Research Misconduct Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Research Misconduct Hotline



1. What is the UK Research Misconduct Hotline?

The UK Research Misconduct Hotline is an anonymous way to report concerns about research misconduct issues (i.e. falsification, fabrication, and plagiarism) that you are not comfortable discussing with your immediate supervisor, higher-level management, or other support units within UK.  To file a report by phone or online call the toll-free number or click on the "File a Report Online" button on the right.

  • Falsification: 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;
  • Fabrication: making up data or results and recording or reporting them;
  • Plagiarism: the appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit.

**Please note: Research misconduct does not include honest error or differences of opinion.


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2. Why does UK have a Research Misconduct Hotline?

The Research Misconduct Hotline is an additional mechanism for individuals to report concerns of potential research misconduct to ensure that, if they are not comfortable discussing these matters with others internally, they have a way to raise or report concerns anonymously.


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3. Who can use the UK Research Misconduct Hotline?

Anyone. The UK Research Misconduct Hotline is designed for use by all members of the UK community (faculty, staff, students, patients, volunteers, visitors, vendors, contractors, etc.).


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4. When can I use the UK Research Misconduct Hotline?

The hotline is staffed 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., five business days a week, by trained professionals who take calls and ensure reports are made to appropriate university personnel. During other hours you may leave a message on the hotline (if you would like us to contact you for follow up, please leave your name and number). You may also report anonymously online by clicking the "File a Report" button.  


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5. What type of concerns should I report to the UK Research Misconduct Hotline?

You should call the UK Research Misconduct Hotline or file a report online if you have concerns or allegations of potential research misconduct if you do not feel comfortable raising them through traditional management channels. Examples of concerns include: fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism of research or scholarly activities or the pressure or demand to do the same.

Please keep in mind that UK has alternative mechanisms for employees to report human resources-related issues. Any such issue, including any complaint of discrimination or harassment, should be brought to the attention of your supervisor, another supervisor in your department, or a representative of the Office of Human Resources. 


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6. Who receives calls made to the UK Research Misconduct Hotline?

The hotline is administered by the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) and assistant.


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7. How does the UK Research Misconduct Hotline work?

When you call the toll-free number, the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) or assistant will gather specific information from you related to the reported activity. You may be asked additional questions that are specific to UK or the nature of the incident.


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8. How do I file a report online with the UK Research Misconduct Hotline?

Click the "File a Report" button on the right of this page. This will take you to an anonymous form. 


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9. Will I be disciplined or reprimanded in any way because I made a report to the UK Research Misconduct


No. UK prohibits retaliation against anyone who reports any concern in good faith.


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10. Can I be assured that my call(s) will remain anonymous and confidential?

Yes. At no time will your call to the UK Research Misconduct Hotline be traced or tape-recorded. In addition, UK will not attempt to determine the identity of any anonymous caller. However, it is important to understand that the information you provide may be the basis for a research misconduct review and that your identity will be protected to the extend of the law. Any such information is used with discretion by investigators.


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1. What should I do if I want to blow the whistle: how do I do it and to whom do I go?

You can blow the whistle by reporting your allegations orally (Research Misconduct Hotline) or in writing (Research Misconduct Anonymous Allegation Report Form). You can also report your allegations to your supervisor or to some other appropriate administrator or supervisor. The supervisor or administrator will take appropriate action to resolve the problem or report the allegations to his or her supervisor. You are encouraged to make your report in writing so that the issues are clear.


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2. Who is a Research Misconduct "Whistleblower"?

A whistleblower is someone who discloses or tries to disclose information that may evidence fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism.


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3. Who can blow the whistle?

Employees (academic and staff), applicants for employment, students, patients, vendors, contractors, and the general public can blow the whistle.


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4. Will my whistleblower report be held in confidence?

Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible within the limitations of the law and policy and the legitimate needs of the investigation. Your identity will, unless your report as anonymous, be known to UK personnel with legitimate need to know in order to carry out an investigation. Release of your identity may be required pursuant to a subpoena or in other circumstances where the university if required by law to release information. In addition, you should also be aware that your public testimony might be needed to prove the case against the accused. If you self-disclose your identity, the university will no longer be obligated to maintain such confidence.


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5. What if I don't want anyone to know I blew the whistle?

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can submit your concern to the University's Research Misconduct Hotline. You may also complete the Research Misconduct Anonymous Allegation Report Form.


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6. What information should I provide when I make my disclosure?

You should state the facts with as much specific information as possible so that your allegations can be investigated, such as what occurred, who was involved, and dates of occurrence. You should not speculate or draw conclusions, and you should be prepared to be questioned by the investigator.


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7. Is there a deadline for filing a whistleblower report?

No, but it is important to file a report as soon as you have enough evidence to make a good faith report. If you delay, evidence may be lost, hampering the investigation, and then the University may not be able to resolve the problem.


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8. What happens after I file my whistleblower report?

A preliminary inquiry will be conducted and you may be contacted for further information. The preliminary inquiry will determine if a full investigator should be undertaken and by whom. 


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9. How can I help with the investigation?

You can provide as much factual information and evidence as possible in order to allow the investigation to proceed. However, don't obtain any evidence for which you do not have a right of access and don't do your own investigation. Leave that to the experts! You should be prepared to be interviewed by the investigators and provide all the information you know about the allegations.


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10. Will I be informed of the outcome of my report?

You generally have the right to be informed of the disposition of your disclosure and the findings of any investigation unless you choose to be anonymous. There might be overriding legal or public interest reasons that would preclude that. However, any action taken against an employee as a consequence of the findings of the investigation may be personal and confidential, in which case, it cannot be disclosed.


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