Responsible Conduct of Research

The George Washington University encourages all of its faculty and students to become familiar with professional and ethical standards in academia in general as well as in their chosen fields. In fulfilling its responsibility to prepare the next generation of responsible researchers, GW offers the following assistance:

Responsible Conduct of Research Training
All faculty and students interested in research are urged to complete the Responsible Conduct of Research training provided at GW. Discussion of the issues raised by this training among faculty and students should be an important element of professional development in all of our research and graduate programs. Faculty and students engaged in certain sponsored or academic programs and circumstances are required to participate in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training.

NSF RCR Training Plan:
Completion of RCR Training is mandatory for all undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers supported on a full-time or part-time basis on any National Science Foundation award resulting from a proposal due after January 4th, 2010. If this applies to you, you must complete the RCR program in accordance with GW's NSF RCR Training Plan within the first budgetary period (usually the first year) of the date you begin charging such a new NSF award. This Training Plan requires completion of the online RCR course offered through GW’s arrangement with the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) found at https://www.citiprogram.org/.

RCR training using the CITI online course takes about five hours to complete. Select the appropriate version of the program related to your professional interests: biomedical, social and behavioral, physical science and engineering, or humanities. You must achieve 80% correct on the quizzes to pass but you can retake quizzes as needed until you pass. The important thing is to learn and think about the issues.

RCR Topics covered include:
• Research Misconduct
• Data Acquisition and Management
• Responsible Authorship and Publication
• Peer Review
• Mentoring
• Conflicts of Interest and Commitment
• Collaborative Relationships

Students and post-doctoral researchers also have the option of taking additional RCR courses that are available in lecture/classroom settings. For those students who wish to take in-person lecture/classroom training in lieu of the taking the NSF RCR Training Plan Online, students and post-doctoral researchers on NSF awards also have the option of documenting that they have taken a minimum of eight (8) hours of approved in-person RCR coursework from the schedule of such courses offered by semester and available at: How do I find and validate my RCR training?


NIH RCR Training Plan:
Students, faculty and other researchers supported on certain NIH training, career development, research education, and dissertation research grants 1 are also required to take RCR training. For the NIH RCR Training Plan, eight (8) hours of live RCR training must be undertaken at least once during each career stage throughout a scientist’s career: i.e., at the undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, predoctoral, postdoctoral, and faculty levels. This training is required at a frequency of no less than once every four years. GW provides this training through lectures, workshops, and courses provided each year, including lecture series offered by the Office of the Vice President for Research that are qualified for RCR live RCR Training credit. For more information, go to How do I find and validate my RCR training?

More information about the U.S. government’s efforts to encourage ethical conduct by researchers can be found at the NSF RCR web site and the web site of the Office of Research Integrity.

GW has multiple policies related to RCR including our Policy and Procedures Regarding Allegations of Research Misconduct, which sets forth our responsibilities for avoiding and reporting instances of research misconduct, Conflict of Interest and Commitment for Faculty and Investigators, Data Classification Security Policy, and so forth. Please note that GW also has policies regarding compliance and ethical responsibilities in conducting research for human subject protection, animal protection, and protection of health and laboratory safety when working with hazardous materials. Training is also available to prepare researchers in those areas. For a listing of GW Polices including those focused on RCR, please see GW’s Policies.

Writing Resources
GW also offers a variety of resources to assist students in being responsible writers: GW’s Code of Academic Integrity represents our community’s commitment to academic honesty. The Office of Academic Integrity is always available to consult on issues of academic integrity.

RefWorks is an online tool supported by Gelman Library that helps writers organize their research and create bibliographies—and avoid inadvertent plagiarism in the process.

The WID Studio offers a range of resources and references on writing, including guidance on avoiding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty.

GW will soon make available through Blackboard, a tutorial designed to help students avoid plagiarism as they quote, paraphrase, summarize, and otherwise make use of others’ ideas and material.


1This NIH requirement applies to the following programs: D43, D71, F05, F30, F31, F32, F33, F34, F37, F38, K01, K02, K05, K07, K08, K12, K18, K22, K23, K24, K25, K26, K30, K99/R00, KL1, KL2, R25, R36, T15, T32, T34, T35, T36, T37, T90/R90, TL1, TU2, and U2R. This policy also applies to any other NIH-funded programs supporting research training, career development, or research education that require instruction in responsible conduct of research as stated in the relevant funding opportunity announcements.