Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

"Adherence to the highest ethical and moral standards in the conduct of research and scholarly activity is the expectation for all members of the University of Massachusetts community. Each campus shall establish and submit to the President's office for approval procedures to promote research integrity through the responsible conduct of research as well as procedures for pursuing investigations of allegations of scientific misconduct. Research Misconduct means fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, reporting, or reviewing research, not including honest error or difference of opinion. Campus procedures shall ensure adherence to policies of the United States Public Health Service (PHS), 42 CFR Part 93, the National Science Foundation (NSF), 45 CFR Part 689, and any other relevant federal, state, or funding agencies and shall apply to all research and scholarly activity carried out at the University campus by University employees."

-(Board of Trustees doc: T08-10, click here for full text)

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) is the ongoing process of reconciling regulations, guidelines, standards, and ethics to promote integrity in the proposing, planning, conducting, reporting, and reviewing of research. The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) oversees and directs Public Health Services (PHS) research integrity activities and provides a number of resources in support of responsible conduct of research.

The 2007 America COMPETES Act directed NSF to require that all funded students and postdocs undergo training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR). The implementation of this requirement became effective with all NSF awards (including continuations) received on or after January 4, 2010. In compliance with  this Federal regulation,  the University of Massachusetts Amherst requires all NSF- sponsored Post Docs and Graduate students (whether on a new or continuing appointment)  to complete the online CITI course in RCR  and receive a score of 80% or better. At the discretion of the PI, Undergraduate students will either complete the CITI course or be asked to certify that they have read and understood the contents of the following pamphlet which provides an introduction to the key concepts.

RCR Training

Additional RCR Resources

The following is a partial listing of resources available in research ethics and the teaching of research ethics:

  1. Office of Research Integrity
  2. Research Education Consortium - RCR Education Resources
  3. Columbia University
  4. American Association for the Advancement of Science. Integrity in Scientific Research, 2000.
  5. Sigma Xi. The Responsible Researcher: Paths and Pitfalls, Research Triangle Park, NC: Sigma Xi, 1999
  6. National Academy of Sciences. Committee on the Conduct of Science. On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research, 2nd ed. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1995
  7. Ethics in Science and Engineering National Clearinghouse

Contact Melinda LeLacheur for more information.