Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

The responsible and ethical conduct of research is critical for the practice of scientific investigation with excellence and integrity. Three of the largest US sponsors of research have established regulatory requirements in this regard:

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs provides oversight of this mission in an effort to offer appropriate training and resources in the responsible and ethical conduct of research. In accordance with the SFSU RCR Policy.

Addressing Regulatory Requirements

National Science Foundation (NSF)
The National Science Foundation requires that, at the time of proposal submission, the institution has a plan to provide appropriate Responsible Conduct of Research training and oversight to all students (undergraduates, graduate, and postdocs) who will be supported by NSF to conduct research. All student or postdocs who will be conducting research as part of an NSF funded project must complete a online training course appropriate to their project available through CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative). Students should choose the relevant module within the offered disciplinary tracks approved by the PI.  Another method to fulfill this requirement is through instructor/classroom training, workshop, conference, etc.

To access the CITI RCR Online Course, visit www.citiprogram.org to register for a user name and password. For more information, see the user guide under the Additional Resource section of this page. Users must elect at least one RCR course appropriate to their area of research as approved by the PI. Note the minimum score is 80 percent.  Users should either submit the CITI proof of completion certificate or complete Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training Certification Form and submit to ORSP's RCR Portal.

 

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Since July 1990, the National Institute of Health has required applications related to training, career development, research education, and dissertation research to include a description of a program to provide instruction in the responsible conduct of research. This policy will take effect with all new and renewal applications submitted on or after January 25, 2010, and for all continuation (Type 5) applications with deadlines on or after January 1, 2011.  It applies to the following programs:  D43, D71, F05, F30, F31, F32, F33, F34, F37, F38, K01, K02, K05, K07, K08, K12, K18, K22, K23, K24, K25, K26, K30, K99/R00, KL1, KL2, R25, R36, T15, T32, T34, T35, T36, T37, T90/R90, TL1, TU2, and U2R.

NIH requirements indicate that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars (i.e., students and postdoctoral trainee) must be engaged in a rigorous training program with the Principal Investigator in order to request funding from a grant solicitation. Moreover, in the event of an NIH award, the PI must oversee all training of these individuals towards NIH policies as part of the funding requirements. NOTE: the completion of one of the CITI modules does NOT fulfill NIH’s requirement as there need to be substantial face-to-face discussion (at least eight contact hours). Users should complete Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training Certification Form and submit to ORSP's RCR Portal.
 

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA - NIFA)
Upon accepting an award from USDA-NIFA, all program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff participating in a research project must receive appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research (effective date of this requirement: February 2013).  Individuals may fulfill this requirement through CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative). Individuals should choose the relevant module within the offered disciplinary tracks approved by the PI.  Another method to fulfill this requirement is through instructor/classroom training, workshop, conference, etc.

To access the CITI RCR Online Course, visit www.citiprogram.org to register for a user name and password. For more information, see the user guide under the Additional Resource section of this page. Users must elect at least one RCR course appropriate to their area of research as approved by the PI. Note the minimum score is 80 percent.  Users should either submit the CITI proof of completion certificate or complete Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training Certification Form and submit to ORSP's RCR Portal.

 

 

For Principal Investigators Conducting Research

Principal Investigators (PIs) must document and certify on a per award basis, that all students and postdoctoral scholars supported by his or her NSF/NIH/USDA-NIFA award must complete RCR within appropriate time frame.  For more information, please see SFSU RCR Policy.

For Students, Postdocs, or required individuals Conducting Research

All students, postdoctoral scholars, or required individuals conducting research on behalf on an NSF/NIH/USDA-NIFA award must complete the RCR training program within a reasonable time frame. If a student has received training in RCR from another institution, it is up to the PI to certify this training. For more information, please see SFSU RCR Policy.

Additional Resources

SFSU RCR Policy

SFSU RCR Procedure

SFSU RCR Portal (uploading your proof of RCR training)

CITI Training Guide and Registration Process (User Guide)

University Code of Conduct for Sponsored Programs (SFSU’s Policy)

The Lab: Avoiding Research Misconduct (Video by the Office of Research Integrity)

On Being a Scientist Responsible Conduct in Research 2nd Edition (Full-Text Online Publication)