropriate activity related to lobbying or promoting a partisan political view is addressed ACD 205. The institution’s Amorous Relationships policy ACD 402 bars faculty members from being involved in any way with grading, transfer, or evaluative functions for students with whom they have amorous relationships. Sanctions for breaches of these policies range from informal reprimand up to termination of employment.

Students are also obligated to act with academic integrity and honesty. The Student Code of Conduct SSM 104-01 includes expectations of academic conduct, and in turn, directly references the ABOR Student Code of Conduct; the first item under prohibited conduct Section 5-303 forbids “[a]ll forms of student academic dishonesty, including but not limited to, cheating, fabrication, facilitating academic dishonesty, and plagiarism.” Within ASU, the Student Academic Integrity Policy lists student obligations, the hearing processes, and the sanctions related to breaches of academic integrity. In addition, any student who accesses the information resources at ASU is advised in the proper and ethical use of those resources under the Computer, Internet, and Electronic Communications Policy ACD 125, the Misuse of University Assets Policy (ACD 123), Code of Ethics (ACD 204-01), and the ABOR Intellectual Property Policy (ABOR 6-908). Students who are concerned about the proper use of information are referred to the published library guide on copyright basics and academic integrity.

Responsibility for the communication, enforcement, and education about academic integrity expectations and policies is shared by the administration, faculty, and staff. The Office of the Executive Vice President and University Provost hosts a website devoted to providing guidance about avoiding academic dishonesty, and following ABOR Student Code of Conduct Policy. The same website also provides resources for faculty and teaching assistants to help them address issues of academic dishonesty. Students also receive information about the official policies related to academic integrity, including the Student Academic Integrity Policy, as well as the sanctions and impacts associated with breaches of those policies. Each college takes responsibility for its own review process to handle suspected violations of academic integrity, and each college posts on its web page (e.g., College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Academic Integrity) a statement of commitment to academic integrity, the expectations for undergraduate and graduate behavior, and how this policy is enforced within the structure of the college.

A student who violates both ASU’s Misconduct in Research Policy and the Student Academic Integrity Policy will be reviewed by both the college and the Office for Knowledge Enterprise Development. Each independently makes determinations concerning violations and appropriate sanctions. Sanctions for breaches of academic integrity can range from assigning a failing grade on an individual assignment in which dishonesty has been found by the instructor of the course, through assignment of an “XE” grade (failure for academic dishonesty) for the course(s) in which the infraction occurred, up to and including disbarment from ASU and degree revocation. The XE grade is recorded on the student's official and unofficial transcripts with the notation “failure due to academic dishonesty.” Indirect evidence of the effectiveness of these processes can be found by looking at the number of infractions dealt with by the various processes noted above (e.g., W. P. Carey School of Business 2016-17 Academic Report). No statistics are kept for sanctions less severe than the assignment of an XE grade. With respect to the XE sanction, during the period from summer 2012 to Spring 2017, 402 ASU students received the grade of XE. Degree revocation, arguably even more severe in consequences than the XE, occurs much less frequently; a total of 5 degrees have been revoked since 2007.