§ 422.11 - Research records and evidence.
(a) A research institution that conducts extramural research supported by USDA funds, as the responsible legal entity for the USDA-supported research, has a continuing obligation to create and maintain adequate records (including documents and other evidentiary matter) as may be required by any subsequent inquiry, investigation, finding, adjudication, or other proceeding.
(b) Whenever an investigation is initiated, the research institution must promptly take all reasonable and practical steps to obtain custody of all relevant research records and evidence as may be necessary to conduct the research misconduct proceedings. This must be accomplished before the research institution notifies the researcher/respondent of the allegation, or immediately thereafter.
(c) The original research records and evidence taken into custody by the research institution shall be inventoried and stored in a secure place and manner. Research records involving raw data shall include the devices or instruments on which they reside. However, if deemed appropriate by the research institution or investigator, research data or records that reside on or in instruments or devices may be copied and removed from those instruments or devices as long as the copies are complete, accurate, and have substantially equivalent evidentiary value as the data or records have when the data or records reside on the instruments or devices. Such copies of data or records shall be made by a disinterested, qualified technician and not by the subject of the original allegation or other interested parties. When the relevant data or records have been removed from the devices or instruments, the instruments or devices need not be maintained as evidence.