Responsible Conduct of Research

Overview and Introduction

A central focus of the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance (ORIC) is to foster the responsible conduct of research and provide support for West Virginia University faculty, staff and students in their research endeavors through training, education and consultation. In addition to the online RCR program, WVU ORIC staff members are available to:

  1. Conduct RCR training and/or make tailored educational presentations to faculty, staff and students.
  2. Provide consultation on specific RCR issues.
  3. Develop and/or assemble RCR materials for use in courses and other academic venues.
  4. Act as a liaison and resource to the federal government, agencies and professional societies regarding RCR issues.

To view what you will need to do to maintain compliance, please visit our Policy and Requirements page.

Why is the RCR Education & Training Program Important?

Over the last decade, research compliance and the responsible conduct of research have received increasing attention and responsive action from the scientific community. The broad forces behind that heightened consideration are the increasing potential rewards that can be garnered from innovation and the changing scale of research. The more specific driving factors are an increase in regulatory requirements, the influence of publicized compliance breakdowns at institutions of higher education, and heightened scrutiny from the media, advocacy groups and government. An added element is the idealistic desire of many scientists to attain a high ethical standard while practicing what many perceive as humanity’s best hope for advancement to a more supportive and fulfilling existence, namely the scientific enterprise. The practical side of all this reflection and action can be summarized in a line from the recent National Academies publication Integrity in Scientific Research: “The public will support science only if it can trust the scientists and institutions that conduct research.”

However, trust has to be thought of in its broadest sense and not just applicable to the individual research practitioner. Research institutions will only flourish when those who support them and ultimately make use of their product, i.e., the public, have high regard for their ways and means. Many academic institutions such as WVU have internalized this insight and have expanded their responsible conduct of research (RCR) training programs concomitantly to meet the needs of a more demanding and competitive era. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have had an RCR education and training requirement in place for their training grants for nearly two decades, and WVU has offered courses to meet that requirement. The new initiatives are in response to recent federal requirements but are in keeping with the University’s avowed commitment to academic integrity as specified in its Academic Integrity Committee Policy.

For further information, please continue to browse this website to learn more about the Responsible Conduct of Research. Any questions can be directed to the Office and Research Integrity and Compliance at (304) 293-7073