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 and Commitment
  4. Data Management and Acquisition
  5. Human Subject Research Protections
  6. Mentoring
  7. Peer Review
  8. Responsible Authorship and Publication
  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. At USC, each department or school bears responsibility for ensuring that their grant recipients satisfy the terms attached to their funding. NSF funded students are certified by the Office of Compliance (OOC). Additional requirements for RCR training are mandated at the discretion of individual USC departments/schools.

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

Guidance on preparing, managing and terminating collaborative research relationships. Readers will have a better understanding of the responsibilities involved in sharing work and credit in a joint research venture. Case studies and reference lists are provided.

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Conflicts of Interest and Commitment

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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Other Human Subjects Research Booklets

  • Are You the Holder of an IND or IDE?
  • Responsible Conduct of Research Booklet Series
  • Guide to Human Subjects Research For USC Medical Students
  • Student Handbook: Making Sense of Human Subjects Research
  • Informed Consent in Human Subjects Research
  • Mentoring USC Student Researchers
  • Do You Have What it Takes to be an IRB Community Member?
  • Should I Participate in Research?
  • Are You Conducting Research Using Human Subjects? A Guide for Investigators
  • Is Your Project Human Subjects Research? A Guide for Investigators
  • ABCs for Faculty Advisors