Research Misconduct

Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.

policies and procedures

NIFA requires that all awardees adhere to the Federal Policy on Research Misconduct. This policy and its requirements are located on the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) website, Federal Register, Vol. 65, No. 235. NIFA's implementing policies and procedures can be found in the NIFA Research Misconduct Policy (PDF) document, on the NIFA Research Misconduct Policy Procedure web page.

Supplementary guidelines applicable to scientific research information that is officially used or produced by USDA agencies or offices is located on the USDA Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) Scientific Research Web Page.

Reporting an Allegation

Anyone who suspects that researchers or research institutions performing federally-funded research may have engaged in research misconduct is encouraged to make a formal allegation of research misconduct to the Office of Inspector General (OIG). Suspected research misconduct may be reported to OIG using any of the following methods:

Via the OIG Hotline


(202) 690-1622 
(800) 424-9121 
(202) 690-1202 (TDD)


U.S. Mail:

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

Required Information when Making an Allegation

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
  • Any other potentially relevant information.

The following individual is designated as the NIFA Agency Research Integrity Officer and is the NIFA research misconduct representative:

Jeanette Thurston
Science Integrity Officer, Agency Research Integrity Officer (ARIO) and Management Resource Officer
Office of the Director
Phone: 202-445-5484

For U.S. Mail: 
USDA-NIFA, Institute of Food Production and Sustainability
Stop 2240 
1400 Independence Avenue, SW 
Washington, DC 20250

For Hand Delivery: 
USDA-NIFA, Institute of Food Production and Sustainability
Room 3444 Waterfront Centre 
800 9th Street, SW 
Washington, DC 20024