5.7.8 The Investigation Report
Elements of the Investigation Report
The final report must describe the policies under which the investigation was conducted, describe the procedures used, describe how and from whom information relevant to the investigation was obtained, state the findings, and explain the basis for the findings. The report will include the actual text or an accurate summary of the views of any individual(s) found to have engaged in misconduct as well as a description of any sanctions imposed and administrative actions taken by the institution.
Comments on the Draft Report
The Provost will provide the respondent with a copy of the draft investigation report for comment and rebuttal. The respondent will be allowed ten (10) business days to review and comment on the draft report. The respondent's comments will be attached to the final report. The findings of the final report should take into account the respondent's comments in addition to all the other evidence.
The Provost will provide the complainant, if he or she is identifiable, with those portions of the draft investigation report that address the complainant's role and opinions in the investigation. The report should be modified, as appropriate, based on the complainant's comments, which must be received by the committee within ten (10) business days.
Vice-President for Legal Affairs and Risk Management (VP-LA&RM)
The draft investigation report will be transmitted to the VP-LA&RM for a review. Comments should be incorporated into the report as appropriate.
In distributing the draft report, or portions thereof, to the respondent and complainant, the Provost will inform the recipient of the confidentiality under which the draft report is made available and may establish reasonable conditions to ensure such confidentiality. For example, the Provost may request the recipient to sign a confidentiality statement, come to his or her office, or come to the VP-LA&RM’s office to review the report.
Transmittal of the Final Investigation Report
After comments have been received and the necessary changes have been made to the draft report, the investigation committee should transmit the final report with attachments, including the respondent's and complainant's comments, to the President, through the Provost.
Institutional Review and Decision
The President will review the final report and recommendations of the Investigation Committee. Based on a preponderance of the evidence, the President will make the final determination whether to accept the investigation report, its findings, and the recommended institutional actions. The President will make the final decision regarding any institutional actions or the imposition of any sanctions. There is no further appeal within Georgia Tech of any sanctions imposed as a result of a finding of scientific or other scholarly misconduct.
If the President’s determination varies from that of the investigation committee, the President will explain in detail the basis for rendering a decision different from that of the investigation committee in a letter to the Provost which shall become part of the investigation file. This shall also be included in Georgia Tech’s letter transmitting the report to appropriate sponsor including ORI if PHS funding or a proposal for such funding is involved. The President's explanation should be consistent with the definition of scientific or other scholarly misconduct (Section 5.7.2 of this policy) and the evidence reviewed and analyzed by the investigation committee. The President may also return the report to the investigation committee with a request for further fact-finding or analysis. The President's determination, together with the investigation committee's report, constitutes the final investigation report for purposes of review as may be required by law or sponsor regulations.
When a final decision on the case has been reached, the Provost will notify both the respondent and the complainant in writing. In addition, the President will determine whether law enforcement agencies, professional societies, professional licensing boards, editors of journals in which falsified reports may have been published, collaborators of the respondent in the work, or other relevant parties should be notified of the outcome of the case. The Provost is responsible for ensuring compliance with all requirements to notify sponsors.
Time Limit for Completing the Investigation Report
An investigation should ordinarily be completed within one hundred twenty (120) calendar days of its initiation, with the initiation being defined as the first meeting of the investigation committee. This includes conducting the investigation, preparing the report of findings, making the draft report available to the subject of the investigation for comment, submitting the report to the President for approval, and submitting the report to the sponsor if required.