Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) denotes good citizenship in research conduct. Faculty, students and staff who report their work honestly, accurately, and objectively promote public trust in research and model ethical research practices for future generations of scholars.

The Human Subjects Protection Program has developed a series of booklets specific to the nine federally-defined RCR areas:

  1. Animal Welfare
  2. Collaborative Research
  3. Conflict of Interest
  4. Data Management Acquisition
  5. Human Subjects Research
  6. Mentoring USC Student Researchers
  7. Peer Review
  8. Responsible Publication and Authorship
  9. Research Misconduct

RCR Training Requirements and Resources

RCR training is required for all students on NSF grants, as well as NIH training awards, and PHS traineeships.
NIH compliant, in person RCR training is as a one-week course titled INTD 500: Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)
NSF funded students are certified by the Office of Ethics & Compliance.

The RCR resources below include links to federal requirements, online ethics courses and other education materials. OPRS offers education sessions on RCR for interested faculty, staff, and students. Contact for more information.

USC RCR Resources

Federal RCR Resources

Other RCR Resources

RCR Booklets

Using Animal Subjects in Research

Describes the ethical and regulatory requirements associated with the use of animal subjects in research. Case studies and reference lists are provided.

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Collaborative Research


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Conflicts of Interest

This booklet presents an overview of conflicts of interest, as well as case studies and reference lists.

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Data Management and Acquisition

Discusses how circumstances in which data must be protected to secure the intellectual property inherent in new inventions and protect the confidentiality of human research subjects. Explains legal/ethical issues related to ownership of data collected in an academic environment. Case studies and references are provided

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Human Subjects Research

Information about the responsible conduct of human subjects research. Key human subjects research definitions are provided as well as a concise historical overview of how the federal regulations came about. The Informed Consent process and Institutional Review Boards are also discussed. Case studies and reference lists are provided.

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Mentoring USC Student Researchers

A resource for USC faculty, students, postdoc researchers and staff involved in mentoring relationships. Mentor/mentee expectations and responsibilities are discussed. Case studies and reference lists are provided.

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Peer Review

A look at some of the issues authors and reviewers face as they prepare grant proposals and literature for publication.


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Responsible Authorship and Publication

An overview of the issues involving publication and authorship as well as a model academic policy on authorship. Case studies and references are provided.

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Avoiding Being Penalized: Research/Scientific Misconduct

An overview of research misconduct including historical and contemporary examples, guidelines on reporting misconduct, and a description of the investigatory process. The booklet includes case studies on research misconduct and reference lists.

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