Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

RCR covers core norms, principles, regulations, and rules governing the practice of research.

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About these Courses

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) require certain categories of researchers to receive RCR training. RCR is increasingly viewed as an essential component of training, regardless of a researcher's source of funding.

RCR consists of a basic course, additional content that can be incorporated based on organizational and learner needs, and a refresher course, which reemphasizes and expands on key concepts. It is suitable for any person involved in research ranging from upper-level undergraduates to established faculty.

Particular emphasis is given to the educational needs of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. RCR can provide students or other researchers with a conceptual foundation that can enhance the quality of in-person training.

These courses were written and peer-reviewed by experts.

View a sample of our updated RCR case videos:

Language Availability: English, Korean

Suggested Audiences: Faculty, Postdoctoral Researchers, Principal Investigators, Staff, Students

Basic Courses

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Basic

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Refresher Courses

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Refresher

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Additional Courses

Communicating Research Findings

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Who should consider taking RCR?

RCR is suitable for any person involved in research, ranging from upper-level undergraduates to established faculty. Particular emphasis is given to the educational needs of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

Which disciplines or fields does it cover?

It covers essential topic areas such as authorship, data management, and research misconduct that are relevant to researchers from any field or discipline. It also includes content more specifically tailored to a subset of research fields, including “Research Involving Human Subjects” and “Using Animal Subjects in Research."

Does it satisfy the NSF or NIH RCR training mandate?

The RCR policy from the National Science Foundation (NSF) allows organizations to make an internal determination about the type of training, CITI Program or otherwise, that satisfies the RCR training requirement. The RCR policy from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) prohibits a training program that relies entirely on online instruction “except in special instances of short-term training.” The CITI Program RCR Basic course can be used to complement an in-person training experience.

Does CITI Programs’ RCR training satisfy the USDA NIFA RCR training mandate?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) indicates that each institution needs to develop its own approach to RCR training and states, “Grantees should consider the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program for RCR.”

Can the RCR Basic course be taken on a standalone basis?

Yes, the course can be used in a standalone manner. It offers comprehensive coverage on a broad selection of topics. However, we recommend that organizations build frameworks of training that combine CITI Program content with face-to-face training, one-on-one mentoring, and other types of learning opportunities, as appropriate to the particular topics and their organizational cultures.

When should someone consider taking the CITI RCR Refresher course?

There is no uniform standard regarding how frequently RCR training should occur. NIH’s RCR policy states, “Instruction must be undertaken at least once during each career stage, and at a frequency of no less than once every four years.” If an organization wants its learners to complete refresher training, it is recommended that the refresher course be taken approximately three or four years after learners have completed a basic RCR course.

When should someone consider taking the Communicating Research Findings course?

The Communicating Research Findings course is beneficial to all researchers as it focuses on effective practices, guidelines, and strategies for communicating and presenting research findings. Organizations may add the modules in this course to the RCR Basic course or a Human Subjects Research (HSR) course or offer it to their learners on a standalone basis. Independent learners may purchase the course to learn more about these important areas and add to their professional skillset.