2.3 Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)
Wichita State University is committed to supporting responsible and ethical conduct of research and scholarship among its faculty, staff and students. This includes complying with federal regulations like Section 7009 of the America COMPETES Act.
A key component of this compliance is having in place, at the time of proposal, a plan to provide “…appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research…”
The Office of Research Compliance is responsible for compliance oversight of this program at WSU.
RCR is composed of 11 Core Areas, as defined by ORI and DHHS:
- Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership – integrity in all aspects of the collection, use, retention, and sharing of data
- Conflict of Interest and Commitment – conflicts of interest, commitment or conscience are not inherently bad; it’s how they are managed (or not) that can lead to inappropriate or bad outcomes. See WSU Policy Chapter 3.04
- Human Subjects – in accordance with the Belmont Report, researchers should have respect for persons and the research should both do no harm as well as maximize possible benefits while minimizing potential risks. For more information visit: WSU Institution Review Board (IRB)
- Animal Welfare – general principle of strategies to minimize pain and distress in animal subjects:
- Replacement – conscious animals should be replaced with insentient material and higher animals should be replaced with lower ones
- Reduction – when possible, without incurring a loss of significance or precision, fewer animals should be used
- Refinement – design of procedures should be done to minimize the incidence and severity of harm to research animals
For more information visit: WSU Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC)
- Safe Laboratory Practices – multiple areas of concern, including biological safety, radiation safety, chemical safety, proper hazardous waste storage and disposal, environmental health and safety. For more information visit: WSU Environmental Health and Safety
- Research Misconduct – Fabrication, Falsification and Plagiarism. See WSU Policy Chapter 9.13
- Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship – proper attribution of credit and responsibility.
- Mentor/Trainee Responsibilities – current scientists have responsibility to model RCR in real-life situations by exhibiting behaviors that are accurate and ethical to new researchers. This can include informal or unwritten standards.
- Peer Review – appropriate feedback can be a valuable tool to a researcher, however, the fear of bias, conflicts between researchers and concerns about stealing of ideas can hinder the peer review process. It is critical for all parties to set aside personal biases in order to produce the best possible science.
- Collaborative Science – the most successful collaborations depend on openness, communication and trust.
- The scientist as a responsible member of society, contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research, and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research.
WSU Faculty/Staff/Students supported by externally funded projects are required to
complete RCR Training. Furthermore, RCR training is required by the National Science
Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the USDA National Institute
of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and other agencies which may have additional requirements
outside of CITI to include an in-person training requirement. It is the responsibility
of the Principal Investigator to be familiar with agency requirement and record completion
of additional training.
While RCR training should be an ongoing component of any research program, at a minimum, personnel on applicable projects will need to register and complete the RCR training “Externally Funded Researchers” in CITI during the first 90 days of receiving salary support. For instructions on how to set up a user profile or add courses please see the CITI Training Instructions Document or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those students enrolled in a graduate program with an RCR requirement, any modules successfully completed under your program will transfer to the new course if applicable.
Training Resources for RCR Trainers:
Below is a list of several free, online resources available for use by WSU Principal Investigators for use in complying with additional training requirements:
- National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine – “On Being A Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research.”
- National Institutes of Health – Responsible Conduct of Research Training
- National Postdoctoral Association – Responsible Conduct of Research Toolkit
- Office of Research Integrity Infographics – for use by RCR instructors. ORI encourages the sharing and distribution of these documents.
- Office of Research Integrity Interactive Training – “The Lab: Avoiding Research Misconduct” and “The Research Clinic”