Responsible Conduct of Research

The responsible conduct of research (RCR) is essential to good science. RCR promotes the aims of scientific inquiry, fosters a research environment that enables scientists to work together toward common goals, and promotes public confidence in scientific knowledge and progress for the public good.

However, there are several serious detrimental effects of research that is not conducted ethically and responsibly. These include, for example, data fabrication and falsification of results which undermine the pursuit of valid knowledge by misleading researchers to accept and further study false hypotheses or unreliable data. Likewise, plagiarism and harassment negatively impact the research environment by harming respect and trust among researchers. Fraudulent or socially irresponsible research undercuts the public’s trust of and support for science.

Training and education in RCR should occur not only during undergraduate or graduate studies, but throughout one’s research career. RCR education can take place in seminars, workshops, or conferences on research ethics, as well as through informal conversations during mentoring, training, and laboratory meetings about ethical conduct and practices.

ELEMENTS OF RCR

Establishment of what constitutes RCR are critical to assurance of research integrity. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has identified nine core elements of RCR: 1) the protection of human participants; 2) the welfare of laboratory animals; 3) conflicts of interest; 4) data management practices; 5) mentor and trainee relationships; 6) authorship and publication; 7) peer review; 8) collaboration; and 9) research misconduct. In addition to these elements, FAU is committed to fostering safe research environments that are free from discriminatory harassment and expects researchers to engage as a responsible member of society through the practice of ethical science, understanding how their work has environmental and societal impact.

blue circles in a circle layout

Collaboration:

This element of Responsible Conduct of Research concerns collaborations between different teams on a shared research plan and issues that may arise from such collaborations, both within and external to FAU. This includes setting ground rules, sharing materials, fair decision-making, and allocation of credit and authorship.


Peer Review:

This element of Responsible Conduct of Research concerns the purpose and importance of peer review in determining merit for research funding and publication. This includes participation in a Scientific Review Committee process (undergoing review or serving as a reviewer) and other formal and informal review activities, such as reviewing journal articles or colleagues' research proposals.


Research Misconduct:

This element of Responsible Conduct of Research concerns formal research misconduct as defined by regulations that govern research funded or conducted by the U.S. government. Formal research misconduct refers to plagiarism, fabrication, or falsification of research data; it does not refer to honest errors or differences of opinion.


Authorship:

This element of Responsible Conduct of Research concerns the purpose and importance of scientific publication and the responsibilities of authors. This includes assigning appropriate credit, acknowledgments, handling corrections and retractions, and managing the pressure to publish.


Mentorship:

This element of Responsible Conduct of Research concerns research mentors’ responsibilities to more junior researchers and to trainees in predoctoral and postdoctoral research programs. This includes the role of a research mentor, managing conflict, selection of a mentor, and appropriate boundaries of the mentor/mentee relationship.


Conflicts of Interest:

This element of Responsible Conduct of Research concerns the different types of conflict encountered by researchers and institutions and how to handle conflicts of interest. This includes identifying different sources of conflict (financial, professional, or personal) and appropriate strategies for disclosing, managing, and mitigating conflicts among various researchers and collaborators.


Protection of Human Subjects:

This element of Responsible Conduct of Research concerns the appropriate conduct of research involving human subjects. This includes differentiating between human subjects research and other activities (such as public health or program evaluation), ethical principles for human subjects research, and regulatory oversight.


Data Management:

This element of Responsible Conduct of Research concerns best practices for acquiring, analyzing, and maintaining research data. This includes appropriate methods of data collection, statistical analysis, data sharing, and storage in scientific research.


Animal Welfare:

This element of Responsible Conduct of Research concerns the appropriate conduct of research involving animals. This includes ethical principles for conducting research on animals, government regulations for animal research, institutional animal care and use committees (IACUCs), and humane treatment of animals.

TRAINING

The FAU Division of Research (DoR) leads RCR programmatic efforts through both online and in person instruction, and coordinates with university personnel to ensure those participating in federally funded research or research training have the requisite RCR training.

To reinforce the concepts introduced in the online curriculum and in-person training, mentors and trainee(s) will be expected to meet regularly to discuss ongoing research, and the related ethical and procedural standards (i.e., data management, collaboration, authorship, etc.). Faculty and key personnel will be required to complete and maintain active RCR training as required by funding agencies and applicable institutional policies.

RCR Training Requirements

Funding Mechanism Required Training
NIH * - Online RCR via CITI.
- Eight (8) contact hours of live RCR education as stipulated by award. See below for details.
NSF Online RCR via CITI and as stipulated in award or described in SOW.
Other Federal (Including passthrough) - Faculty/ Key Personnel: As stipulated by sponsor or described in SOW
- Students/ Post Doctoral Fellows: Online RCR via CITI
Other Sponsored Research As stipulated by sponsor or described in SOW

*NIH requires that 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. 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.

FAU uses the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) RCR training module to adhere to the federal training requirements. All CITI course offerings are valid for a three-year renewal cycle, at which point a refresher course is required.

Access and complete the CITI courses by following these steps:

  1. Access www.citiprogram.org
  2. As a new user, you will need to click “Register Here” to register for the training course;
  3. Select "Florida Atlantic University" from the “Participating Institutions”;
  4. Create a unique username and password;
  5. Enter your personal information;
  6. Choose your curriculum. Select “Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)”;
  7. Complete all modules in the course(s) selected.
  8. Once completed, download a copy of your completion report.

See the How-to Guide for step by step instructions on how to create an account and register for the CITI RCR course.

To complement online learning, RCR workshops are led by faculty instructors from across various disciplines at FAU and offered twice a year (fall and spring), providing eight hours of didactic training through in-person sessions. Learners can attend sessions at either the Boca Raton or Jupiter campuses.

Upon completing the required training, learners should upload their certificate(s) of completion into Workday. Once successfully submitted, Workday will generate a notification to the Office of Research Integrity which will provide approval of the certificate(s). Other Division of Research units such as Research Accounting will be able to verify training through this mechanism. Instructions on how to upload certificate(s) of completion may be found here.

Upload your certificate into Workday by following these steps:

  1. Log into your FAU Workday account http://workday.lamovida-cafeconcierto.com
  2. Locate your profile picture and click “View Profile”
  3. Select “Career”
  4. Click “Certifications” then scroll down to click “Add”
  5. Complete the “Add Certification” section with the required information

See the Workday Job Aid for step by step instructions on how to upload your certificate(s) into Workday.

RESOURCES

NIH

http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-22-055.html

http://www.niaid.nih.gov/research/responsible-conduct-research-training

NSF

http://www.nsf.gov/od/recr.jsp

USDA

http://www.nifa.usda.gov/grants/regulations-and-guidelines/research-misconduct/responsible-ethical-conduct-research

ORI

http://www.youtube.com/@HHS_ORI

http://ori.hhs.gov/

FAU RCR Policies

10.1.1 Research Misconduct

10.1.2 Financial Conflict of Interest

10.1.6 Research Data

FAU Responsible Conduct of Research Program

Contact martinezj2012@lamovida-cafeconcierto.com for additional questions regarding RCR training requirements