Responsible Conduct of Research
This page summarizes the Zoology Department's policy on training in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). Validation and monitoring of RCR training will be conducted using the Research Training Tracking System, which is available through the Zoology RCR Tracking page.
To go directly to the Zoology RCR Tracking page, CLICK THIS LINK.
The policy was developed in December 2009 to comply with federal and university requirements, and it reflects the Department's commitment to the highest standards of integrity in all aspects of our mission, including teaching, research, and service.
Scope of the policy
The RCR policy (i) defines the role of the departmental faculty and administrators in the training of individuals involved in research within the Zoology department, (ii) outlines the minimal components of the training, and (iii) suggests resources that faculty can use to aid their training activities.
Personnel covered by the policy
In keeping with university policy, RCR training is required for all individuals who play any sustained role in research in faculty labs. This includes post-doctoral researchers (as commonly defined), graduate students, technicians, and undergraduate research students, whether or not these individuals are supported on grants. It does not include individuals whose role in the lab consists of routine maintenance such as washing glassware.
In addition, the policy holds faculty members responsible for ensuring that people in their lab receive the training specified by the policy. Each faculty member will be asked to certify that the training has been received by each person covered.
Required elements of the training
Topics to be covered (depending upon particular focus of research in lab). The following are from a list provided by the federal Office of Research Integrity (http://ori.dhhs.gov/education/), and from the NIH guidelines for training in RCR.
- Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership
- Conflict of Interest and Commitment
- Human Subjects
- Animal Welfare
- Research Misconduct
- Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship
- Mentor / Trainee Responsibilities
- Peer Review
- Collaborative Science
- Scientist as a responsible member of society
- Contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research
- Environmental and societal impacts of scientific research
Intensity/duration/timing of training Each individual covered by the policy must receive an initial training session or sessions of at least eight hours in duration, and then annual refresher sessions totally four hours in duration. Online training activities can count toward the required eight (or four) hours of training, but there needs to be a significant face-to-face component. Much of the face-to-face component can be carried out in lab meetings.
Note, for undergraduates the level of detail covered can be tailored to the degree of their participation in the research. For example, if an undergraduate student is unlikely to participate at the level where authorship would be warranted, then he would not need to be trained in issues related to publication or peer review.
Personnel can be hired on projects before training has been completed. However, faculty members are expected to begin training as soon as possible, and to encourage personnel to make use of seminars, web sites, or printed material as they become available. No individual can be reappointed to a project if the training has not been completed.
Initial training (minimum 8 hours):
- Participation in one of the following courses: (i) Graduate School RCR Seminar Series (http://grad.msu.edu/rcr/), (ii) RCR for Biomedical Investigators offered by the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program. All of these options are listed through the Zoology RCR Tracking page, AVAILABLE HERE. Note regarding ZOL801: all beginning Zoology graduate students are required to take Zoology 801, which is offered each Fall and which includes several sessions dealing with RCR. Post-docs, technicians, and undergrads will be invited to participate in specific sessions dealing with RCR topics. A recent schedule of topics is here. Zoology 801 by itself covers various topics in addition to RCR, and so by itself will not provide a sufficient number of hours for initial RCR training.
- Completion of appropriate training courses in Animal Use, Human Subjects, and Lab Safety.
- Review of relevant topics with PI. This can be carried out in lab meetings or one-on-one meetings, and should make use of materials available through the Graduate School web site (see below).
Follow up training (minimum 4 hours each year):
- Completion of appropriate online training and refresher courses in Animal Use, Human Subjects, and Lab Safety, as needed
- Review of relevant topics with PI. This can be carried out in lab meetings or one-on-one meetings. Again, these discussions should make use of materials available through the Graduate School web site (see below) or the CITI program.
Tailoring the training to your discipline: Training on data collection, analysis, and reporting should cover specifics for that research project, For example, what is acceptable manipulation and interpretation of micrographs, gels, graphs? What statistics are appropriate? When do you (if ever) drop data points? What constitutes adequate controls? What happens when equipment malfunctions? Also, consider how authorship and authorship order is decided in your discipline (this is one of the most frequent concerns brought to the MSU Research Integrity Office; http://www.rio.msu.edu/).
Monitoring and Documentation
Each member of the research staff will be responsible for reporting his or her training activities through the Zoology page in the Research Training Tracking System (RTTS), which is available through the Zoology RCR Tracking page FOUND HERE. This site only collects self-report data about each person's training activities, including training carried out by faculty members for the individuals in their labs. The department will ask faculty members annually to certify the accuracy and completeness of the data reported by each member of the lab in the RTTS system.
MSU and Federal RCR Policies:
- Memo from Provost Wilcox and Vice President Gray: http://grad.msu.edu/ric/docs/WilcoxMemo.pdf
- MSU Policy Statement on NSF RCR requirements
- MSU Research Integrity Office: http://www.rio.msu.edu/
- NIH RCR Policy: NIH_RCR_Update_11-24-09.pdf
Graduate School: These sites include PowerPoint presentations, links to other web sites, and other readings. They can be used as the basis for training programs within the department or in individual labs:
- RCR Seminar series -- http://grad.msu.edu/rcr/
- Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Training courses -- (http://www.citiprogram.org)
- Research Integrity Newsletter -- http://grad.msu.edu/researchintegrity/newsletters.aspx
- Research Integrity Council -- http://grad.msu.edu/ric/ This last page links to extensive set of references and resources that pertain to other elements of RCR training recommended by the ORI (see above).
Other Readings (from ZOL 801 Web site) -- Available on request.
Updated 29 August 2011