Responsible Conduct of Research

Background
The responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR) is critical for excellence as well as public trust. Education in RCR is considered essential in the preparation of future researchers. RCR requires honesty (conveying information truthfully), accuracy (reporting results precisely), efficiency (using resources wisely), and objectivity (avoiding bias).  The resources on this page are available for use by any EKU faculty, staff, or student.

Beginning with proposals submitted on January 4, 2010, the National Science Foundation requires that institutions have a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdoctoral researchers who will be supported by NSF to conduct research. This requirement is in response to Section 7009 of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (America COMPETES) Act (42 U.S.C. 1862o–1). This requirement also applies to NIH-supported projects with a training/education component. Support may be in the form of salary compensation for a student employee, course credit for sponsored research, or volunteering for research assignments sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

RCR Program at EKU
The University’s system for RCR training provides flexibility for individual principal investigators to design training activities that are most appropriate for the role of each student supported by the NSF- or NIH-sponsored project.  Faculty and staff investigators working with supported students are also required to complete appropriate RCR activities in order to ensure a responsible research environment.

Each principal investigator on an NSF- or NIH-supported project with student involvement is required to develop and implement a mentoring program with each student researcher that involves ongoing, individualized, discipline-specific training in the responsible conduct of research. Activities may include participation in a research ethics seminar, completion of an online training program, individualized or small-group training with a faculty member, discussion groups of RCR case studies or other texts, and ongoing mentoring from a faculty member. The completion of an online training module alone does not satisfy the RCR requirement.

In support of this custom training and mentoring, Sponsored Programs provides a subscription to Responsible Conduct of Research modules through the online Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI). Completion of the CITI RCR module is required for all students whose involvement is expected to result in a graduate thesis and encouraged for all students whose involvement will be substantial. Click here for instructions on registering and using the CITI training system. Students whose involvement is limited in scope and duration may be more appropriately trained through other means. Sponsored Programs will provide copies of On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research upon request. Additional online resources are linked below.

The principal investigator is responsible for ensuring that students and postdoctoral researchers have completed training activities within a timeline appropriate to their role in the project. Faculty, staff, and students involved in projects utilizing human and/or animal subjects are also required to complete the human and/or animal subjects modules within the CITI training system and receive approval through the IRB and/or IACUC prior to beginning work on the project.

Compliance
The institutional official is responsible for overseeing and monitoring compliance with the RCR program. In support of this function, Sponsored Programs will request a report from PIs with NSF- or NIH-funded awards at the end of each academic term during which the award is active. The reports will detail RCR-related activity for the academic term. It should include activities initiated by the principal investigator as well as other experiences of supported students (i.e., research methods course). The institutional official may suggest additional activities to occur during the period where necessary.

Online Resources

Open