Responsible Conduct of Research


Overview

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) is central to Emory University's mission and is an expectation of the research community. The Office of Research Integrity and Compliance (ORIC) is involved in RCR in many ways, including investigations into allegations of research misconduct and acting as a resource to the Emory research community. ORIC also offers options for RCR training. These include both online and in-person training options.

National Institutes of Health (NIH), the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have training requirements regarding Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). See below for information on their specific requirements.

NIFA requirements

Following sections 2, 3, and 8 of 2 CFR Part 422, awardees of USDA-funded extramural research must have adequate RCR training. The training should "at a minimum, emphasize three key areas of research ethics: authorship and plagiarism, data and research integration, and reporting misconduct."

Online training via the CITI RCR modules will meet this requirement. 

Reference:

NSF requirements

All Emory University undergraduate, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers receiving NSF funds (salary/stipends) or NSF scholarship/stipend support to engage in research or if conducting research is included in their academic program that is receiving NSF support are required to take the RCR training if the NSF grant proposal was submitted on or after January 4, 2010, are required to take RCR training.

Please be advised that all Postdocs and Students (graduate and undergraduate) associated with NSF grants are required to document their completion of RCR training in ELMS. 

Online training via the CITI RCR modules will meet this requirement. 

 References:

NIH requirements

The NIH RCR policy applies to all new and renewal applications submitted on or after January 25, 2010, and all continuation applications with deadlines on or after January 1, 2011. In addition, the NIH released updated training requirements with September 25, 2022, as due date.

Below, see important information about the training:

  • Who is required to take RCR 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."
  • Format of Instruction: the NIH expects that the training is discussion-based and allows for the use of video conferencing as long as the training remains engaging, but "video conferencing should not be the sole means for meeting the requirement for RCR instruction, and a plan that employs only video conferencing will not be considered acceptable, except in the circumstances described in NOT-OD-10-019, such as short-term research training and research education programs."
  • Frequency and timing: "at least once during each career stage and at a frequency of no less than once every four years." The NIH expects training that allows for substantive contact hours. They added that "acceptable programs generally involve at least eight contact hours."

Principal Investigators of NIH grants that fall under this requirement are required to keep records indicating completion of this requirement. Completion of RCR training can be documented in the Emory Learning Management System. Personnel associated with NIH grants are strongly encouraged to document their training completion in this system. 

References:

For questions about your training requirements, contact us at oric@emory.edu.

Please, review this document with a comprehensive list of resources related to RCR resources.

There are several different resources/options available at Emory to complete the Responsible Conduct of Research training requirements of the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, including but not limited to programs offered by the Laney Graduate School and the School of Medicine Office of Postdoctoral Education.

In collaboration with your school, the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance offers in-person and online options for those who need to complete their training. Online training alone is insufficient to satisfy NIH RCR training requirements. We strongly recommend that those who need assistance completing their RCR training review the training requirements.

For additional information on the training opportunities offered by our institution, see below.

In addition, you can use the Emory Learning Management System (ELMS) to keep up with your training hours. Faculty, Postdocs, and students (graduate and undergraduate) associated with NSF grants must document their completion of RCR training in ELMS. Personnel associated with NIH grants are strongly encouraged to do so as well. For more information, go to Documentation.

Online training

Emory Online Training

Emory University offers online training covering all Responsible Conduct of Research topics. The training will cover the requirements for NSF and NIFA awardees (NIH awardees also need in-person training). To access this training, login into

  • Under "Find Learning" search for RCR-Online_course.
  • Click on Enroll. After enrolling, click on Launch.
  • The training should take from 45 to 60 minutes. Some sections have questions at the end.
  • After finishing the training, complete the survey and attestation.

Please know that we will check against the ELMS record when confirming that you took this training, as required.

CITI Training

Emory offers CITI modules as a resource for those interested in obtaining training/instruction on the Responsible Conduct of Research. As explained before, the training will cover NSF and NIFA but will not cover NIH in-person training requirements.

Directions on how to access the CITI modules are below.

  • Log in to CITI

  • If you have not previously added a Responsible Conduct of Research course, click "Add a course."

  • On question 1, click "None of the activities listed above apply to me." You can choose a Responsible Conduct of Research Course if you need to take one." If you need to take other training, you can select other options; know that the RCR courses will be selected under Question 10.
  • Under question 10,  choose one of the selections that best fits your area of concentration:

    • Animal Research Track
    • Human Subject Research Track
    • All Other Research Track
  • Then click "Next." You will be back at the menu. To start the course you selected, click on "Start Now".

If you have any questions, please contact oric@emory.edu.

In Person

If you are a Postdoc, you can sign up for in-person training offered by the School of Medicine Office of Postdoctoral Education. You can find the training in ELMS under "Responsible Conduct of Research for Postdocs, Medical Research Fellows and Early Career Researchers."  Laney Graduate School also provided training for graduate students with the Jones Program for Ethics. In-person training should be part of the Principal Investigator plan presented to the NIH at the time of grant submission. The plan should touch on the topics detailed in NOT-OD-22-055.


Schools, Departments, and Investigators may contact us to schedule in-person training sessions on preventing Research Misconduct, including a presentation and Question & Answer period. The sessions provide exposure to issues arising in research settings and relate to topics per NIH and NSF requirements.

Documentation of your Training

To assist you with your documentation requirements, we are keeping a list for individuals to document their RCR training in one central location via the Emory Learning Management System (ELMS). The following personnel is required to document their completion of RCR training in ELMS:

  • Faculty (including other senior personnel), Postdocs, and students (graduate and undergraduate) associated with NSF grants

  • Program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff participating in a qualified USDA NIFA research project

  • Personnel associated with NIH grants are strongly encouraged to do so as well.

To document your completion of RCR training in ELMS:

  • Use your Emory NetID to log into ELMS
  • Under the "Self Service" tile, Click "Find Learning"
  • In the Search field, you can either search the course "Federal RCR Requirements" or the course number "210005"
  • Select "Enroll"
  • Click "Submit Enrollment"
  • Click "Launch"
  • Once you have enrolled in the course, simply complete the questionnaire

Individuals are encouraged to update their information as it changes.

If you have any questions about this process, please contact us at oric@emory.edu.

Scientific rigor, transparency and reproducibility are integral to the responsible conduct of research. Research sponsors expect researchers to conduct research in a manner that promotes scientific integrity, enhances confidence and reliability in research, and improves research rigor and transparency. Outlined below are the expectations set forth by the NIH and NSF with regard to rigor and reproducibility in research, data sharing policies for each of the agencies, and guidelines and resources for achieving best practices in the conduct of scientific research.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The NIH has updated grant application instructions and review language in order to promote rigor, transparency, and reproducibility in NIH-funded research, focusing on the following four areas:

  • Scientific premise of proposed research: the NIH expects applicants to describe the general strengths and weaknesses of prior research being cited by the applicant as crucial to support the application.

  • Rigorous experimental design for robust and unbiased results: the NIH expects strict application of the scientific method to ensure robust and unbiased experimental design, methodology, analysis, interpretation, and reporting of results. This includes full transparency in reporting experimental details so that other may reproduce and extend findings.

  • Consideration of relevant biological variables: biological variables such as sex, age, weight, and underlying health conditions should be considered in animal study designs and analysis. In particular, the NIH expects that sex as a biological variable (SABV) will be factored into research designs, analyses, and reporting.

  • Authentication of key biological and/or chemical resources: authentication of biological and chemical resources include, but are not limited to, cell lines, specialty chemicals, antibodies, and other biologics. Authentication is critical to the ability to reproduce the results of research.

New Grant Guidelines for Rigor and Reproducibility for NIH Applications (PDF)

Rigor and Reproducibility in NIH Applications – Resource Chart (PDF)

Reviewer Guidance on Rigor and Transparency (PDF)

Reviewer Guidance to Evaluate SABV in NIH Applications (PDF)

NIH webpages for rigor and reproducibility

NIH grants webpage for rigor and reproducibility

NIH Data Sharing Policy

National Science Foundation (NSF)

The NSF has set forth a framework to improve reproducibility, replicability, and robustness in NSF-funded research, intending to improve quality of question formulation, data collection and analysis, and dissemination of studies yielding negative results.

NSF Framework (PDF)

NSF Data Sharing Policy

Rigor and Reproducibility Resources

Below are additional resources and guidance for enhancing rigor and reproducibility in research: