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Research Responsibilities and Compliance

Responsible Conduct of Research

Ohio State requires all faculty, staff and students eligible to conduct research at Ohio State to be trained in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). All research eligible individuals must take the Collaborative Institutional Training Institute “CITI” RCR course. This requirement is in addition to any other RCR training. Research eligible individuals who have taken the CITI RCR course within the last five years at a previous institution do not need to retake the course. 

Access to certain university systems and processes related to research for all faculty, staff and students who have not yet completed RCR training, will be suspended until the RCR training is completed. This includes, but not limited to, submission of IBC, IRB, and IACUC protocols and amendments; new project award set-up; project amendment processing and access to certain internal funding programs.


There are several discipline-specific courses that consist of an introduction, basic foundation text, embedded case studies, and quiz questions.

  • Biomedical Research
  • Social and Behavioral Research
  • Physical Sciences
  • Humanities
  • Engineering
  • Research Administration

CITI allows users to select more than one discipline-specific course when you first log in and register to take the RCR course. CITI automatically combines the unique modules for the disciplines selected when generating the modules for users training.

Review of the required materials and completion of the quizzes will take about 30-35 minutes per topic. Courses do not have to be completed in one session. A minimum, aggregate score of 80% is required to pass the RCR course. CITI allows users to retake the quizzes if the minimum score was not obtained to pass the course.

Upon course completion, a copy of the completion certificate will be available to print and retain for your records. The CITI system keeps track of all completion data, and Ohio State accesses completion data directly from CITI.

Federal Requirements for RCR Instruction

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

All trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training grant, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, or dissertation research grant must receive instruction in the RCR. Review NIH RCR for additional information. For the specified award categories, the Principal Investigator (PI) must develop a discipline-specific, tailored plan for RCR training that meets the NIH requirements. The instructional plan is evaluated as a component of the NIH funding proposal and applications lacking an RCR instructional plan may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed. 

The PI is also responsible for ensuring that course attendance is monitored and that a certificate or documentation of participation is available upon course completion. The PI is responsible for maintaining RCR training records to document that all NIH supported trainees, fellows, and scholars received the required instruction. The PI must also comply with the specific reporting requirements in continuation applications.

Instructional Plan

The RCR instructional plan must meet NIH requirements for educational content, training format, and frequency. The following topics must be addressed in the training plan:

  • Collaborative research
  • Conflict of interest (personal, professional, financial)
  • Data acquisition and laboratory tools: data management, sharing and ownership
  • Human subjects, live vertebrate animals in research, and safe laboratory practices
  • Mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships
  • Peer review
  • Research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct
  • Responsible authorship and publication
  • Scientist as a responsible member of society

The instructional plan should include coursework with significant face-to-face interaction and participation by research faculty members. Analysis of relevant case studies is recommended. While on-line instruction may be used as a component of the training program, it is not sufficient to meet the NIH requirement for RCR instruction, except in special or unusual circumstances.

Training plans must address all program participants and should be appropriate to the career stage of the individuals receiving training. Research faculty should participate in instruction in ways that allow them to serve as effective role models for their trainees, fellows, and scholars. Individual fellowship and career development award applicants/recipients are encouraged to assume individual and personal responsibility for instruction in responsible conduct of research.

PI’s may want to use the online CITI RCR training course as part of instructional plan. All the NIH required topics are addressed in the CITI RCR coursework. If used, the most relevant, discipline-specific CITI RCR course (Biomedical Research, Social and Behavioral Research, Physical Science, Humanities, or Engineering) should be specified. The CITI RCR course also offers online case studies that can be used for face-to-face discussions.

Although the NIH does not require Ohio State or the PI to submit training documentation to the NIH, training records are subject to audit. 

National Science Foundation (NSF)

NSF requires universities to certify 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 receive NSF support to conduct research. Certification of University compliance is done by an authorized Ohio State representative as part of the institutional proposal approval process (e.g., when a sponsored program officer submits the proposal in FastLane). Specific instructions are found in Chapter IV.B Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) of the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide.

Required Instruction

All students and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF sponsored projects must complete the CITI online course in the Responsible Conduct of Research within 60 days of appointment.  

PI’s should not include any specific information on RCR training within proposals. NSF does not want program details – only the institution’s certification that there is a program in place.

The PI is responsible for ensuring that all students and postdocs complete the CITI RCR course. The PI should direct the trainees to the most appropriate discipline-specific RCR course within the CITI program. The PI is also required to complete the CITI RCR training and begin a dialogue with students and postdocs on the responsible conduct of research.

Training records are subject to monitoring by NSF auditors.

Waiving the RCR Requirement

Individuals who meet all the criteria below may not be required to complete the training.

  • Not listed on any active human subjects, animal, or biosafety research protocols
  • Not listed on any sponsored research projects 
  • Not involved in the design, conduct, or reporting of research
  • Not involved in the oversight or administration of research 
  • Not involved in the teaching research, training on research, or the supervision of research

If all the criteria is met, individuals can complete the RCR Course Release to be removed from requirement.