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Responsible Conduct of Research Training Plan

2/5/2013. Ver 1.0

1. Background and Rationale:

Training in responsible and ethical research practices is an integral part of preparing academic professionals to conduct research. Both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have requirements for training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).

Effective January 4, 2010, proposals submitted to NSF must include certification from the institutional official that "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 supported by NSF to conduct research."

Federal Register Notice announcing NSF's final implementation published on August 20, 2009.

Likewise, effective January 25, 2010 ".any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research." These are listed as: 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 proposals and renewals must address the training plan for instruction in RCR.

NIH RCR training requirement policy update published on November 24, 2009.

2. California State University, Long Beach Policy for Training in Responsible Conduct of Research:

CSULB supports training to ensure the highest ethical and professional standards for conducting research. RCR training is intended to promote awareness of principles and practices that facilitate ethical and responsible research across all areas of research and scholarship. The plan's flexibility permits training to be appropriate for the discipline and career stage.

3. Training Plan:

This working document describes the plan developed by CSULB to provide training in RCR. At this time, only those individuals required to receive training must comply with the training plan; however, all students, staff and faculty engaged in research are encouraged to receive appropriate training.

3.1 General Training Objectives:

The terminal objective is to enhance scientific integrity by training the learner in the accepted standards and norms of science. The enabling objectives of RCR training are as follows:

  1. Increase proficiency of ethical dimensions of research/scholarship;
  2. Develop and refine the skills needed to question, analyze, and resolve ethical dilemmas;
  3. Learn relevant legal, institutional and professional standards;
  4. Know where to access various campus, national and internet resources that address ethical and responsible research practices; and,
  5. Facilitate discourse with peers and with faculty about ethical dimensions of research within their discipline.

3.2 Training Options:

RCR training generally includes coverage of topics that include:

  • Research Misconduct (Fabrication, Falsification, Plagiarism)
  • Research Subject Protection (animal and/or human)
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Collaboration
  • Data Management
  • Mentoring
  • Peer Review
  • Authorship
  • Publication
  • Biosafety/security
  • Whistleblowing

CSULB's plan for training in RCR includes most, if not all of these topics; however, content may vary depending on the needs of the trainee and relevance to the discipline or project.


All trainees required by NSF or NIH to undertake RCR training will complete an interactive web-based ethics core program on Responsible Conduct of Research either using the CITI training program  or the NSF program within 60 days of beginning work on the project. To begin, trainees will complete a new user account registration, and identify California State University, Long Beach as the group. The ORSP will have access to the database to verify completion of the three training modules. The modules are titled: 1- Rights and Obligations; 2- Collaboration and Communication; and 3- Intellectual Property. Completion of the three modules satisfies the minimum training requirements for NSF although students who receive NSF support for more than 90-days are encouraged to complete additional RCR training, in addition to the web-based tutorial. 



Those funded through designated NIH support are expected to complete at least eight hours of "contact time" as part of ongoing training as per the NIH update. Additional training can be obtained in a variety of ways. The ORSP is developing a resource list of lectures, workshops, and courses that are available for RCR training. Likewise, training may be offered within a specific center, laboratory, department and college. Opportunities for RCR training may be available through existing courses and within the research setting provided by the faculty supervisor or other knowledgable individual.

The faculty supervisor is responsible for ensuring that eligible trainees receive training within a year of the project's start. An RCR Training website is being developed to assist in documenting training so that the ORSP, faculty member and student have a record of training completed.

If human subjects, animal subjects or biohazardous materials will be used, the trainee must also complete training through the Human Subjects tutorial or the Animal Use and Care tutorial available through the CITI training portal and/or the biosafety training through the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Safety Office in advance of working with human or animal subjects or biohazardous materials.

RCR training opportunities that may fulfill the 8 hours of "contact time" for NIH RCR compliance include:

  1. University
    • ORSP is developing a RCR web page that will include a resource list of lectures, workshops, and courses available for RCR training.
    • For those requiring training in animal/human research subjects protection and biosafety, training will be provided by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Institutional Review Board (IRB), and Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) respectively.
    • The Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership in conjunction with ORSP will provide periodic "Train the Trainer" workshops for Principal Investigators receiving NIH or NSF funding that will educate the PIs about incorporating and recording RCR training into their research program.
  2. Department/College

    Courses offered by department that include coverage of topics associated with RCR may be used as a training source. Other methods for obtaining RCR training include:

    • Departmental meetings
    • Laboratory or center journal club and research meetings
    • Seminar series and discussion groups
    • Professional association communications
  3. Supplementary Education

    Supplementary education may be offered by the faculty member. For guidance on developing RCR education, please visit the Office of Research Integrity, Resources for Research Ethics Education, Online Ethics Center and Ethics in Science and Engineering National Clearing House

3.3 Prior Training:

RCR training obtained from another institution is acceptable and should be documented by a project's faculty supervisor.

4. Eligible Trainee:

Any individual (i.e. student, staff, faculty) engaged in research is eligible to complete RCR training. Students, and faculty may be required to complete mandatory training depending on stipulations from the funding agency.

5. Responsibility:

  1. The University Research Advisory Council (URAC) will be informed of training requirements and associated institutional responsibilities and be asked to provide input to guide decisions related to compliance requirements.
  2. The DRC will identify informational resources necessary to provide training in responsible and ethical research practices.
  3. The Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs will identify fiscal resources necessary to provide training in responsible and ethical research practices.
  4. ORSP will develop and maintain the RCR training plan, identify RCR training options, and facilitate documentation.
  5. ORSP's Grants and Contracts Administrators (GCAs) will identify persons required to complete training. They will notify the Director for Research Compliance (DRC) who will notify the faculty supervisors and the trainees of this requirement. The DRC will verify compliance with minimal training requirements and notify the CSULB Research Foundation of noncompliance.
  6. The department/college will work with faculty to identify and/or create program and discipline-specific research ethics resources/materials that meet the needs of their trainees.
  7. Faculty/Principal investigator will:
    • Work with CSULB DRC to identify trainees required to complete RCR training associated with funding requirements.
    • Verify that trainees have completed RCR training requirements within the timeframe noted in section 3.2.
    • Be responsible for documenting RCR training of all trainees under their supervision
  8. Trainees are responsible for accessing and completing RCR training and retaining a copy of documentation of training. Documentation of additional training must be provided to the principal investigator and to the DRC upon request.

6. Noncompliance:

The primary objective is to enhance scientific integrity by training scholars in the accepted standards and norms of science. RCR training is intended to promote awareness and understanding of conventions within and across disciplines. The RCR training plan will be assessed periodically by the Director for Research Compliance who will provide recommendations to the Associate Vice President for Research for necessary modifications.

7. RCR Plan Assessment:

The DRC will work with CSULB Foundation and the GCA's to monitor compliance. DRC will contact responsible faculty in cases of non-compliance.

8. Contact Information:

Please contact Nancy Lewis (Email:; Tel: 562-985-2502) with questions concerning Responsible Conduct of Research training and compliance requirements.

9. Acknowledgements:

ORSP would like to thank Dr. Camille Nebeker from San Diego State University for her assistance and guidance in the generation of this document which is an adaptation from materials developed by San Diego State University, Graduate and Research Affairs, Division of Research Affairs.

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