Responsible Conduct of Research

Summary

Conducting sound, responsible research is more than simply being in compliance with rules and regulations.

Ethical researchers and scholars think critically about the impact of their behavior on others—their research subjects, students and trainees, advisors and other field faculty, and certainly the scientific community and society at large.

Every graduate student pursuing a research degree (master’s or doctoral) is required to complete training on Responsible Conduct of Research, addressing issues of authorship, peer review, plagiarism, and research misconduct. Each student must complete online training through Cornell’s Office of Research Integrity and Assurance (ORIA) prior to the end of the second registered semester.

If you are funded by NIH and/or NSF and/or USDA-NIFA, additional training requirements pertain to you.

If your research involves human participants seek review and receive a notice of approval or exemption from the Institutional Review Board before beginning your research.

If your research involves live vertebrates seek and receive a notice of approval from Cornell’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee prior to ordering, acquiring, or handling animals for your research.

Graduate fields and/or special committees may require additional training beyond these minimum requirements.

Knowledge of institutional policy, government regulations, and the code of ethics from your discipline-specific societies will help you construct and adhere to ethical and responsible research conduct.

In Depth

All research as it is being designed, implemented, and communicated by presentation and publication must be conducted with the highest ethical standards. The reputation of an individual researcher or scholar, collaborator and co-authors, and the institution can be harmed (and criminal and financial penalties imposed) when research is not responsibly conducted. Students should know and adhere to the federal, state, and university regulations for research, including required training before research can begin.

The Graduate School offers multiple resources and activities for learning about responsible conduct of research (RCR) and for engaging in discussions about the range of issues and dilemmas that must be navigated to avoid violations and penalties for research misconduct. The Ethics Café, Beer with a Scientist/Wine with a Scholar, and Lab crawl activities include discussion of ethical issues, such as conflicts of interest, collaborations, data management and ownership, mentoring relationships, peer review, authorship and publishing, reporting research misconduct, use of human subjects, and use of animal subjects.

Cornell University also offers training, resources, and information about training and other requirements before beginning research. The Office of Research Integrity and Assurance (ORIA) offers an annual symposium for graduate students, each focused on a research ethics topic, such as authorship and mentoring relationships. They also oversee the required training for all graduate students (beginning with the fall 2015 entering class), for students funded by NSF, for students funded by NIH, and for students funded by USDA.

If your research involves human participants, seek review and receive a notice of approval or exemption from the Institutional Review Board before beginning your research.

If your research involves live vertebrates, seek and receive a notice of approval from Cornell’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee prior to ordering, acquiring, or handling animals for your research.

ORIA also can consult with you about reporting suspected research misconduct. In addition, Cornell maintains an anonymous tool, EthicsPoint, for reporting suspected research misconduct. Although this is an anonymous reporting mechanism, reporters may use the website (and a private password) to receive information about their report and any subsequent investigation.

Related

Contact

Vanessa McCaffery
ORIA Compliance Administrator
Vam22@cornell.edu
607-254-5162