Graduate Student Research Misconduct: Fabrication

The Reward of Graduate Research

If you are a graduate student, then you are very likely doing graduate research. Graduate research can be hard. It is for nearly all graduate students. But graduate research can also be tremendously rewarding. Graduate research is often the first time, and sometimes the only time, when a student creates new and valuable knowledge to share with others. Intellectual pursuits like graduate research can be fun and stimulating. But when those pursuits produce something new and special that others appreciate and from which they can benefit, the rewards compound. Your graduate research may win you publication, honors, employment, and other advancements in your field. Even if it doesn't, it should help you graduate. Graduate research also changes you for the better, growing your mind and capacity even when the research product has little or no utility in itself. Appreciate the abundant rewards of graduate research. Don't give up on your schooling.

Graduate Research Integrity Standards

One of the things that makes graduate research hard and rewarding is that it has standards. For research to have value, it must have integrity. Colleges and universities use research integrity to ensure that the graduate student claiming credit for the research deserves that credit. If graduate students could just fake the research, or steal the research, then the school's process of certifying the student's work for graduation would fail. But colleges and universities also use research integrity to protect their reputations and the interests of those who hire their graduates and use their research. If the college or university could just publish fake or stolen research, then employers, businesses, nonprofits, and the government shouldn't be relying on the school's research, supporting the school, or hiring its graduates. The Department of Health & Human Services, for instance, has an Office of Research Integrity to ensure that federal grants reward only graduate programs with integrity. Colleges and universities must ensure graduate research integrity for your benefit, the school's benefit, and public benefit. Don't fight it. Join it.

The Temptation to Fabricate Graduate Research

Strong temptations exist, though, to fabricate graduate research. Fabrication isn't fancy. A statement by the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy defines fabrication as simply “making up data or results.” Fabrication is faking it. The Office distinguishes fabrication, addressed here, from other forms of research misconduct like plagiarism, which is appropriating others' ideas as one's own, and falsification, which is manipulating research to misrepresent its actual results. Graduate students face temptations to fabricate or make up research data and results because their research often doesn't produce what they seek. Graduate students must, to some extent, produce results. They can't graduate simply by showing that they couldn't generate anything meaningful from their work. Overly zealous ambition can also be at work in fabrication cases, as a science and engineering ethics organization's case study reports. Fight the temptation to fabricate. Everyone faces it.

Fabrication Violates Graduate Research Policies

Colleges and universities across the country uniformly prohibit and condemn research fabrication in their academic conduct policies. Graduate students don't get away with research fabrication at any school that discovers it. Schools uniformly hold that research fabrication violates school academic conduct policy. For example, the University of Alabama maintains an Academic Misconduct Disciplinary Policy that expressly prohibits fabrication, which it defines as “presenting as genuine any invented or falsified citation, data or material.” The University of Alabama also maintains an even more elaborate Policy on Academic Misconduct in Scholarly Activities applying to anyone paid at the university for doing research. The University of Alabama's paid-research policy also expressly prohibits research fabrication, which it defines as “intentionally creating data or results and recording or reporting them without a basis in fact.” You simply don't fake research data or results at the University of Alabama or any other reputable college or university. Avoid research fabrication at all costs. It violates your school's policy.

Graduate Schools Punish Research Fabrication

Avoiding fabrication of research data or results isn't just a matter of maintaining your integrity. It's also a matter of remaining in good standing at your college or university. Schools punish graduate research fabrication. The University of Alabama's Academic Misconduct Disciplinary Policy, for instance, authorizes the school to impose any sanction from reprimand and counseling or education, all the way up to and including dismissal from the school. If you face graduate research fabrication charges at your school, take those charges seriously. Those charges place at risk everything for which you've worked. If you handle those charges poorly or improperly, the school's sanctions could not only end your current education but also impact your ability to transfer or gain admission to other schools. Fabrication sanctions could also affect your job and career, even keeping you from earning a professional or vocational license. Treat any charge of research fabrication with the seriousness that it deserves. Your education and future are worth it.

Procedures for Graduate Research Fabrication Charges

Your school likely has elaborate procedures for determining graduate research fabrication charges and sanctions. You will need to find, follow, and rely strategically and effectively on those procedures to successfully defend against fabrication charges. The University of Alabama's Academic Misconduct Disciplinary Policy for students and Policy on Academic Misconduct in Scholarly Activities for paid researchers are good examples of the length, complexity, and detail of school procedures for resolving fabrication charges. Don't ignore the procedures. Fabrication charges don't just go away on their own. If you face fabrication charges, your school will require that you respond appropriately, or it may impose a severe sanction up to school expulsion.

Responding to Graduate Research Fabrication Charges

If you face graduate research fabrication charges, you need the aggressive and effective representation of a skilled and experienced academic administrative attorney. Graduate students don't generally have skills and experience in contesting academic administrative charges under the school's complex procedures. Your best move is to retain national academic administrative attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm‘s academic misconduct defense team. Attorney Lento has helped hundreds of students nationwide defend and defeat academic misconduct charges, including graduate students facing fabrication charges. Protect your investment in your graduate education. Get the skilled and experienced academic administrative attorney help you need. Call 888-535-3686 or go online now.

Contact Us Today!

If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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