Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research Training

The responsible conduct of research (RCR) is essential to good science practice. Knowledge attaining in RCR training helps scientists become good research citizens, thereby assuring ethical and appropriate use of investigations to benefit the scientific community. 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. 

In a very broad definition, RCR is good citizenship practices applied to the research profession(s) that prioritize: honesty (i.e. conveying information truthfully), accuracy in reporting findings precisely and taking active care to avoid errors, efficiency (i.e. – using resources wisely and avoiding waste) and objectivity.

The importance of RCR training is to curb fraudulent or socially irresponsible research that ultimately undercuts the public’s trust of and support for science. Areas covered in RCR training help the researcher to conduct ethical and responsible science. As such, key topic areas covered in RCR workshops provided by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies are: data fabrication and falsification of results which undermine the pursuit of valid knowledge, plagiarism and harassment negatively impact the research environment by harming respect and trust among scientists, understanding of credit, authorship and intellectual property, approaching conflicts of interest (COI) such as financial or impaired objectivity that confounds motives for the purity of the science. 

Research Misconduct

Detailed examples and discussions of questionable research practices that have led to falsified or fabricated data

Data Management

Best practices for data acquisition, record-keeping, retention, ownership, analysis, interpretation, and sharing in the digital age

Scientific rigor and reproducibility

Scientific rigor is the methods to follow procedures/protocols to increase the likelihood of obtaining an accurate representation of the phenomenon under study, whereas reproducibility means recording and communicating those procedures such that they can be repeated accurately.

Responsible authorship and publication

How to determine authorship credit and transparency for criteria of responsibilities and requirements to earn authorship

Conflicts of interest in research

How to appropriately contend with two or more competing concerns, such as honestly reporting research results versus making a profit, achieving publication or retaining outside funding.

Civility Issues and Laboratory Safety

civility issues in research environments, including but not limited to, harassment, bullying, and inappropriate behavior and
policies regarding laboratory safety, biosafety, and human and animal research subjects;

Information obtained from the National Institutes of Health, Office of Intramural Research.

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Core Training

Faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, and others serving as principal investigators (PIs) are required to complete the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Core Training. PIs who have already met the RCR Core requirement do not need to take it again.

What is the difference between RCR core training and the workshops?

The RCR Core Training is a Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) course. CITI uses a single sign-in application, so UMN employees can use their UMN internet IDs when logging into CITI RCR Core Training.

The RCR Training Workshop is offered in-person and through Zoom virtual meetings to graduate students and postdocs.  The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies coordinates RCR training workshops each academic semester to provide didactic lectures, classroom exercises and case study examples in a class-based environment.