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USDA Scientific Integrity and Research Misconduct
Scientific Integrity Policy

To ensure that science at USDA is held to the highest standards possible, Secretary Vilsack issued a Departmental Regulation (DR) on Scientific Integrity. It provides guidance to all employees and contractors on the proper use of scientific findings and the principles of conducting scientific activities, and addresses the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy's request for all federal departments to write these policies. See below for the policy and the handbook, which describes how the policy will be implemented.

Research Misconduct

Research misconduct - an important subset of scientific integrity violation - is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. To ensure that the public can trust the objectivity of its science, USDA established policies and procedures for handling research misconduct that occurs in research that is either funded or conducted by USDA.

Anyone who suspects USDA researchers or researchers performing USDA-funded research of engaging in research misconduct is encouraged to make a formal allegation of research misconduct to USDA's Office of the Inspector General (OIG), using any of the following methods:

OIG Hotline
Phone: (202) 690-1622 or (800) 424-9121
TDD: (202) 690-1202

U.S. Mail
United States Department of Agriculture
Office of Inspector General
P.O. Box 23300
Washington, DC 20026-3399

To the extent known, the following details should be included in any formal allegations made to the OIG:

  • The names of involved individuals and research projects;
  • Sources of funding;
  • Important dates;
  • Any documentation that bears upon the allegation; and
  • Any other potentially relevant information.

USDA Research Integrity Officer
214W Whitten Building, Washington, DC 20250
Telephone: (202) 720-5923