What is Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)?
The term "responsible conduct of research" encompasses important shared principles of honesty, accuracy, efficiency and objectivity that guide research. These shared principles are equally applicable to scholarly endeavors and creative activities that may not be typically associated with the strict definition of research.
As research has advanced, issues of research integrity have received substantial public attention. Cases of researchers falsifying and fabricating results, unearned authorship and ghost writing, concerns of corporate influence through undisclosed corporate income to researchers and instances of plagiarism have all been featured in the recent news. In order to strengthen the integrity of research and creative scholarship, instruction in the responsible conduct of research must be considered a vital part of research and creative scholarship.
RCR at Appalachian
Increasingly, federal laws and regulations are mandating RCR education. The National Science Foundation (NSF) requires that institutions have a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in RCR to undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers participating in NSF supported projects. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) implemented a similar policy requiring instruction in RCR for grant programs with a training component. Although the requirements differ slightly, the end result is the same: students participating in NSF and NIH projects with a training component must receive RCR training.
Although there is not a single best way to conduct research or pursue creative activities, several common core instructional areas in RCR have been identified:
- Data acquisition, management, sharing and ownership
- Human participants
- Animal welfare
- Conflict of interest and commitment
- Peer Review
- Publication practices and responsible authorship
- Mentor/trainee relationships
- Research misconduct
- Intellectual property
- Lab safety