Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) define ‘Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research’ as, “the practice of scientific investigation with integrity. . . [involving] the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research.”1

Standards for the responsible and ethical conduct of research are set forth by federal and state regulations, institutional policies, professional codes of conduct, and personal convictions.2 At the federal level (Refer to 42 CFR Part 93 [external link]), the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Research Integrity (ORI) (external link) is vested with the authority to develop policies, procedures, and regulations for the detection, investigation, and prevention of research misconduct. ORI also serves a support role in assisting institutions as they develop individualized RCR training programs. Accordingly, ORI has identified nine core instructional areas:

Incorporating ORI’s principles, the policies and procedures of the University of Maine System and the University of Maine reflect a strong institutional commitment to fostering an environment in which the highest ethical standards in the conduct of research and other scholarly activities are not only expected, but required. Primary responsibility for maintaining such standards in the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge rests with the faculty, collaborating staff members, and students. Every individual engaged in research and other scholarly activities is expected to be fully aware of the regulations and ethical guidelines governing his/her discipline. Failure to comply can result in penalties ranging from administrative to civil or criminal for both the institution and the individual(s).

Up Next: RCR Training Requirements

Contact for RCR Questions

Questions about graduate student RCR requirements or access should be directed to the Graduate School or to the course instructor, as applicable.

1 NIH Notice: #NOT-OD-10-010 “Update on the Requirement for Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research” [Accessed 9/3/2012]

2 Steneck, N. ORI Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research (Chapter 1). HTML Version, September 2006, updated from Revised Printed Edition, June 2004 [Accessed 9/4/12]