Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) broadly refers to a code of ethical conduct that researchers should abide by on a daily basis. RCR education strives to promote ongoing discussion and examination of research operating procedures (including experimental design, data analysis, data management), academic and collegial relationships and collaborations, and the ethical considerations accompanying studies and the research culture itself. Making ethical and practical decisions requires practice, periodic reflection and discussion to learn and experiment with different approaches.
The National Institutes of Health initiated the first RCR education requirement in 1989 and this educational initiative has evolved and strengthened over time. Similarly, the National Science Foundation initiated an RCR education requirement for all trainees in 2009.
Duke has developed multiple RCR programs for researchers at different career stages:
- Faculty and staff engaged in research (including postdocs): administered by Duke Office of Scientific Integrity-ASIST
- Note that NIH trainees (including junior faculty, residents, clinical fellows, postdocs on specific NIH training fellowships) are required to complete additional RCR education, including at least 8hr of in-person RCR education. RCR education programs that fulfill this specific NIH RCR training requirement are offered by the Trent Center for Bioethics and Office of Postdoctoral Services)
- PhD graduate students (non-biomedical): administered by the Duke Graduate School
- PhD graduate students (including MSTP students) (biomedical): administered by the Office of Biomedical Graduate Education
- Masters students: administered by the Duke Graduate School
- MD students- 3rd year research: administered by the Third Year Program
- Undergraduates students engaged in research: administered by Duke Office of Scientific Integrity-ASIST
The Office of Research Integrity, within the US Department of Health and Human Services, has developed a variety of resources and programs to support responsible conduct of research education.