Integrity In Research
The University of California is committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity in research across all levels of the organization, as set forth by UC policy. See also the UC Office of Ethics, Compliance & Audit Services Policy on Student Conduct and Discipline, and the Official University Policies and Procedures of the University of California, Irvine.
Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research
Among the most important responsibilities undertaken by a faculty member when he or she serves as Principal Investigator (PI) or Lead Researcher (LR) on a research project is that of the scientific integrity of the project. If students, postdoctoral scholars, or other personnel perform work on the project, the PI/LR must ensure that these study team members have received proper training and education in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR).
Federal research sponsors have implemented regulations requiring that training in RCR is provided to study personnel as a condition of certain awards, although it is expected that robust training in RCR should routinely be provided to all students, postdoctoral scholars and research personnel regardless of the funding source.
National Science Foundation (NSF) Requirement for RCR Training
As a recipient of National Science Foundation (NSF) funding, UCI must comply with Section 7009 of the America COMPETES Act, which mandates training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR). The NSF has prepared Frequently Asked Questions regarding its RCR policy. UCI developed an RCR Implementation Plan to facilitate compliance with the Act, as well as an online training module, accessible through the UC Learning Center, that will satisfy the NSF requirement (also see below). The system will record information about individuals who complete the training under their UCInetID logon. The NSF also requires that Principal Investigators verify whether training plans for postdocs and graduate students have been carried out for each year of projects where this requirement is relevant.
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Requirement for RCR Training
Applicants for National Institutes of Health institutional training grants are required to describe formal and informal activities related to instruction on RCR as part of their proposal. The RCR program should provide instruction in scientific integrity and/or the responsible conduct of research. No specific curriculum is prescribed, but programs are encouraged to consider instruction in: conflicts of interest, responsible authorship, policies for handling misconduct, policies regarding the use of human and animal subjects, and data management. NIH also endorses a discussion of the topics from a trainee and institution perspective. Applications without RCR plans are considered incomplete. Note that the NIH requires substantial face-to-face training, therefore the online module alone will be insufficient to meet the NIH training grant RCR requirement.
Resources for RCR Training and Documentation
UCI Online RCR Training
Training in the responsible conduct of research at UCI is available through the UC Learning Center. Log in using your UCInetID, then search for RCR. When you have completed the training, documentation will be recorded within the system.
Postdoc Mentoring (RCR)
The Postdoc Mentoring (RCR) document is the UCI statement on mentorship, training and oversight for postdoctoral researchers, including the responsible conduct of research (RCR). It includes suggested proposal language to supplement an investigator/departmental plan responsive to the NSF requirement.
Graduate Level Course
Microbiology & Molecular Genetics 250 Responsible Conduct of Research is a graduate level course that covers all of the subject areas in which NIH requires training.
National Institutes of Health’s Bioethics Resources
This site provides links for those interested in bioethics education, research involving human participants and animals, medical and health care ethics, and the implications of applied genetics and biotechnology. A link to Responsible Conduct of Research is included.
Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty
Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty is an instruction manual for investigators preparing to establish their own laboratories. It is a comprehensive document with 13 chapters including how to secure a faculty position, staffing and operating a laboratory, mentoring, time and project management, funding opportunities, publications and intellectual property. The Guide was developed by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Burroughs Wellcome Fund for an intensive training course. UCI has been given approval to provide this to our faculty and postdocs for non-commercial use.
DHHS Office of Research Integrity RCR Resources
The federal Office of Research Integrity (ORI) website contains numerous educational resources and products. Visit this site periodically as more universities contribute to the inventory.
Responsible Conduct of Research Education Committee
The Responsible Conduct of Research Educational Committee (RCREC) website hosts information on RCR topics. RCREC is a non-profit, non-governmental consortium, whose goal is to disseminate information that will facilitate the creation and improvement of instructional programs in RCR. An Internet-based course developed by the RCREC is available for faculty to preview and tailor to their own needs. The course, designed to encourage active learning through group discussions by e-mail, is divided into 8 modules that require active oversight by a course instructor. The topics covered are:
|1.||Research Misconduct||5.||Conflicts of Interest and Commitment|
|3.||Use of Animal Subjects||7.||Publication and Peer Review|
|4.||Use of Human Subjects||8.||Collaboration and Mentoring|
RCR Courses and Additional Resources for RCR Training
A selected list of resources for training in research ethics or the responsible conduct of research (RCR) was developed for UC Irvine and is available for individuals, courses, and workshop discussions: Options for RCR Training.
Research misconduct is defined as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research, or in reporting research results.
All individuals affiliated with UCI have an ethical responsibility to act if they suspect research misconduct has occurred. UCI's policy on Responding to Allegations of Research Misconduct is intended to help individuals fulfill this responsibility through appropriate actions such as raising questions, seeking perspective from peers or more experienced individuals, or making an allegation of research misconduct. This policy is based on the principle that quality research requires adherence to the highest standards of integrity in proposing, conducting, and reporting research.
If you have questions about research misconduct or wish to make a report of possible research misconduct, please visit our misconduct FAQs page or contact
James W. Hicks
Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
Research Integrity Officer
Jill Yonago Kay
Director, Research Policy
For further online information about research misconduct, see: