Academic researchers come from many disciplines, embrace a variety of theoretical frameworks and utilize different methodologies. Yet, all research/scholarship embodies one principle in common: it comprises a search for knowledge. Knowledge creation is not the product of technical skills alone; it requires critical thinking, communication, and ethical decision making. Austin College is committed to educating active leaders in the creation of new knowledge.
Despite differences in approach and form, every researcher must strive for accuracy and reliability in their record, which includes disciplinary understanding of the rules by which new knowledge is constructed. This set of rules is generally referred to as Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). RCR has been redefined more broadly in recent years and federally funded research (and, in general, all research) must comply with regulations related to nine areas including: plagiarism, human subjects, vertebrate animals, research misconduct, and financial conflicts of interest. The 2007 America COMPETES Act (America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education and Science) requires that institutions applying for federal funding have a plan for appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research. This training must be provided to undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, and faculty participating in the proposed research. This certification is required for proposals submitted on or after January 4, 2010.
This policy of Austin College seeks to ensure compliance with Section 7009 of the America COMPETES Act of 2007. Further, training in responsible conduct of research is intended to encourage best practices in the conduct of all research and scientific investigations and to foster an ability to recognize an ethical choice and make principled decisions.
Austin College is committed to supporting responsible and ethical conduct of research and scholarship among its faculty, staff and students. Responsible conduct of research fosters a climate of intellectual honesty and a commitment to ethical responsibilities by academia. All members of the College community share responsibility for developing and maintaining standards to assure ethical conduct of research and the detection of violations of these standards. All standards must comply with the legal, regulatory, contractual and ethical requirements established by the College, regulatory agencies, funding sponsors and their professional guilds. Given our mission statement as a college, these responsibilities extend to the education of our students. All students engaged in independent research programs and credits must complete RCR education as part of their professional development.
Students: Different types of scholarship use different approaches and need different forms of RCR education. As such, RCR education for student researchers should be consistent with the standards for each discipline or division (e.g. humanities, fine arts, sciences, social sciences). The RCR education requirement for students must include, at minimum, 1) data acquisition, management, sharing, and ownership including issues of fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism; and 2) issues of research misconduct relevant within the discipline such as the following:
- Intellectual property rights
- Broader implications of research
- Chemical hygiene and safety
- Human subjects
- Animal research
- Mentorship responsibilities
- Environmental impacts of research
- Limits of free expression
- Publication and authorship practices
- Conflicts of interest
- Financial responsibility
- Peer review
- Additional relevant practices
The RCR education requirement for students must be equivalent to at least one standard class period and may be accomplished by one of the following mechanisms:
- Complete the appropriate online modules through one of the designated training sites
- Register as a new user with Austin College. Answer the questions about your involvement in research and complete the “Basic RCR Course.”
- Completing an in-person RCR workshop offered by CREATE
- Please see the Community of Scholars schedule each semester
- Completing a course, which includes instruction in RCR topics relevant for the discipline of the research project. This could be a traditional research methods course, courses which include research experiences as part of the course, etc. (e.g. PSY 201, PSCI 270, ANTH 270, SOC 270, BIOL 472) Note: Additional courses may be approved by the Director of CREATE or the committee.
- Documented discussions with the PI individually or in groups. Furthermore, departments/programs may choose to develop and offer additional training sessions or modules of particular relevance to their disciplines.
- RCR case studies at the Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science
- RCR case studies/courses at Columbia University
- NIH ORI’s The Lab
- NIH Research Ethics Course
- NIH ORI Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research
- On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research (2009)
REGISTERED TRAINING WEBSITES:
- Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative
- National Center for Professional and Research Ethics, Ethics CORE