Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training

All students funded by CURI for summer undergraduate research are required to complete the appropriate RCR training course online before the Opening Symposium.  If students have already completed the course they need not repeat it.

Academic researchers are involved in systematic inquiry in all disciplines across the fine arts, humanities, natural and social sciences.  Each project involves using theoretical frameworks and methodologies appropriate to the discipline.  We seek to foster a research environment that is characterized by investigations with integrity and, to that end, require Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training of all CURI funded undergraduate researchers.  This training will help undergraduates develop an awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in all research-related activities.

RCR training programs have been a topic of discussion of federal research sponsors (e.g., NIH, NSF, NEH) for over a decade.  Some agencies require all trainees to have RCR training as part of the America COMPETES Act.  The topics that are required for training by the National Science Foundation (NSF) include:

  • Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership
  • Conflict of Interest and Commitment
  • Research Misconduct
  • Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship
  • Peer Review
  • Mentor / Trainee Responsibilities
  • Collaborative Science

Instructions for Completing RCR Training

St. Olaf subscribes to the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program for the use of their ethics training modules. Many funding sources (including CURI and NSF) require all researchers to complete a Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course.

Visit the CITI site.  When you go to this site you will have to register as a new user:

  • Click on “Register” at the top of the page. There are seven steps to register and create a username and password.
  • In the first step type “St. Olaf College” (or just “Olaf”) into the search box and select it. Once you have registered and logged in, you will get to the Main Menu page.
  • Click on “Add a Course or Update Learner Groups” to get to the menu of available RCR courses.
  • St. Olaf has four courses available: Life Sciences RCR, Social/Behavioral RCR, Physical Science RCR, and Humanities RCR. Ask your faculty supervisor which course you should take for your research.
  • You will be prompted with two questions:
    Question 1: Human Subjects Research – Select “Not at this time”
    Question 2: Responsible Conduct of Research – Select the course most aligned with your research or field of study (ask your faculty supervisor)
  • Complete the required modules plus any of the optional modules you wish (NOTE: NSF requires that the Peer Review and Conflicts of Interest and Commitment modules also be completed).

Students who completed training previously reported that it took an average of about 2 hours to complete all the required modules. This need not be done all in one sitting. When you have completed the modules you will be able to view a Course Completion Page.  Completion of the training modules will be monitored by the Government and Foundations Relations Office for all NSF funded projects.