Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

What is Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)?

scientistsThe 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. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires RCR training for anyone associated with a research project receiving a National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) award must receive RCR training.

Although the requirements differ slightly, the end result is the same:  students participating in NSF-funded project; students participating in NIH-funded projects a training component; and students, faculty and research staff participating in a NIFA-funded project  must receive RCR training.

What's New

Course: Responsible Conduct of Research - Part II

Wednesday April 3, 3-4:30pm Please join us for an informational workshop about how to professionally and ethically conduct research with human su...

Course: Responsible Conduct of Research - Part III

Monday April 8, 10-11:30am Course DescriptionThis workshop will cover 3 topics that are associated with Responsible Conduct of Research training:...

RCR Education

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
  • Collaboration
  • Mentor/trainee relationships
  • Research misconduct
  • Intellectual property
  • Lab safety

RCR Forms

Appalachian's RCR plan requires NSF- or NIH-funded PIs to sign an agreement that they are aware of the training requirement for any student supported by the project. We have also provided some optional templates to document your training.

RCR Training

Part of the training requirement can be met with online training. In addition, faculty PI's are expected to provide experiential training. Learn more.