The America COMPETES Act of 2007 (America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education and Science) directed that the National Science Foundation (NSF) require institutions receiving NSF financial assistance for science and engineering research or education to implement mentoring and training in the responsible and ethical conduct of research for undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdoctoral researchers.
As of January 4, 2010, institutions like RIT must certify at the time of NSF proposal submission, the institution has a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who are supported by NSF funded projects to conduct research. Institutional training plans must be available upon request and it is the responsibility of each institution to determine both the content and the delivery method for the training that will meet the institution’s needs.
Based on review of NSF resources on the subject, the following issues are the minimum areas that will comprise the responsible conduct of research training issues at RIT:
Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment
Human Subjects in Research
Research Involving Animals
Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership
Publication Practices, Citation, Plagiarism, and Responsible Authorship
While detailed knowledge of all these issues may not be applicable to all students and researchers; general awareness of these areas will be mandatory for all students and postdoctoral researchers conducting NSF supported research at RIT. Specific training and instruction in some of these issues will be provided by the Principal Investigator (PI) on particular issues relevant to the discipline or the research conducted during the course of the project.
This general RCR training does not replace specific instruction related to human subject research and research involving animals that is required for certain research in accordance with federal regulatory requirements. For more information on those requirements see RIT’s Office of Human Research Protections (http://www.rit.edu/research/hsro/process_geninfo.php).
After January 4, 2010, the Vice President for Research at RIT will certify in all new proposals submitted to NSF that RIT has a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who are supported by NSF to conduct research. The Principal Investigator (PI) receiving the NSF award is the primary mechanism at RIT for enforcing compliance and delivering mentoring instruction on RCR issues to those participating or supported by the NSF project.
At the time of NSF award, there will added to the standard RIT Terms and Conditions Summary that the PI executes additional paragraphs in the form similar to Attachment A that will identify the multiple methods of delivery of RCR instruction at RIT for students and postdoctoral researchers working on the project, and make the PI aware of his/her role and duties in that process. Specifically the PI will agree that: (1) he/she will promptly update the RAPID database to include all staff and students working on the research project; (2) all students conducting research on the project will receive an electronic or paper version of the RIT handout "An Introduction to Resources for the Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research" and be encouraged to attend any periodically offered course on RCR; (3) as part of regular faculty supervision and mentoring of students on the project the PI will discuss any RCR issues that are related to the project with these students and postdoctoral researchers; (4) all graduate students and postdoctoral researchers working on the project will complete the online RCR tutorial module and will encourage all undergraduate or graduate student employees working on the project that they may also complete the RCR online tutorial, but it is not required; and (4) the PI will encourage all students working on the project to take, or ensure they have taken, academic courses that, in part, address some research methods, research conduct, or ethical issues in their own individual academic studies.
The online training module used is a general RCR course developed by the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) and will be available to the RIT community via links on the RIT Office of Sponsored Research Services website for students and postdoctoral researchers to complete this requirement.
Responsibility for compliance with the RIT plan to meet the NSF requirement of RCR training rests primarily with the PI. Accordingly, PI’s will:
The Office of Vice President for Research and Sponsored Research Services shall:
Language to be inserted in the standard RIT research project Terms and Conditions Summary executed by the PI in a NSF funded project.
Online Tutorial Directions
Complete all components with a passing grade, and your completion will be recorded and stored by CITI (with access from RIT) for administrative compliance with the NSF requirements.