200.00 Standards for Conduct for Research
MSU encourages research and scholarly activities and considers them as crucial to the education of students, the advancement of knowledge, and the intellectual growth of the faculty. MSU expects that research and scholarly activities will be conducted with the highest ethical and professional standards as described in the Faculty Handbook.
210.00 Openness in Research
MSU adheres to the principle of openness in research because of its mission of education, research, and public service. Therefore, MSU does not generally conduct or permit its faculty to conduct classified research at MSU or under a grant administered by MSU. MSU will generally not enter into a contract nor accept a grant to carry out research if the grant or contract restrains the freedom of the University to disclose:
- The existence of the contract or grant;
- The general nature of the inquiry to be conducted;
- The identity of the sponsor, or;
- The research results;
Generally, PI’s must be free to publish the results of their research without prior approval of a sponsor or third party. Sponsors may be permitted a short period to review publications prior to submission in order to identify and request the removal of sponsor confidential information, or to identify and take appropriate steps to protect intellectual property.
220.00 Research Misconduct
All MSU researchers are expected to conduct scholarly research and publish the results with the highest standards of ethical conduct, truth, and accuracy. The University has established policies and procedures consistent with Federal regulations for responding to allegations of research misconduct. The policy establishes a method for reporting and investigating such allegations. Any suspected research misconduct should be reported to the dean of the relevant college. The Faculty Handbook, Section 430, details the University policies on research misconduct.
230.00 Outside Interests and Employment
MSU encourages sponsored research, consulting, and other activities that disseminate knowledge to the larger public. However, in participating in such activities, faculty and staff must be mindful of the potential for real and apparent conflicts between outside activities and their University responsibilities. They must also follow Montana law, Board of Regents policies, and the MSU Conflict of Interest policy concerning conflicts of commitment and interest. Specifically, faculty and staff must disclose any significant financial interest which may affect their research as explained in more detail in The Faculty Handbook, Section 440.
MSU policy prohibits employees from participating in employment decisions concerning relatives. “Nepotism” is defined by state statute as “the bestowal of political patronage by reason of relationship rather than merit” (Office of Legal Counsel, Nepotism). The MSU Personnel Manual, Section 430 provides further clarification of nepotism and how to avoid it during the hiring process. These policies emphasize that MSU employees may not employ or contract with relatives in sponsored research unless explicitly approved in accordance with the procedures contained in the Nepotism policy. MSU’s policy conforms to Federal regulations related to governing conflicts of interests. The prohibition applies to all types of employee appointments including hourly, temporary, and student employees, as well as to the selection of contracts and vendors.
250.00 Sexual Harassment
MSU is committed to maintaining an environment free of sexual harassment not to exclude the research environment. For more information about the sexual harassment policy and training, contact the Office of Institutional Equity and/or consult the Code of Conduct, Policies, Regulations and Reports, “Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures.”
MSU is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual preference, marital status, age, religion, creed or political belief, mental or physical handicap or disability, or status as a Vietnam era or disabled veteran. The MSU Policies and Procedures manual provides further clarification on discrimination.
270.00 Data Retention and Storage
MSU requires that all documentation related to Federal and state sponsored projects, including primary research data and all supporting documents, be available to Federal and state auditors for the period specified by Federal and state regulation – in most cases, a period of three years from the filing of the final financial report. MSU expects faculty members to retain all research data, in their laboratories or other appropriate research locations, and to provide access to the data when requested to do so by authorized institutional officials. Requests from sponsors for access to research data, as well as subpoenas for research data, should be forwarded to the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) or to the Office of Legal Counsel for review before a response is made. Further information on data security can be found through the Information Technology Center, Enterprise Data Stewardship Policy.