Responsible Conduct of Research
Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training is one aspect of USC’s commitment to maintain the highest possible standards for integrity among its entire research community, including students, faculty and staff, as reflected in USC’s Code of Ethics. Responsible Conduct of Research denotes good citizenship in research conduct. Faculty, students and staff who report their work honestly, accurately, and objectively help maintain public trust in research and help convey the ethics of research to future generations of scholars.
Who is Required to Complete RCR Training?
All students (including undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars) supported by the National Science Foundation are required to complete an approved course in Responsible Conduct of Research. Students supported on certain NIH programs, including training grants, are also required to complete RCR training.
RCR training is available in two forms at USC: online and in the classroom. Both types of training introduce students to principles on the ethical conduct of research. Students are exposed to potential ethical dilemmas, and receive guidance on how the principles of RCR can be used to resolve these dilemmas.
- Classroom RCR instruction is required for certain (not all) NIH programs.
- On-line instruction satisfies USC’s requirement for NSF funded students, and is now available.
All other students, as well as faculty and staff, engaged in research at USC are encouraged to complete on-line training, but are not required to do so.
On-line Training (Required for Students on NSF Grants)
On-line training through the CITI system satisfies USC’s RCR training requirement for students supported by National Science Foundation funding. Follow these steps on the CITI site:
1. Go to CITI login page.
2. Register as a CITI user.
- In the “Participating Institutions” drop down box, Select University of Southern California as your institution (do not respond to the drop down boxes for other categories of institutions).
- Enter your name (as provided to USC).
- Enter your USC email address as your preferred email address.
3. Select Responsible Conduct of Research as your training module.
4. You can begin the course from the “Main Menu”. To begin, click on the “Incomplete – Re-enter” link under the “Status” header.
5. Complete the Integrity Assurance module prior to initiating the learning modules.
6. Complete the nine required RCR modules and associated quizzes, achieving a minimum passing score of 80%. A running tally is compiled in a grade book. If you want to improve a score on a quiz, you may repeat any quiz.
7. When you complete all required modules successfully, you may print your completion report through the link: “Print” in the learners menu. A copy will be sent automatically to Office of Compliance, which will maintain a record of your completion. You may also return to the course site in the future to obtain a copy of the completion report.
The RCR Course requires 2-4 hours to complete. You are not required to complete the entire course in one session. The course tracks and records progress so that you may log in and out at your convenience.
Note: USC has established policies for Conflict of Interest in Research and Scientific Misconduct. On-line RCR training does not cover the particular requirements of USC’s policy, so please refer to these if you have any questions. In addition, students who believe they have a grievance should refer to USC’s Student Grievance Procedures.
Begin your CITI RCR course on the CITI login page.
Classroom RCR Training Available at USC
Individual schools have created classroom based courses on RCR, including the Keck School of Medicine and the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Classroom training is required for students supported on certain NIH programs. Please consult your school for information on available RCR courses.
- Teaching Responsible Conduct of Research (CER Workshop for Faculty)
- USC Scientific Misconduct Policy
- USC Policy on Conflicts of Interest in Research
- Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Brochures Educational Booklets
Federal RCR Resources
- NIH Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research
- On Being a Scientist
- ORI Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research
- ORI Website (Office of Research Integrity)
- “The Lab: Avoiding Research Misconduct” simulation
- The Research Clinic – promoting integrity in clinical research
- NAS Report on Fostering Integrity in Research
Other Academic Institution RCR Resources
- Research Ethics Program (University of California, San Diego)
- PEERRS (University of Michigan Office of the Vice President for Research)
- RCR and Related Policy Issues (Columbia University)