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What is RCR?
 

RCR is an abbreviation for “Responsible Conduct of Research”. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines RCR as “the practice of scientific investigation with integrity. It involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research.”  Implementing and exercising RCR practices and procedures is crucial to maintaining standards of objectivity and achieving unbiased research results, which in turn safeguards the public’s trust in the research community’s efforts.

Who does the SAP apply to?
 

The SAP applies to undergraduate and graduate students participating in research funded internally, by research gifts, or externally funded sponsored research, and all postdoctoral researchers. 

What is required for undergraduate students?
 

All undergraduate students who are participating in internally funded research, gift-funded research, or externally funded sponsored research must complete the CITI RCR training within 60 days from their initial involvement in the research activity, unless required earlier.

 

What is required for graduate students?
 

The requirements for graduate students depend on whether the graduate student is participating in research funded internally, by research gift(s), or by an external sponsor as sponsored research.  Graduate students enrolled in a course which includes research as an integral element are also subject to these RCR requirements (e.g., honors thesis, master’s thesis, or doctoral thesis). 

For graduate students participating in research through a course or funded internally or by research gift(s), graduate students must complete the CITI RCR training within 60 days from their commencement of the research activity.

For graduate students participating in externally funded research, graduate students must complete the CITI RCR training within 60 days following receipt of such support. In addition, each graduate student must complete an additional four hours of face-to-face Core training within the first six months of his or her involvement in externally funded research.

What is required for postdoctoral researchers?
 

Postdoctoral researchers must complete the CITI RCR training within 60 days of employment, regardless of their source of funding. In addition, each postdoctoral researcher must complete an additional four hours of face-to-face Core training within the first six months of his or her employment. After the initial two years of employment, postdoctoral researchers must complete four hours of training every four years. The four-hour total may be spaced out over each four-year period unless required to be completed earlier by a sponsor.

Why is RCR training required?
 

The procedure is intended to supplement and support the efforts of departments and graduate programs in fostering responsible research and scholarly practices. The expectation is that research and scholarship will be of higher quality, and that students and trainees will be better able to avoid and respond to situations involving irresponsible research, scholarly practices, and behaviors.  It is critically important that early career scholars understand that their research and scholarly work has an impact and contributes to the research and scholarship of others in important ways that may not always be clear. Research and creative works are supported by public and/or private funding, and these sources trust that new information generated through funding is accurate, true, and carefully considered. Additionally, several Federal agencies specifically require RCR training for certain individuals conducting research on their awards. 

How do we meet the Core face-to-face training requirement?
 

The Office of Conflict of Interest and Responsible Conduct of Research conducts workshops each semester.  Workshop schedules and registration information will be posted on this website. 

What will I learn from the workshops?
 

 Discussion topics may vary from workshop to workshop; however, the workshop will include topics such as: 

  • Introduction to RCR
  • Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment
  • Time and Effort
  • Export Control
  • Plagiarism
  • Research Misconduct
  • Data Management
  • Proposal Submission
  • Collaborative Research, Contracts and Agreements
  • Mentor/Mentee Relationships
  • Research Space, Purchasing Instrumentation/Equipment
  • Authorship
  • Peer Review
  • Research Involving Human Subjects
  • Using Animal Subjects in Research
  • Laboratory and Biosafety
Are all researchers required to receive RCR training?
 

Texas A&M University is committed to maintaining a research environment that promotes attention to the highest ethical standards for all sponsored and non-sponsored research.  Currently, research projects with a specific RCR requirement and those required by SAP 15.99.99.M0.04 will be monitored to assure compliance with University and the funding agencies’ respective requirements.  However, it is recommended that all researchers complete the Responsible Conduct of Research training modules within the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online course.  On-campus workshops are also offered on a recurring basis and are recommended to ensure an ongoing culture of ethical research at the University.  Although, currently, only certain undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers are required to attend the workshops, they are highly recommended to all researchers to ensure an ongoing culture of responsible and ethical research at the University. 

Must a RCR training component be submitted along with the grant application for NIH and NSF funded research?
 

NIH requires that all institutional training grants, individual fellowships, career development awards, research education grants, and dissertation research grants include a RCR education component to be submitted with each application.

Training plans are not required to be included in proposals submitted to NSF.

How often does RCR training need to be completed?
 

NIH stipulates that RCR training occur at least once during each career stage and no less than once every four years. NSF has designated that each institution is responsible for both the content and frequency requirements with which training must occur.  University SAP 15.99.99.M0.04 requires that certain undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral students also complete an additional four hours of in-person training over a certain period of time. 

How may I keep track of my training?
 

All workshop attendance and CITI training courses for employees will be recorded in TrainTraq. You may access TrainTraq by logging in to the Texas A&M System Single Sign On (SSO) at any time to view your training transcript. Non-employees should email rcr@tamu.edu for alternative instructions.

What is CITI Training?
 

The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative is an online provider of research ethics, compliance, and professional development education. 

What is the time commitment involved with the CITI training?
 

The CITI training course is a self-paced online course; therefore, the amount of time it will take to complete varies between individuals.  It is recommended that you plan to set aside approximately four to five hours; however, many people are able to complete the course much more quickly than this approximation. You are free to work through the course at your convenience, whenever you have the time and Internet access, as long as you complete the training by your assigned due date. If you are not sure when your RCR training is due, please reference the date listed in the RCR training email notification you received. If you cannot locate your due date, please email rcr@tamu.edu.

How do I log-in to CITI?
 

 Please click here for instructions.    

There are several different discipline-specific RCR courses listed. How do I know which one to take?
 

 You should choose the course that is most closely associated with your discipline.  However, there is no wrong answer for purposes of meeting the CITI requirements of SAP 15.99.99.M0.04 

Generally speaking, the courses offered cover the following research areas:

  • Biomedical Research – research in areas like life sciences, biomedical, health sciences, basic biological research, etc.
  • Social and Behavioral Research – research in areas like anthropology, communication, economics, geography, communication, criminology, international studies, journalism, political science, psychology, sociology, speech and hearing, education, etc.
  • Physical Sciences – research in areas like physics, earth sciences, chemistry, microbiology, evolution and ecology, astronomy, mathematics, energy, aerospace, lasers, etc.
  • Humanities – research in areas like visual or performing arts, arts education, English or other languages, religious studies, gender studies, literature, history, etc.
  • Engineering – research in general engineering fields. This course is very similar to the Physical Science course.
  • Research Administrators – If you assist in the administration of research rather than the direct conduct of the research, you should select the Research Administrators course.
I completed the CITI RCR training at my former institution. Do I need to do it again?
 

No, if you have completed the CITI RCR course within the last four years at a previous institution you can transfer your completed modules from another institution to Texas A&M. To do this, you will need to log on to your previous CITI account and click on the “Affiliate with another institution” link. Choose “Texas A&M University” from the drop-down menu. When prompted, choose the RCR course that you have already taken at your previous institution.  Course completion will automatically be registered with Texas A&M. To view your course completion history, click on “Modules Completed”. Once transferred you should see the RCR module in your Texas A&M course history.

Do I need to submit proof that I’ve completed the CITI RCR course?
 

No, you do not have to provide a completion certificate unless required by your professor or department. The CITI system keeps track of all completion data, and our office accesses completion data directly from CITI.

I am currently funded on an NIH training grant or NSF grant and have already taken the CITI RCR training. Do I need to do it again?
 

No, if you have previously completed the CITI RCR training while affiliated with Texas A&M, we should already have your completion certificate from CITI and you do not need to take it again.

My department/College offers a course that covers all of the RCR topics. Do I still need to attend a RCR workshop?
 

 If we have an approved Elective Form on file from your department/College, you do not need to attend a RCR Workshop. 

How do we obtain approval for our existing course to qualify for the RCR face-to-face training requirement?
 

 Please complete the Elective Form, and return to rcr@tamu.edu.  All approved courses will be listed on our website.

I need more time to complete my training. May my due date be extended?
 

All individuals affected by the NSF or USDA-NIFA RCR training requirement are appointed a four-week time frame to complete the training by default. RCR training is required by NSF and USDA-NIFA, and the university has an institutional obligation to ensure that those affected by these requirements complete their RCR training in a timely manner. We have very limited flexibility with regards to assigned deadlines or extensions for these individuals. Please contact the COI/RCR office at rcr@tamu.edu immediately if you have any questions or concerns about your ability to complete your RCR training within the allotted time period.

Due dates required solely by the SAP will be handled on a case by case basis.  Please contact rcr@tamu.edu with any concerns regarding issues meeting the deadline.