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Frequently Asked Questions

What is RCR?

The NIH Office of Research Integrity (ORI) has recommended nine (9) core areas for RCR trainings:

  • Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership;
  • Mentor/Trainee Responsibilities;
  • Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship;
  • Peer Review;
  • Collaborative Science;
  • Research Misconduct; and
  • Communication and Difficult Conversations

Why is RCR a good idea?

As stated in the NSF Federal Register Notice regarding RCR, "The responsible and ethical conduct of research is critical for excellence, as well as public trust, in science in engineering." According to a report by the National Postdoc Association, "Despite recent moves at the federal level towards requiring training in RCR [1], many postdocs still do not receive guidance on these issues. Sigma Xi's 2005 nationwide survey of postdocs found that nearly a third (31%) of respondents indicated having received no training in research ethics, with another third (33%) having received only informal, 'on-the-job' training.  In the specific areas of intellectual property and conflict resolution skills, however, they found that almost two-thirds had received no training [2]. Other studies find similar results [3]."

How do I address RCR in my grant applications and progress reports?

The new RCR training requirements do not require that you add a section to specifically address RCR. Effective January 4, 2010, the institutional certification of the proposal will signify that Dartmouth has "a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who will be supported.

What is required of Principal Investigators?

Most, if not all, faculty will agree that training in responsible conduct of research starts with effective mentorship. The role of the PI is to oversee all aspects of the conduct of the research including assuring oversight and supervision of research personnel. In terms of fulfilling the requirement for RCR training, the PI is ultimately responsible for informing lab personnel of the NSF RCR requirements and directing them to institutional resources designed to meet the requirements. While the Office of Sponsored Projects will have mechanisms of tracking participation in programs, the responsibility of communicating RCR training requirements is the responsibility of the PI.

What is required of undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows paid on NSF funds?

All undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows must complete one of the programs listed on the RCR training options list. The individual should complete the program upon hiring and no later than 60 days after starting work on an NSF funded project.

How will OSP track that requirements have been met?

The Office of Sponsored Projects certifies that Dartmouth has implemented an RCR training plan when signing grant applications submitted to NSF. Since OSP is not generally involved in the hiring process, the PI will be responsible for informing new hires of the requirements. OSP will have to access to data available from the approved RCR training options. OSP will periodically review the data for compliance in comparison to payroll records and notify PIs or departments of non-compliance. OSP will make this data available upon request from a sponsor or individual faculty member. OSP will periodically send out reminders concerning the general requirements to NSF funded Principal Investigators. OSP will not send out reminders directly to undergraduate students, graduate students, or postdoctoral fellows paid from NSF funds.

Who should I contact if I have questions?

What resources or other programs are available?

Can I make RCR training available to all of my graduate students and postdocs regardless of the source of funding for their salary?

Answer: Yes


Post doc survey

[2] Anderson, M.S., Horn, A.S., Risbey, K.R., Ronning, E.A., De Vries, R., and Martinson, B.C. (2007) “What Do Mentoring and Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research Have To Do with Scientists’ Misbehavior? Findings from a National Survey of NIH-Funded Scientists.” Academic Medicine. 82(9): 853

Last Updated: 12/6/17