Responsible Conduct of Research

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. 

 University Trustee policy states the following:

"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 (Trustee Doc. T08-010)

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 graduate 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 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 percent or higher. 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 an RCR Primer. More details and the Undergraduate Primer can be found at Responsible Conduct of Research Training 


NIH requires that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research.  This policy will take effect with all new and renewal applications submitted on or after January 25, 2010, and for all continuation (Type 5) applications with deadlines on or after January 1, 2011.  This Notice applies to the following programs:  D43, D71, F05, F30, F31, F32, F33, F34, F37, F38, K01, K02, K05, K07, K08, K12, K18, K22, K23, K24, K25, K26, K30, K99/R00, KL1, KL2, R25, R36, T15, T32, T34, T35, T36, T37, T90/R90, TL1, TU2, and U2R.   This policy also applies to any other NIH-funded programs supporting research training, career development, or research education that require instruction in responsible conduct of research as stated in the relevant funding opportunity announcements.

See Update on the Requirement for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research  for more details on the NIH policy and instructional components.


Additional Resources

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

For More Information please contact the Office of Research Compliance at or 413-545-5283.