Research misconduct inquiries and investigations are conducted by committees appointed by an institution’s research integrity officer. The committee members are typically scientists, not lawyers. Not only must they analyze the science in question, but they also must ensure that the institution meets all of its obligations under both the institution’s misconduct policy as well as federal regulations (if the research is federally funded.) Sometimes an institution will appoint committee members from outside the institution conducting the inquiry and investigation, but it is not required to do so.
A common issue that arises in connection with scientific research misconduct cases concerns what should be done with publications which contain a research record that is the subject of the allegations. This issue can arise even where an inquiry or investigation committee concludes that there was no research misconduct.