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Responsible Conduct of Research

National Requirements

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Requirement for Responsible Conduct of Research appears in Section 7009 of The America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act (42 U.S.C. 1862o–1). The main requirements detailed in this section include:

  • “each institution that applies for financial assistance from the Foundation for science and engineering research or education describe in its grant proposal a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed research project”
  • “at the time of proposal submission to NSF, a proposing institution’s AOR must certify that the institution has a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who will be supported by NSF to conduct research”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy has similar requirements, suggesting that “every prebaccalaureate, pre and postdoctoral NRSA trainee must receive instruction on the responsible conduct of research.” For the NIH, “applications must include a description of a program to provide formal or informal instruction in scientific integrity and/or the responsible conduct of research.” The NIH identifies the following as key areas for this training: conflict of interest, responsible authorship, policies for handling misconduct, policies regarding the use of human and animal subjects, and data management.

Required RCR Training for TCU Students and Post-Doctoral Fellows

Online Training through CITI

The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) offers online training in research integrity. TCU has an institutional subscription to CITI in order to provide this background training free of charge for all researchers working at TCU, whether graduate students, undergraduate students, postdoctoral researchers, or faculty.

If CITI is required or recommended for your research, go to CITI and choose “Create an account.” You will then select Texas Christian University as your Organization Affiliation, set up a username and password, and sign-up for courses. At Step 7, under Question 2, Responsible Conduct of Research, choose the training closest to your field (i.e. “Physical Science RCR”, “Humanities RCR”, “Biomedical RCR”, etc.). You will receive an e-mail promptly with your CITI i.d. number and login confirmation, and can begin completing your course(s) immediately.

On-Campus Training

This training is mandatory for any students (graduate or undergraduate) who are paid from any grants and mandatory for all postdoctoral researchers. All other TCU students and faculty are welcome to register and attend.

RCR Resources for Researchers

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity (“ORI”): This site contains a wide variety of information for faculty, students, and administrators on the responsible conduct of research and research misconduct, including the following:

ORI Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research by Nicholas Steneck: This is a “must read” introduction to responsible research suitable for students, postdocs, early career investigators, and others who care about responsible research. It covers authorship practices, mentoring, data management, use of humans and animals in research, research misconduct, etc.

The Lab: Avoiding Research Misconduct: This interactive video allows the viewer to play four different roles in a case of suspected research misconduct. The video provides insight into research misconduct investigations from the perspectives of the various relevant parties. It also looks into the pressures facing researchers and errors made by principal investigators that can lead to misconduct.

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) RCR Training: Online modules that cover a variety of aspects of the responsible conduct of research.  See the below section for more information about how to create a CITI account.