Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Policy
The importance of formal RCR education was first explicitly recognized in the 1989
Institute of Medicine Report, The Responsible Conduct of Research in the Health Sciences, and has since been endorsed by other groups and members of the research community,
including both research administration professional organizations, the Society of
Research Administrators International (SRA) and the National Council of Research University
Administrators (NCURA). Regular seminars, webinars, publications, and workshops have
been offered over the years stressing the necessary vigilance required to assure the
responsible conduct of research (RCR).
The general assumption of ethical and responsible conduct of research in the academy
as the norm has been frequently thwarted by headlines trumpeting misconduct, even
at the most prestigious of institutions. Regulations relating to research protections
have proliferated over the past decade in response to the burgeoning cases of misconduct.
Public funds support roughly one-third of all research and development in the US
and half of all basic research. The responsible and ethical conduct of research is vital for public trust in research
on university campuses. Education in RCR is considered essential in preparing future
scientists, engineers and educators. As a result of research trends and the need to
assure a process for RCR for researchers, Section 7009 of the America Creating Opportunities
to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (COMPETES)
Act (PL 110-69) requires that ‘‘each institution that applies for financial assistance
from the [National Science] Foundation (NSF) for science and engineering research
or education describe in its grant proposal a plan to provide appropriate training
and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate
students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in the proposed
research project.” (NSF 10-1 January 2010; AAG Section IV B).
Effective Jan. 4, 2010, any institution that receives National Science Foundation
(NSF) funding must certify in its grant proposals that: “…it has a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and
ethical conduct of research to undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral
researchers who will be supported by NSF to conduct research.” The institutional official must certify that the institution 1) has a plan for
compliance with the Responsible Conduct of Research training requirement; and, 2)
will track who has been trained.
The NSF published a revision to the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures
Guide (PAPPG) requiring that institutions must certify at the time of proposal submission
that the institution has a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the
responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students,
and postdoctoral researchers who participate in NSF funded projects.
Fredonia Policy for the Responsible Conduct of Research
Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) is a widely accepted set of ethical and professional
standards for conducting research. Fredonia is committed to maintaining the integrity
fundamental to research activities through the responsible and ethical conduct of
its faculty, staff, and students.
The Fredonia promotes excellence in research and supports scholars from all fields.
The commitment to student learning, as articulated in both the Fredonia Mission Statement and the Vision Statement from The Fredonia Strategic Plan clearly stresses our dedication to the highest quality education for all students
and scholars. To further our commitment, Fredonia shall implement an institutional
plan for the Responsible Conduct of Research benefiting all students and graduate
researchers on the campus and especially those supported by external funding.
The value of research for human society, and the trust that the public places in science
and the scientific and technological process, are vitally dependent on research integrity.
1, 2 The State University of New York and the Research Foundation for SUNY (RF) are
committed to excellence, objectivity, accountability, professional courtesy, fairness,
good stewardship, and – above all – integrity in the conduct of scholarly research.
Research university systems, such as SUNY, are special places where knowledge creation
through research and scholarship expands and enriches the process of knowledge dissemination
through teaching and learning, each component acting together to amplify the co-benefits
for people and society. It is in such institutions that the “leaders of each new generation
are nurtured; it is there that boundaries to our existing knowledge are explored and
crossed; it is there that unfettered thinking can thrive and unconstrained intellectual
partnerships can be created. It is there, within each new class, within each new generation,
that the future is forged.”
It is a privilege to be able to conduct research and scholarship at SUNY and connect
these vital activities with the academic and public service missions of the system.
In this light, the research process itself must be transparent and our researchers
must take responsibility for assuring the trustworthiness of their research. Freedom
of inquiry, openness to new ideas, a love of learning, and a commitment to rigorous
study are the necessary components for first-class research and scholarship. SUNY
researchers should not avoid difficult or controversial areas, since it is often in
these areas that the greatest societal contributions are made. It is professional
integrity that allows such new scholarship to be debated, criticized, attacked, defended,
digested, and accepted by the scientific community and society, thereby adding to
the corpus of human knowledge. When properly exercised, academic freedom, and the
concomitant commitment to rigor and excellence, yields the knowledge base on which
tomorrow’s society depends.
SUNY seeks to reaffirm and maintain its full commitment to integrity in research.
This commitment will incorporate regular review and update of existing policies with
the following principles in mind.
1. Integrity: Researchers and scholars should take responsibility for the integrity of their work
and results. Campus and system administrators should take responsibility for the formulation
and implementation of policies related to research integrity.
2. Compliance with Regulations: Researchers and scholars should be aware of and comply with regulations and policies
related to research.
3. Research Methods: Researchers and scholars should employ appropriate research methods, base conclusions
on critical analysis of the evidence and report findings fully and objectively.
4. Transparency: Basic research should be open to review and vetting. Known potential conflicts of
interest should be disclosed along with funding sources and affiliations.
5. Independence: Researchers must be free of undue outside influence when conducting or reviewing
research. Many science and technology issues are closely related to and may influence
a number of public policy issues and priorities, making “high quality objective scientific
advice” vital and in the public interest.
6. Free and Open Communication: SUNY researchers and scholars are free to express their personal opinions in areas
of particular expertise, so long as it is clear those opinions are theirs and not
SUNY’s or the RF’s. This is true no matter how controversial the subject, even if
there are public policy implications. When engaged in public discussions about the
importance and application of their research findings, researchers should clearly
distinguish professional comments from opinions based on personal views. In their
outside communications, employees have an obligation to indicate that they are not
7. Authorship: Researchers and scholars must have the ability to review, comment, and amend a final
version of a document or publication that relies on their research or represents their
scientific opinion. Researchers should take responsibility for their contributions
to all publications, funding applications, reports and other representations of their
research. Lists of authors should include all those and only those who meet applicable
authorship criteria. All authors must review and approve the document prior to submission.
All those (including funders) who made significant contributions (but do not meet
applicable authorship criteria) should be acknowledged in publications and reports.
8. Information Sharing: Sharing information and research data is a key component of the scientific process.
Researchers should keep clear, accurate records of all research in ways that will
allow verification and replication of their work by others. Researchers should share
data and findings openly and promptly, as soon as they have had an opportunity to
establish priority and ownership claims. Researcher should be aware of and comply
with policies with regard to disclosures, patents and intellectual property rights.
9. Peer Review: Unbiased peer review is essential in research and provides for credibility and important
quality assurance for the many stakeholders involved. Researchers should provide fair,
prompt, and rigorous evaluations and respect confidentiality when reviewing others’
work. Researchers should not claim that a piece has been peer reviewed if accepted
disciplinary norms and standards have not been followed.
10. External Pressure and Biases: Undue external pressure must be absent from the research process. Scientists and
researchers must be protected from undue external pressures from private and public
sponsors, government officials, and university administrators.
11. Conflicts of Interest: Policies and procedures governing disclosure and management of conflicts of interest
must be well developed and rigorously observed. Researchers should disclose financial
and other conflicts of interest that could compromise the trustworthiness of their
work in research proposals, publications and public communications, as well as in
all review activities.
12. Misconduct Allegations: Allegations of fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing,
or reviewing research or in reporting research results must be reviewed pursuant to
applicable policies. Individual whistle-blowers must be protected from retaliation.
When misconduct or other irresponsible research practice is confirmed, appropriate
actions should be taken promptly, including correcting the research record.
13. Protecting Human Subjects and Humane Use of Animals: All researchers must protect the rights and welfare of any human research subjects
and must obtain prior approval from their Institutional Review Board for such work
to go forward. All research on animals must be conducted in a humane manner. Researchers
planning to use live vertebrate animals for research or education must obtain prior
approval from their Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
14. Scientific Basis for Public Policy and Discourse: When researchers or scientists have reason to believe that policy makers may utilize
their research or publications as the basis of supporting or rejecting a policy initiative,
researchers and the university should make every effort to present or disclose information
related to the underlying research, the findings, the scientific approach and process
used to develop the underlying scientific information.
15. Research Environments: Research institutions should create and sustain environments that encourage integrity
through education, clear policies, and reasonable standards for advancement, while
fostering work environments that support research integrity.
16. Societal Considerations: Researchers, scholars and the SUNY institutions that support them should recognize
that they bear an important ethical obligation to appropriately weigh societal benefits
against risks inherent in their work. This is especially important in areas that touch
on public health and safety.
Responsible Conduct in Research Training Plan
Fredonia will meet the requirements for the Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research
The Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) is designated as the unit responsible for overseeing
institutional compliance with the NSF Responsible Conduct of Research educational
requirements. OSP is also responsible for:
» The Lab: Avoiding Research Misconduct - from the Office of Research Integrity
- Monitoring training verification;
- Verifying that undergraduate students or graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers
supported by NSF research or educational projects have received training in the responsible
and ethical conduct of research;
 Steneck, Nicolas H., Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research, ORI, August 2007.