Skip to main content

RCR Training & Education

The responsible conduct of research (RCR) involves the ethical responsibility to generate and disseminate knowledge with integrity and rigor. Training and education in RCR plays a crucial and continuing role in ensuring that we fulfill this important obligation.  Moreover, it is a requirement of many of the funding agencies that support our work. Historically, the Division of Research has assisted our campus community with understanding and identifying options for fulfilling specific requirements identified below, including online CITI training, workshops offered by the division, and graduate-level courses. 

On July 31, 2023, research integrity staff within the Office of Faculty Affairs proudly announced the first two installments of new, robust RCR programming at UMD -- "RCR@UMD" -- coordinated at the institutional level. RCR@UMD offers a catalog of courses tailored to UMD’s research community, designed to equip all faculty, students, trainees, and staff with the education and resources necessary to foster a culture of integrity in every aspect of their work. 

Below is a list of currently available RCR@UMD courses, all of which are hosted on UMD’s Open Learning platform as part of the “Research Integrity” catalog. Click on the direct links below to access the available RCR training courses:

Please reference our detailed instructions guide to help you through the process of enrolling in an RCR@UMD course. The guide also contains information on how to earn and access your course completion certificate. See the section below to read more about "Specific RCR Training Requirements", including the university’s plan for fulfilling and implementing NSF RECR training requirements along with an FAQ detailing commonly asked questions regarding NSF's updated regulations and training requirements. Please note that those who have already completed the CITI RCR training within the last three years (prior to 8/1/23) do not need to complete the new RCR@UMD courses until their CITI certification expires. We strongly encourage any individuals who have not yet taken RCR training to take the available RCR@UMD courses, hyperlinked above.

Note: Additional RCR@UMD courses are under continuous development. Check back here to remain up-to-date on all RCR@UMD course offerings.

Questions regarding RCR programming can be sent to

Specific RCR Training Requirements

Various funding agencies have specific RCR training requirements, and it is important for the different populations among our campus community to be familiar with the requirements that apply to them. The most common requirements are:

Broader Education Considerations

But education in the responsible conduct of research should not be limited to certain populations or undertaken simply to “check the box” of fulfilling funder requirements.  It is an effort that should be undertaken regardless of your funding status, the source of your support, or the stage of your research career.  It should also continue throughout that career, particularly as expectations and best practices can evolve.  Embracing and engaging in the responsible conduct of research is a critical part of ensuring a culture of research integrity, which is expected not just by funders, but by the institution, your peers and colleagues, and the public.  Moreover, it protects your reputation by making certain that the design, conduct, and reporting of your research is performed with integrity and in accordance with best practices -- a benefit not to just you, but to those who may rely upon your work.

We therefore encourage you to seek out opportunities for education in the responsible conduct of research, which may come in many forms, and to review these resources relevant to a number of aspects of research integrity.  In addition, foundational materials for use within departments and research groups that wish to develop and conduct their own training will be available in the future.  Researchers may also find this "RCR Casebook," which includes a number of case studies, and the accompanying instructor's manual -- both available from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity (ORI) -- to be helpful in facilitating educational sessions.

Discussions about RCR and research integrity are encouraged to be discipline-specific, include all individuals involved in the research enterprise (faculty, trainees, students, and staff), and cover the following core topics: 

  • research misconduct (including policies and procedures for handling allegations);
  • responsible authorship and publication;
  • responsible, secure, and ethical data-related practices, including: (1) data acquisition and analysis, including laboratory tools (e.g., tools for analyzing data and creating or working with digital images) and recordkeeping practices (e.g., methods such as electronic laboratory notebooks); (2) data use and confidentiality; and (3) data management, sharing, and ownership
  • conflicts of interest (financial, personal, and/or professional) and conflicts of commitment (in allocating time, effort, or other research resources), including appropriate disclosure of affiliations and interests;
  • mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships;
  • collaborative research (including collaborations with industry and collaborations with investigators and institutions in other countries);
  • peer review, including the responsibility for maintaining confidentiality and security in peer review;
  • the ethical use of human and animal subjects;
  • safe laboratory practices; and
  • safe research environments (e.g., those that promote inclusion and are free of all forms of harassment, including but not limited to sexual, racial, ethnic, disability-focused harassment) and civility issues in research environments (including but not limited to bullying and other forms of inappropriate behavior).

Robust education in the responsible conduct of research will also include coverage of:

  • rigor, reproducibility, and transparency;
  • intellectual property considerations;
  • foreign engagement/international activities compliance; and
  • the role of a scientist/researcher as a responsible member of society, the environmental and societal impacts of research, and other contemporary ethical issues in research.

More on RCR@UMD

RCR@UMD was designed to accomplish the following:

  • to broadly foster a culture of research integrity by aiding our research community in understanding the expectations for conducting all aspects of their research responsibly;
  • to provide a foundation for acting in accordance with those expectations by offering guidance, best practices, and tools;
  • to ensure appropriate stewardship of funds that support our important work; and
  • to help our researchers fulfill related training requirements.

To ensure that RCR@UMD programming is maximally accessible, comprehensible, and actionable, an effort is currently underway to apply the EnGen online English language learning tool (a research-driven, virtual English language learning platform developed by a UMD alumnae) to each RCR@UMD course. In this way, and with the provision of equitable access for all of our community members, UMD will weave research integrity into the very fabric of our wonderfully diverse, world-class institution; with the additional aim of providing a bold, new national model. RCR@UMD will in turn help our world-class researchers (inclusive of faculty, students, trainees, laboratory technicians, and staff involved in research) continue to produce excellent research while also fulfilling their obligations to do so responsibly -- thereby protecting their work, their reputations, and the reputation of UMD as a premier research institution.  (We will also seek to offer tailored RCR training for administrators, recognizing that supporting a culture of research integrity requires a broad and holistic approach to educating all of those engaged in the research enterprise.) Additional information regarding this important initiative will be shared as the effort progresses

Additional Information

For more information regarding education in the responsible conduct of research, ORI has offered an "Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research" (also available as a PDF).  A number of additional general RCR resources are also available on the agency's website, as well as resources specific to particular RCR topics, such as authorship, data management, and mentorship.  Subject-specific resources that may be used in addressing RCR topics can also be found on our research integrity resources page.