Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR)

Office of Research, Scholarship, and Sponsored Programs

 

Conducting research with integrity requires more than the scientific or technical expertise required to carry out a research study. Acting with integrity in research requires the ability to identify and respond appropriately to the ethical questions that inevitably arise throughout the research process. All UT Tyler faculty, staff, and students involved in research activities must take Responsible Conduct of Research training provided by the university. The training is provided by the university and is available through Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI Program) using the links below. Once completed, the certification is valid for three years.


Elements of RCR

Authorship/Publication

Responsible authorship/publication practices are the activities of preparing research findings for dissemination in a manner that ensures the integrity of the research process. When publishing research findings, the researcher has an important responsibility to provide a complete and legitimate description of their work, an accurate report of the results, and a transparent and honest evaluation of their findings. In checking for the completeness of a publication, researchers should make sure they have described what they did (methods), what they observed (results), and their interpretation of their observations (discussion).

Because there is no single standard for determining authorship, much of the decision on who is listed on a paper is up to the research team. It is advised that such a decision be made early in the research process to prevent misunderstandings and conflict from coming up later.

Mentoring

Sometimes, researchers will find themselves in the role of a mentor to someone who is learning how to do research. The mentor-mentee relationship can give rise to different conflicts. For example, how much of each person’s time is expected to be given to the other? Who takes ownership of ideas that are produced during collaboration? While it is hard to devise rules and guidelines that completely describe what makes good mentorship, it is suggested that mentors should start with:

  • a clear understanding of mutual responsibilities before they adopt the role
  • a commitment to creating a productive and supportive research environment
  • an understanding that the primary purpose of the relationship is to aid mentees in developing their research skills

Peer Review

Peer review refers to systems of evaluation by peers of similar expertise. The peer-review process plays a crucial part in research and the self-regulation of the profession. Peer reviewers are relied on to make decisions on such things as:

  • which projects are funded (grant reviews)?
  • which research papers are published (manuscript reviews)
  • which academics are hired and promoted (personnel reviews), and
  • which research is reliable (literature reviews and expert testimony)

The quality of peer review determines the quality of the decisions made based on them. Peer review has the potential to make and end careers, as well as directly influence public policy.

Collaborative Research

When researchers collaborate, they acquire the benefits of increased expertise and resources. However, the increased complexity of the collaborative relationship, particularly one where there is equal partnership, demands the researcher’s attention to new considerations. It is advised that collaborators establish a clear and shared understanding of each person’s role before any work begins. Such a conversation should involve decisions on things such as:

  • how responsibilities will be distributed
  • what the goals of the research are, and
  • how the order of authorship will be determined

Having a clear understanding of the details of the relationship from the beginning and throughout the relationship will help to prevent tensions from emerging later. Because one cannot anticipate every possible disagreement that will come up, effective communication is needed throughout the duration of the relationship.

Research Misconduct

Research misconduct includes fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results. This does not include honest error or differences in opinion. UT Tyler’s Misconduct policy can be found in section 3.2.8 in the Handbook of Operating Procedures. Research misconduct distorts the research process, creates false research records, diminishes public trust in research, and can negatively impact public health and safety. Research misconduct policies are designed to define inappropriate behaviors and procedures for addressing them.

Data Management

Data play an essential role in research. Data are used to test hypotheses, develop new research questions, inform the modification of research methods, and more. Maintaining its integrity requires careful data management practices. Data management practices should be decided before data collection begins, and involve establishing how data will be collected, how it will be protected, who will have ownership of it, and how it will be shared. Data retention, data storage, data analysis, and data reporting are also covered under this topic.

Conflict of Interest

The search for truth, the aim of the research process, relies on the objectivity of the researcher and their willingness, to be honest in their work. Conflicts of interest have the potential to impair the researcher in their ability to do so. A conflict of interest is a situation in which financial or other personal considerations have the potential to compromise or bias professional judgment and objectivity. This always involves the use of one’s authority for personal and/or monetary benefit. Conflict of interest is considered distinct from Research Misconduct, which focuses on actions of fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism.

Protection of Human Subjects

The use of human subjects in research has helped with the development of drugs and medical interventions and increased our understanding of how we think and act. However, history shows us a multitude of cases in which risks to human subjects have been taken to unacceptable levels. To ensure that risks to human subjects do not outweigh the benefits, regulations have been designed to ensure ethical research practice. Human subjects are living individuals about whom an investigator conducting research obtains data through intervention or interaction with the individual, or through identifiable private information. Human subjects research is regulated on federal, state, local, and professional levels. UT Tyler’s Institutional Review Board provides oversight for research involving human subjects.

Using Animals in Research

All research institutions are required to conform to Federal rules and regulations regarding the use of animals in research. Federal agencies, including the Public Health Service and The United States Department of Agriculture, have set forth policies regarding the treatment of animals used in research. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is a federal law that sets a minimum standard for the treatment of animals. UT Tyler’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) provides oversight for research involving animals as instituted by the AWA.

RCR CITI Training Instructions

To access the CITI RCR training modules, please follow the instructions below:

Step 1– Sign in to CITI Training with your UT Tyler EID and password.

Step 2 – Click on “View Courses”

Step 3– Click on “Add a Course”

Step 4– Go to Question #3

Step 5 – Select an option of your choice and click on “Submit”

Step 6 – At this point, you will see the Assurance Statement; click on “I agree” and then on “Submit”

Step 7– Start the first module; you can choose either the “Audiovisual” (spoken narrative) or “Classic” (text only) option for each module

Step 8– Once you’ve completed the relevant RCR module, please select the link for the “Quiz” and complete the questions for credit. Participants must obtain a score of 80% or higher on each quiz. When a passing score is achieved, the quiz will be marked “COMPLETE”. You will then have access to the next module.

Step 9 – Complete all 7 modules

Step 10-- You will receive an e-mail with a permanent link that may be used to access or share your Completion Report and Completion Certificate. It is not necessary to log in to the CITI Program site to view these links. We suggest you retain this email for your records.

More information about RCR training can be found on this website.

RCR Refresher Course

If your RCR-Basic training is expiring, we ask that you take the RCR-Refresher modules. To access the CITI RCR Refresher modules, please follow the instructions below:

Step 1– Sign in to CITI Training with your UT Tyler EID and password.

Step 2 – Under Institutional Courses – click on “View Courses” on the right

Step 3 – Under “Courses Ready to Begin” you will see “The RCR Stage 2 – Refresher Course”

Step 4 – Please click on the “Start Now” button on the right to start the course

RCR Training Requirements

The University of Texas at Tyler is committed to maintaining a research environment that promotes attention to the highest ethical standards for all sponsored and non-sponsored research.

All researchers need to complete the Responsible Conduct of Research training modules within the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online course. RCR courses specific to those working in various disciplines are available including biomedical research, humanities, physical sciences, engineering, and social/behavioral research.

Funding Agency RCR Requirements

The following funding agencies require RCR training as outlined. Proposal funding scores can be negatively impacted if RCR training plans are deemed insufficient.

Agency RCR Training Audience Type of Award

National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • Undergraduate students
  • Graduate students
  • Postdoctoral fellows

All NSF supported research

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

See Notice Number NOT-OD-10-019: Update on the Requirement for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research, for more specific details on training requirements

All participants (trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars) of specific award types

  • Training Awards
  • Individual Fellowship
  • Career Development
  • Research Education
  • Dissertation Research

US Department of Agriculture – National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA)

All personnel who will be supported by an award:

  • program directors
  • faculty
  • undergraduate students
  • graduate students
  • postdoctoral fellows
  • staff

All USDA-NIFA supported research

The term "support" includes direct benefits such as salary/payment, in addition to indirect benefits such as the use of equipment or laboratory supplies paid for by the grant.

The training requirement must be fulfilled before participating in or performing work that benefits the sponsored project. For continuing projects, training will be required every three years after the initial completion.

RCR Resources

The following resources are to support UT Tyler Faculty in teaching RCR topics within the lab, classroom, and in-person small group discussions, and to develop and maintain a cultural environment of research integrity.

Government RCR Resources

External RCR Resources

For assistance with the RCR-Basic training, please contact Dr. Anna Kurdowska, Associate Vice President for Research Compliance/Research Compliance Officer via e-mail at Anna.Kurdowska@uthct.edu.

 

 

 

 

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