United States Office of Research Integrity
|United States Office of Research Integrity|
|Predecessor||• Office of Scientific Integrity|
• Office of Scientific Integrity Review
|Parent organization||US/Department/Health and Human Services|
|Leader||Office of Research Integrity/Director|
The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) is a U.S. government agency that focuses on research integrity, especially in health.
The agency is interested in promoting research integrity on behalf of the Secretary of Health and Human Services with the exception of the Food and Drug Administration. The ORI cannot directly investigate suspected fraud or misconduct; it is limited to overseeing probes by the institutions that employ researchers suspected of wrongdoing. In cases where evidence of misconduct or fraud is found, the ORI can impose funding bans or refer potential criminal cases to the Department of Justice or the HHS inspector-general.
It was apparently influenced by Senator Charles Grassley in the case of Dong-Pyou Han. Han was forced to resign from Iowa State University in 2013 after the university concluded that he had falsified the results of several vaccine experiments supported by grants from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). ORI, which oversees investigations into alleged misconduct involving NIH funds, barred Han from receiving federal grants for three years — the maximum penalty that it generally imposes on junior investigators.
The case probably would have ended there had it not drawn the attention of Senator Grassley, who has a history of investigating misconduct in the biomedical sciences. “This seems like a very light penalty for a doctor who purposely tampered with a research trial and directly caused millions of taxpayer dollars to be wasted on fraudulent studies,” Grassley wrote in a February 2014 letter to the ORI. The office can issue lifetime funding bans, but former ORI officials say that such punishment is reserved for especially egregious cases, such as those in which human subjects could have been endangered.After extensive media coverage of the case and of Grassley's reaction to it, the federal prosecutor in Des Moines pressed charges against Han. The scientist was arrested and his case brought before a grand jury. In February 2015, he pled guilty to two felony charges of making false statements to obtain NIH research grants.