Training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

Basic Information:

All SUNY Geneseo undergraduate and graduate students who are involved in any way in research or other projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) are required to complete RCR training, as specified below. SUNY Geneseo's RCR Training Officer is Dr. Aaron Steinhauer, Department of Physics and Astronomy (, x5282).  The full text of SUNY Geneseo's RCR Training Policy is below.


To complete SUNY Geneseo's RCR Training requirement, you must demonstrate that you have completed the required modules of the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course within six months of beginning work on the project by doing the following:

1. Go to the CITI website:
2. Click on "Register Here."
3. Choose "SUNY-Geneseo" from the drop down list of Participating Institutions, and register a username and password. Complete other required registration information as indicated.
4. Enroll for the RCR course, choosing a discipline from the list below (check with your advisor if you are not sure):

a. Biomedical
b. Social and Behavioral Science
c. Physical Science
d. Humanities
e. Engineering

5. Complete all ten required modules.
6. Pass quizzes at the end of each with a combined score of at least 80%.
7. Print out the CITI RCR Course Completion Report and return it to your advisor within six months of beginning the project.

The modules themselves will take 30-60 minutes each to complete, so please work on them regularly.

If you have questions, please contact the RCR Training officer, Dr. Aaron Steinhauer,  or the Office of Sponsored Research (x5547).


RCR Training Information (doc) OR RCR Training Information (pdf)

(Contains information for students on the policy and instructions for accessing the CITI RCR Course)


RCR Training Compliance Form (doc) OR RCR Training Compliance Form (pdf)

(Faculty members should complete this when their students have finished the CITI RCR Course)

SUNY Geneseo Responsible Conduct of Research Training Policy

Basic Principles:

SUNY Geneseo is committed to the ethical conduct of research and is in compliance with Section 7009 of the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education and Science (America COMPETES) Act (42 U.S.C. 1862o-1). As implemented by the National Science Foundation (NSF), this Act requires that an institutional plan be in place to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research to undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers participating in NSF-funded research projects.


The Principal Investigator (PI) will be responsible for ensuring that all undergraduate and graduate students and post doctoral researchers who are participating in the PI's NSF-funded projects complete required training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) as specified below. This policy currently only applies to projects that are funded by the National Science Foundation. This requirement is applicable to undergraduate and graduate students and post doctoral researchers who are involved in the project in any way (e.g. employed on the grant, receiving a training stipend from the grant, participating in directed study for credit in the grant research, or working voluntarily on the grant project).


Principal Investigator (PI) can also be known as the co-investigator (for collaborative grants) or the Project Director (PD) and is the faculty or staff member responsible for directing the work of the grant project at SUNY Geneseo.


The President has appointed an RCR Training Officer who will be responsible for oversight of the institution's RCR training program. The RCR Training Officer will serve as the administrator for the CITI RCR Course and will work closely the PIs, the Office of Sponsored Research, and the Grants Management Office to identify students and post doctoral researchers who must complete RCR training, provide direction to the trainees on the RCR training program requirements, and provide training reports to the PIs and the Grants Management Office, as needed.

Dissemination and administration of these regulations will be the responsibility of the Office of Sponsored Research which will monitor and assess the RCR training program and make recommendations as appropriate, and keep current on federal regulations pertaining to this policy.

The Office of Sponsored Research will maintain a web page for RCR training which will provide a link to the CITI system, copies of SUNY Geneseo's RCR policy and procedures and the RCR Training Compliance Form (see below).

Required Training:

SUNY Geneseo's RCR training will consist of, at minimum, completion of the nine (9) required modules of the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) on-line Responsible Conduct of Research Course and embedded quizzes. CITI has RCR courses for the following four disciplines: Biomedical Sciences, Humanities, Physical Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

The core instructional areas (modules) of the CITI Responsible Conduct of Research Course as required by the National Science Foundation are:

1. Research Misconduct: The meaning of research misconduct and the regulations, policies, and guidelines that govern research misconduct. Includes topics such as fabrication, falsification, and plagiarism; error vs. intentional misconduct; institutional misconduct policies; identifying misconduct; procedures for reporting misconduct; protection of whistleblowers; and outcomes of investigations, including institutional and Federal actions.

2. Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing, and Ownership: Accepted practices for acquiring and maintaining research data. Proper methods for record keeping and electronic data collection and storage in scientific research. Includes defining what constitutes data; keeping data notebooks or electronic files; data privacy and confidentiality; data selection, retention, sharing, ownership, and analysis; data as legal documents and intellectual property, including copyright laws.

3. Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship: the purpose and importance of scientific publication, and the responsibilities of the authors. Includes topics such as collaborative work and assigning appropriate credit, acknowledgments, appropriate citations, repetitive publications, fragmentary publication, sufficient description of methods, corrections and retractions, conventions for deciding upon authors, author responsibilities, and the pressure to publish.

4. Peer Review: The purpose of peer review in determining merit for research funding and publications. Includes topics such as, the definition of peer review, impartiality, how peer review works, editorial boards and ad hoc reviewers, responsibilities of the reviewers, privileged information and confidentiality.

5. Mentor and Trainee Responsibilities: The responsibilities of mentors and trainees in research programs. Includes the role of a mentor, responsibilities of a mentor, conflicts between mentor and trainee, collaboration and competition, selection of a mentor, and abusing the mentor/trainee relationship.

6. Conflicts of Interest and Commitment: The definition of conflicts of interest and how to handle conflicts of interest. Types of conflicts encountered by researchers and institutions. Includes topics such as conflicts associated with collaborators, publication, financial conflicts, obligations to other constituencies, and other types of conflicts.

7. Collaborative Research: Research collaborations and issues that may arise from such collaborations. Includes topics such as setting ground rules early in the collaboration, avoiding authorship disputes, and the sharing of materials and information with internal and external collaborating scientists.

8. Human Subjects: Issues important in conducting research involving human subjects. Includes topics such as the definition of human subjects research, ethical principles for conducting human subjects research, informed consent, confidentiality and privacy of data and patient records, risks and benefits, preparation of a research protocol, institutional review boards, adherence to study protocol, proper conduct of the study, and special protections for targeted populations, e.g., children, minorities, and the elderly.

9. Animal Welfare: Issues important to conducting research involving animals. Includes topics such as definition of research involving animals, ethical principles for conducting research involving animals, Federal regulations governing animal research, institutional animal care and use committees, and treatment of animals.

Time Frame for Completion of Required Training:

Individuals should complete the required CITI RCR Course within the six month period beginning with the date that they first become involved on the grant project.

Supplemental Training:

While not required, individual PIs are encouraged familiarize themselves with the CITI RCR Course and assign modules listed as "optional" within the system as supplemental requirements as they deem appropriate. PIs are also encouraged to supplement the required on-line training with individual courses, workshops, seminars, or lab group discussions, as appropriate.


Upon receipt of NSF grant award notification, the Office of Sponsored Research will inform SUNY Geneseo's RCR Training Officer (RCRTO). The RCRTO will contact the PI, provide a copy of and explain the RCR policy, and provide instructions for logging onto the CITI system. PIs are responsible for identifying those students and postdocs who must undergo RCR training.

Students and post-docs required to undergo RCR training are responsible for registering with the CITI system, completing the required modules within the time-frame specified, and notifying their PI when they have successfully completed the training by submitting to them a copy of the course completion certificate provided by the CITI system.

For each student and postdoc who has completed the required RCR training, the PI will fill out an RCR Compliance Form and submit it to the RCRTO who will verify compliance and then forward the forms to the Grants Management Office. RCR Compliance Forms should be completed as appropriate, but not less than once a year. The RCRTO will monitor the CITI grade book and provide feedback to PIs about the course completion status of individuals on the grant when requested. The RCRTO will keep a database of grants and personnel and keep it up to date as individuals complete the CITI course, and will provide reports to the Grants Management Office when requested.

If the PI/PD provides supplemental training, as described above, to students/postdocs, a brief description of the training should be attached to the completed RCR Compliance Form upon submission to the RCRTO.


The RCRTO will maintain electronic records. The Grants Management Office will keep completed RCR Compliance Forms on file as part of the PI award documentation and maintain records of any RCR reporting to NSF.