A New Program to Support RCR Training
Since fall semester 2018, the University of Toledo (UToledo) has regularly organized in-person training workshops for graduate students on the responsible conduct of research (RCR). This workshop is designed to complement and reinforce the online CITI training already required of students.
The RCR Players
The initial creation of the RCR workshop program included participation by the university’s Office of Research & Sponsored Programs; the College of Graduate Studies; the university’s Research Integrity Officer (RIO); and various deans, professors, and graduate student volunteers representing the colleges of Natural Sciences & Mathematics; Pharmacy; Health & Human Services; Nursing; and Engineering; as well as the Psychology Department (College of Arts & Letters). Significantly, the University Libraries have also been involved in the planning, design, and delivery of the workshops since the inception of the program. Representing the University Libraries in these workshops are Professor Wade Lee-Smith (Research Engagement Librarian) and Professor Lucy Duhon (Scholarly Communications Librarian).
How we do it and what we cover
This half-day RCR training workshop is now held annually (on a Saturday in spring, mid-semester) and includes topics such as research integrity/good research practices; research misconduct and its consequences; the role of the university’s RIO; the relationships between mentors and their graduate student protégés; awareness of bias and conflict of interest; data management; and the importance of ethical authorship and responsible publication – this last segment is led by the University Libraries. A particular value of this in-person training is the opportunity for students to participate in break-out sessions on research dilemmas and to engage in and react to role-playing situations.
UToledo’s RCR workshops have been attended by up to 150 graduate students at a time. The COVID-19 pandemic suspended the workshop in 2020, but it resumed in spring 2021, when the program moved completely online, hosted on Blackboard’s Collaborate. Spring 2022’s workshop will once again be held in person.
Feedback from the graduate students continues to inform the design of the program. Post-training survey responses and in-session quick polls can indicate ‘fuzzy’ topics needing revision or areas for additional training.
Why we do it
RCR training is critical to the orientation of new researchers and scientists to “develop, foster, and maintain a culture of integrity in science and to discourage and prevent unethical conduct,” (https://oir.nih.gov/sourcebook/ethical-conduct/responsible-conduct-research-training) and because “the scientific enterprise is based on a foundation of trust.” (https://oig.nsf.gov/sites/default/files/reports/2021-04/RCR_MIR_Final_7-25-17%20%281%29.pdf)
RCR training also gives students a firm grounding in the compliance requirements for conducting U.S. public-funded research, and is required of all researchers, including students, who conduct research funded by the National Institutes of Health.
– Lucy Duhon, Scholarly Communications Librarian, and Wade Lee-Smith, Research Engagement Librarian, University of Toledo