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P211: Responsible Conduct of Research and Scholarship (RCRS)

Issued by:
Office of the Provost, Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and Office of the Vice President for Research/Office of Research Compliance
December 2016

Stony Brook University (SBU) is committed to fostering and maintaining a culture of integrity across its diverse community. Ensuring compliance with appropriate formal training requirements for the responsible conduct of research and scholarship is part of this commitment. The training requirement consists of an online component, and an in-person training component as detailed below.

I. Complementary Policy for RCRS Training

Complementary Policy is the academic unit's policy for compliant completion of RCRS training for their faculty, post-doctoral associates, research staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students involved in Research and Scholarship (the creation of new knowledge or the creation of novel expressions of knowledge in any form.)

The Complementary Policy consists of two components.

  1. On-line ('CITI') Training Component 

    The following groups are required to satisfy a one-time completion of relevant RCRS modules available through the web-based  Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) as specified below:
    1. Faculty, Post-doctoral Fellows, Research Staff, Graduate Students as required by their academic unit's Complementary Policy.
    2. Undergraduate Students as required by the Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Education.
    3. Visiting college-level students and visiting scholars who are collaborating on research activities with Stony Brook University faculty, as required by the hosting faculty member's academic unit's Complementary Policy.
      • For those visitors from another institution, this SBU RCRS training requirement may be waived pending proof of completion of RCRS training at the home institution.
    4. High School Students as required by the applicable High School Program.
  2. In Person Training ('IPT') Component 

    All members of the SBU community who are involved in Research and Scholarship activities must complete in-person training ('IPT') as appropriate to their discipline and as described in their academic unit's Complementary Policy.

II. Procedure for Academic Units to Establish Complementary Policy

  1. The Complementary Policy must be developed by the academic unit and submitted to the RCRS Subcommittee for review and approval.
  2. Required in the description of the Complementary Policy are:
    1. Identification of the CITI RCR course(s) to be completed (Biomedical, Social & Behavioral Research, Physical Sciences, Humanities, Engineers)
    2. Identification of faculty, post-doctoral associates, research staff, graduate students and undergraduate students subject to Research and Scholarship IPT requirements.
      1. The IPT must comply with specific requirements of the agency (e.g., National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH)) sponsoring an individual's research or scholarly activity. For example, per NIH requirements, trainees supported by NIH funding must complete 8 hours of IPT every 4 years, or 2 hours annually, covering the topics listed below in Section C. NSF defines "trainee" as undergraduates, graduates and post docs, whereas NIH also includes any participant or scholar receiving training.
      2. Where a mandate from a funding agency is absent, IPT requirements from the academic unit prevail.
    3. Identification of IPT activities/courses.
      1. In general, IPT should promote discussion, foster a climate of ethical conduct of research and scholarly activities, and provide efficient opportunities for training. A successful program includes, as appropriate to the discipline, the following topics:
        • conflict of interest - personal, professional, and financial
        • mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships
        • collaborative research including collaborations with industry
        • peer review
        • data acquisition and research tools; management, sharing and ownership
        • research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct
        • responsible authorship and publication
        • the scholar as a responsible member of society, contemporary ethical issues and the environmental and societal impacts of research in the discipline
        • policies regarding human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects in research, and safe laboratory practices
      2. Generation of discipline-specific requirements should consider formal mechanisms for training via RCRS coursework/ lecture series/workshops, journal clubs, GRD 500 and similar courses (as available); laboratory rotations; or other curriculum, as well as less formal training opportunities through faculty meetings; laboratory meetings; faculty/student retreats; departmental research days.
      3. Principal Investigators of federal grants (e.g., NSF and NIH) with specific RCRS requirements will have primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with RCRS training requirements for those trainees supported by those grants. Exceptions:
        • On grants where a trainee is Principal Investigator, the named faculty mentor retains responsibility for the trainee's compliance with RCR training requirements.
        • On grants where a trainee is Principal Investigator, and there is no named faculty mentor (e.g., K05,K12, K18 KL2 and TU2 programs), the relevant department chair retains responsibility for the trainee's compliance with this RCRS training requirement.
    4. Identification of a mechanism for identifying and notifying individuals of their need to renew their IPT training.
    5. Identification of record keeping requirements:
      1. Any activity intended to satisfy the RCR training requirement must be supported by appropriate documentation (attendance, topics covered, etc.) either in the central RCRS database (see Section III RCRS Office) or in a departmental database.
      2. Identification of individuals or group of individuals who will be responsible for record keeping of accurate, verifiable information regarding individuals' IPT completion data.

III. Office of Research Compliance (ORC)

ORC will be responsible for:

  • Maintaining and chairing the RCRS Committee and RCRS Subcommittee
    • The RCRS Committee is comprised of a representative from each College/School.
    • A RCRS Subcommittee is a subgroup of the RCRS Committee responsible for reviewing and approving the Complementary Policies
  • Maintaining a library of the academic units' Complementary Policy.
  • Maintaining an RCRS database, i.e., a tool developed for use by the campus community to help then ensure compliance with this policy, allowing designated individuals to enter, monitor, and report training completion data for their academic unit.
  • Conducting or hosting workshops, upon request, on research involving animal subjects, research involving human subjects, research misconduct, financial conflict of interest, etc., in partial fulfillment of the RCRS IPT training requirement.
  • Assisting in the development, management and organization of the GRD 500 series across disciplines.
  • Foster collaboration between the disciplines by providing a central repository for sharing of program content (videos/lectures.)
  • Foster collaboration between academic units by hosting an annual workshop meeting for discussion and sharing of RCRS policies and best practices.


Office of Research Compliance

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, New York 11794-3368

Phone (631) 63 2-9036

Fax: (631) 63 2-9839