Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research
Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research applies to all researchers and research staff engaged in scholarly research. While written with all researchers in mind, special consideration has been given to the needs of students and postdoctoral scholars. The education of students at all levels includes appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research. The University expects that every academic program and each research advisor/mentor will do their part to assure that students/trainees receive appropriate guidance in such areas as research integrity, data acquisition and management, authorship, research collaborations, conflicts of interest, and others as appropriate.
National Academy of Sciences, On Being a Scientist (1995) The scientific research enterprise, like other human activities, is built on a foundation of trust. Scientists trust that the results reported by others are valid. Society trusts that the results of research reflect an honest attempt by scientists to describe the world accurately and without bias. The level of trust that has characterized science and its relationship with society has contributed to a period of unparalleled scientific productivity. But this trust will endure only if the scientific community devotes itself to exemplifying and transmitting the values associated with ethical scientific conduct.
Stanford provides information and resources as part of its commitment to the responsible and ethical conduct of research. Some of these are linked here.
University policies (from the Research Policy Handbook)
In addition, The University Code of Conduct is applicable to all faculty, staff, and students at Stanford University.
Regulatory Training Requirements
Two of the largest US sponsors of research have established regulatory requirements in this regard. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has long required Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) education for anyone funded on 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.
In addition, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has established an RCR training requirement for students at any level funded by that agency.
The requirement for RCR instruction applies to all 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. You must include a description of a program to provide instruction in the responsible conduct of research (see regulations). Completion of Stanford class Med 225 class satisfies the NIH requirement for training in the responsible conduct of research. The CITI class does not fulfill this requirement.
A template is available for your use as a statement in your grant grant application. Please be sure to supplement the template with funder-specific requirements, and address all structural components required.
The National Science Foundation requires that, at the time of proposal submission, the institution has a plan to provide appropriate RCR training and oversight to all students (undergraduates, graduate, and postdoctoral scholars) who will be supported by NSF to conduct research.
Completion of the CITI RCR series, or one of the Stanford Courses identified as an RCR Training, satisfies the NSF requirement for training in the responsible conduct of research.
Several academic units within Stanford focus on the study of ethics, including ethical issues in the conduct of research. Two are linked here:
- McCoy Center for Ethics in Society
- Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics
- Stanford Honor Code
- Guidelines for Advising Relationships between Faculty Advisors and Graduate Students
- On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research, Third edition (2009), is available at no cost from the National Academies Press.
- RCR Casebook: Stories about Researchers Worth Discussing published by the HHS Office of Research Integrity features cases organized on the following topics: authorship and publication, research misconduct, collaboration, data acquisition and management, conflicts of interest, peer review, mentor and trainee relationships, and social responsibility.