Office of Research Integrity

The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) handles allegations of scientific misconduct that involve Health and Human Services (HHS)-supported research and that fit within the following definition: "Scientific misconduct or misconduct in science means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretation or judgments of data."


Who May Report


Anyone (particularly NIH intramural staff, including fellows and students) who suspects possible misconduct in scientific research.


Investigation Process


  • Contact your Lab or Branch Chief or Scientific Director to report possible misconduct in scientific research. The SD will consult with the NIH Agency Intramural Research Integrity Officer (AIRIO) and assess the allegation, with the cooperation of the Lab or Branch Chief.
  • If this assessment suggests sufficient evidence or information to support the need for further evaluation, the Deputy Director for Intramural Research (DDIR) will notify the ORI and establish a committee to carry out a formal inquiry. At this point, the Inquiry Committee secures all notebooks, records, and data related to the case for review.
  • During the inquiry the Committee gathers information to determine if the alleged conduct is within the definition of misconduct in science and is substantial enough to allow a specific finding of scientific misconduct. However, the Inquiry Committee does not make a finding of misconduct.
    The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) handles any further fact-finding that may be required.
  • The ORI recommends findings and sanctions to the Assistant Secretary for Health, who makes the final decision regarding scientific misconduct. Final decisions are subject to appeal through the Departmental Appeals Board (DAB).

Contact Information


For more detailed information contact the NIH AIRIO, contact the ORI Division of Research Investigations at (301) 443-5330 or go to the ORI website at