Responsible Conduct of Research Training

Overview

Responsible conduct of research (RCR) is an important aspect of being an effective scholar.  Michigan Tech has developed several training programs to support graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in their professional development and fulfill obligations to sponsors of our research programs.

Fourteen areas of responsible conduct of research have been identified as essential areas of knowledge for students by the federal government.  The table below summarizes the content areas, and where graduate students may be exposed to this content. Detailed learning objectives for each content area except Human Subjects, Animal Subjects, and Intellectual property are also available.

RCR Content AreaBasic RCR TrainingAdvanced RCR TrainingProgram Specific Training
Treatment of dataX X
Errors and NegligenceX  
Mentor/Trainee ResponsibilitiesX  
MisconductXX 
Ethical Standards (legal, institutional and discipline-based)XX 
Violations and Sanctions X 
Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship X 
Allocation of Credit  X
Peer Review Process X 
Collaborative Science X 
Conflict of Interest X 
Societal Expectations X 
Human Subjects  X
Animal Subjects  X
Intellectual Property  X

 

Basic Responsible Conduct of Research Training

All graduate students must complete basic responsible conduct of research training. This training must be completed by graduate students within their first two semesters at Michigan Tech, or a registration hold will be placed on the student's account.  Students may not graduate or enter research only mode if the training is not complete.

To fulfill this requirement, students may either:

Advanced Responsible Conduct of Research Training

Graduate students who were admitted in spring 2013 or later must complete advanced training, regardless of the source of funding for their education.

Graduate students who are supported by an external sponsor must complete advanced training, regardless of when they began their degree. For example, students who are GRAs receiving funds from the National Science Foundation would be required to take the training, even if they began their degree in 2010.

Students who are required to complete the advanced training will be contacted by staff in the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance and will via MyMichiganTech.mtu.edu if they were admitted in spring 2013 or later.  Students who do not know if they are required to complete the advanced training should contact Joanne Polzien, Executive Director for Compliance, Integrity, and Safety.

Students who do not complete the training within the second or third semester of enrollment may have University support discontinued, have a hold placed on their account, or may not be allowed to graduate.

Advanced RCR training can be obtained by completing a combination of pre-approved workshops and courses that cover six out of the eight advanced RCR topics listed in the table above.  

Successfully completing one of the following pre-approved courses will satisfy the advanced RCR training requirement:

  • BL5025 - The Scientific Profession: (2 credits) Offered in fall. Contact the instructor for more information.  
    Course description: The practice of sciences for graduate students, including how to plan a research project, grantsmanship, publication, navigating the job market, and timely issues (e.g. ethical conduct, diversity and bias, etc.).
  • FW5510 - Advanced Responsible Conduct of Research in Natural Resources: (Summer 2014 - section 23 | 1 credit) Offered on demand in the summer. Contact the instructor for more information.
    This three-day course offered in between spring semester and summer session will offer training in the advanced RCR topics as shown in the table above.  The class will draw on examples relating to natural resources where possible, but is open to all students.  This course is cross-listed as UN5001.
  • PSY5000 - Advanced Responsible Conduct of Research: (1 credit) Offered on demand in summer. Contact the instructor for more information
    Course description: This course will meet MTU requirements for RCR education for human subjects research. All MTU RCR Advanced and Program specific requirements, except Animal Subjects and Intellectual Property, will be covered. Program Specific requirements utilize the American Psychological Association (APA) ethical principles.
  • SS5201 - Cultural Dimensions of International Immersion and Research: (1 credit) Offered in the fall. Contact the instructor for more information. This course is designed for Peace Corps Master's International students or other graduate students preparing for cross-cultural field work.
    Course Description: Students reflect on their culture and assumptions about the world; discuss conducting research responsibly; consider structural, material, and historical dimensions of social problems and social change; and explore how to live and work effectively with people from other cultural groups.
  • UN0500 - Effective Scholarship: (1 credit) Offered on demand in fall and spring. The course meets during the first seven weeks of the semester.
    This course meets once/week for one hour. The course is scheduled for 2 hours each week to allow a makeup opportunity for those who miss class in the previous week. There is no tuition associated with the course, but students are charged a lab fee.
    • Students in research-only mode must take this course as an overload. A course overload request form is not required.
    • Students not in research-only mode may count this course toward the credits required for registration in a semester, but this may not be the only course a student registers for in a semester.
    • This class may not be counted toward the required credits to complete a degree (i.e., may not be listed on a graduate degree schedule).
    • Sample syllabus
    • Learning objectives for course
  • UN5001 - Advanced Responsible Conduct of Research: (1 credit)  Offered on demand in summer.  Contact the instructor for more information.
    This three-day course offered in between spring semester and summer session will offer training in the advanced RCR topics as shown in the table above.  The class will draw on examples relating to natural resources where possible, but is open to all students.  This course is cross-listed as FW5100.
  • UN5500 - Research Integrity Workshop: (1 credit) Offered on demand in summer.  Contact the instructor for more information.
    Three 4-hour workshops introduce students to the principles, practices, and regulations of responsible conduct research. Topics might include: societal expectations; professional and ethical standards; conflicts of interest; peer review; collaboration; publication and authorship; research misconduct; violations and sanctions.

The following workshop(s) are pre-approved for advanced RCR training, for the topics shown in the description.  Advanced RCR training can be obtained by completing a combination of pre-approved workshops and courses that cover six out of the eight advanced RCR topics listed in the table above.  

  • NSF EE Program: Is it Original? Copyright and Patents for Graduate Students: Covers a portion of the publication practices topic
    This NSF funded project offers online training to graduate students covering two areas of intellectual property: copyright and patents.  Copyright is included in the publication practices learning objective. Students who complete this training before or during enrollment in UN0500 will be excused from classes that cover identical material.

Obtaining pre-approval for workshops and courses

Faculty and staff who wish to offer a course or workshop can submit information about the course to Joanne Polzien.  This information will be reviewed by a committee appointed by the vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School.  Completion of approved courses and workshops will be tracked in banner and will be part of the student's on campus training record.

Program Specific Training

Graduate programs may also offer training for their students.  Graduate program directors for each program will have more information.  

Students conducting research with human or animal subjects will need to complete additional training prior to beginning their research.  Contact the Research Integrity and Compliance Office for more information and assistance.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Many funding agencies require post doctoral fellows to obtain training in the responsible conduct of research.  Faculty developing proposals that include post doctoral fellows may include the following paragraph in their proposals.

Post doctoral fellows will be mentored at a variety of levels during their tenure at Michigan Tech.  Each post doc will have a faculty mentor who will provide discipline specific training related to technical aspects of career development as well as the soft skills necessary to succeed in a tenure track faculty position.  The Graduate School offers several opportunities to be involved not only as a mentee, but as a mentor.  Post docs will participate in new graduate student orientation as a facilitator.  Facilitators mediate discussion with new graduate students, and receive additional training in the responsible conduct of research.  By participating as a facilitator, post docs will serve as role models for our incoming students, and become familiar with the questions and concerns of new graduate students.  These skills will later help them to successfully mentor their own graduate students. Finally, post docs will be required to enroll in UN0500, Effective Scholarship.  This course is offered by the Graduate School as a service to the University, and introduces students to more advanced areas of responsible conduct of research, including conflict of interest, collaborative research, and publication practices.  The course involves a significant amount of writing and discussion, and post docs will be expected to lead smaller groups of students in discussion.  The Graduate School orientation program, in combination with UN0500, and the discipline specific training from a mentor provides the RCR training expected by NSF.