Responsible Conduct of Research

What is the Responsible Conduct of Research?

The Responsible Conduct of Research is defined as the practice of scientific investigation with integrity.  It involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research.  The Research Integrity Policy (PDF) was created to instill and promote these principles.

Why does SUNY Potsdam need a plan to provide oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research?

SUNY Potsdam is committed to providing RCR training opportunities to researchers as an institutional responsibility in their professional and ethical development.

In addition, there are new regulations in federal agencies, all National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposal submissions must include an institutional assurance that the University has provided training in the  Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR) to all researchers, including student researchers, who participate in NSF- or NIH-funded research.  Effective January 4, 2010, the College will require all researchers involved in applications to NSF or NIH to have completed our training program, described below, before proposals may be submitted to those agencies.  The NSF and NIH requirement applies to renewal applications, as well as new proposals.  Please note all researchers, including students and staff, involved in a funded project must receive RCR training – including those hired after the application is awarded. It will be the responsibility of the PI to identify those individuals and provide a list to the office of Research and Sponsored Programs.  It is the responsibility of the PI to make sure all of these individuals receive RCR training.

The State University of New York at Potsdam will require that all researchers applying for NSF or NIH funding complete training through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online training program to meet the RCR requirements.  The CITI online courses are designed for faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students who have an interest or focus in the research areas targeted by federal support and serve to satisfy federal regulations that require RCR training as a part of the grant and/or contract terms and conditions. The modules contain information about responsible conduct in research, case studies and quizzes related to each of the areas. 

Faculty and staff who receive federal funding to conduct research or to supervise student researchers are responsible for ensuring all work is done in compliance with University, Federal and other applicable policies. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs has been charged with overseeing compliance with RCR training requirements and will assist researchers in identifying and completing appropriate RCR training, instruction, and guidance. New users of the CITI Program must register to create their own username and password and gain access to the site by selecting "New Users Register Here" and selecting SUNY – College at Potsdam in the "Participating Institutions" drop down box (http://www.citiprogram.org)

Nine core areas recommended by NSF and NIH are covered by the CITI training modules:

  • Acquisition, management, sharing, and ownership of data
  • Publication practices and responsible authorship
  • Conflict of interest and commitment
  • Research misconduct
  • Peer review
  • Mentor/trainee responsibilities
  • Collaborative science
  • Human subjects protections
  • Animal welfare

Please note that these RCR courses are not substitute training courses for individuals who conduct research utilizing human participants or animals.  If you plan to conduct research utilizing human participants or animals you must also complete the required basic training courses in those areas.  In addition, all human subjects research projects must be reviewed by the Institutional Review Boards (IRB).  Information about conducting Human Subject research and training requirements is available on the Research and Sponsored Programs web site. All animal research projects must be reviewed by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).   Information about the training requirements is also available on the Research and Sponsored Programs web site.

Discipline Specific Online Courses

There are five discipline specific online RCR courses available through SUNY Potsdam as outlined below:

  • Social and Behavioral Responsible Conduct of Research Course: This course is for investigators, staff and students with an interest or focus in Social and Behavioral research.   
  •  Physical Science Responsible Conduct of Research Course: This course is for investigators, staff and students with an interest or focus in Physical Science research.    
  • Arts/Humanities Responsible Conduct of Research Course: This course is for investigators, staff and students with an interest or focus in Arts/Humanities research.
  • Administrators Responsible Conduct of Research Course: This course is for Administrators, with a focus in the administration of the Institutional Review Board.
  • Animal Researchers Responsible Conduct of Research Course:  This course is for investigators, staff and students with an interest or focus in animal research.

Individuals are required to complete only the most relevant discipline specific course.  The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (RSPO) will monitor records for completion of the required on-line RCR training components. Failure to comply with these requirements could make both individual researchers and the College ineligible to receive funds from either of these funding agencies.

 

Renewal Requirements

Investigators who have the completed the CITI training for the Responsible Conduct of Research will be required to renew their certification every three years. by completing refresher modules which have been predetermined and identified on the CITI web site.



Thank you for your cooperation in assuring that the College meets its compliance obligations with federal agencies.