Skip to main content.

Responsible Conduct in Research

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) refers to the conduct of scientific investigation and practice with a specific focus on integrity and ethical standards. Responsible and ethical conduct of research is a fundamental value upon which scientific inquiry and discovery are founded. Therefore, appropriate education and training in RCR are essential preparation for future scientists.

The Office of Ethics & Compliance oversees the education of faculty, staff, and students on the issues of responsible conduct of research. Instruction areas of RCR education include:

  • Responsible Authorship/Publication Plagiarism.
  • Conflicts of Interest (personal, professional, and financial) and Conflict of Commitment (allocation of time, effort, or other research resources).
  • Collaborative Research, including collaborations with industry, investigators, and institutions in other countries.
  • Ethical Data Management: Acquisition, Analysis/Interpretation, Confidentiality, Ownership, Management, Sharing, and Use of Data; Laboratory Tools for analyzing data, and creating or working with digital images; Record keeping Practices, including electronic laboratory notebooks.
  • Mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships;
  • Policies on safe laboratory practices research involving human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects, and biohazards.
  • Peer review, including the responsibility for maintaining confidentiality and security in peer review.
  • Research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct.
  • Safe research environments which promote inclusion and are free of sexual, racial, ethnic, disability, and other forms of discriminatory harassment.
  • Contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research, and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) requires all faculty and senior personnel named on the proposal, as well as, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and undergraduate students who participate NSF-funded projects or are supported by NSF funding, to receive instruction and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) requires all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research. This includes a minimum of eight contact hours of discussion-based education.

The National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) requires all personnel (including program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff) engaged in its funded research projects (including capacity grants) to receive appropriate training in the responsible and ethical conduct of research (RECR).

Back to top of screen