Integrity in research is “doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way,”

as defined by the Office of Inspector General at the National Science Foundation.

Responsible conduct of research is defined as the practice of scientific investigation with integrity. It involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research. Responsible conduct in research is built on a commitment to honesty, accuracy, efficiency and objectivity, which are shared values in the responsible conduct of research. The university will comply with ethics and compliance mandates governing federally-funded research projects.

Responsible conduct of research is an essential component of research training. Active involvement in the issues of responsible conduct of research should occur throughout a researcher’s career. Research faculty of the university may participate in instruction in responsible conduct of research in ways that allow them to serve as effective role models for their trainees, fellows and scholars.

The Responsible Conduct in Research Policy is applicable to all National Institutes of Health (NIH) Institutional Research Training Grants, Individual Fellowship Awards, Career Development Awards (institutional and individual), Research Education Grants, Dissertation Research Grants or other grant programs with a training component that requires instruction in responsible conduct of research as noted in the Funding Opportunity Announcement.

The policy also includes a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who receive a salary or stipend from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct research as specified in all grants submitted and funded as of January 4, 2010, or later. NSF funding includes Graduate Research Fellowships.


SCSU uses the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) training to provide the online training component for various learner groups on campus. The following levels of training are offered:

  • NSF - Responsible Conduct of Research for Students (4 required modules)
  • NSF - Responsible Conduct of Research for Faculty/Staff (8 required modules)
  • NSF - Responsible Conduct of Research for Administrative (2 required modules)
  • NIH - Responsible Conduct of Research for Students/Faculty/Staff (8 required modules)

Existing CITI User

If you are an existing user, log into your account and click on Add a Course or Update Your Learner Groups for St. Cloud State University to view all courses available. Choose Responsible Conduct in Research; then click Next to choose your specific learner group.

Registering as a New CITI User

Follow these steps to register for your RCR training from CITI. Under Create an Account, click on Register. Select Your Organization Affiliation by querying for the word Cloud and St. Cloud State University should appear in the drop down list. Note there should not be a charge to take this training as SCSU covers the annual fee.


Responsible Conduct of Research became a public policy issue in the early 1980s with the disclosure of cases of misconduct at four major research centers. This issue has evolved since then and is now recognized as being of national importance. Congress has enacted laws establishing the Office of Research Integrity to promote integrity in biomedical and behavioral research supported by the U.S. Public Health Service.

Federal regulations define research misconduct as fabrication, falsification, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, or reviewing research or in reporting research results. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data.

  • Fabrication is making up data or results and recording or reporting them
  • Falsification is manipulating research materials, equipment or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research
  • Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s ideas, processes, results or words without giving appropriate credit

For more information, refer to the Responsible Conduct in Research Policy for St. Cloud State University.