Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) is defined as the practice of scientific investigation with integrity and involves the awareness and application of established norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research. Montana State University expects that all research be conducted to the highest ethical standards by faculty, students, and staff. MSU’s RCR training covers the core areas that are seen as significant in conducting research, including research misconduct, plagiarism, falsification, fabrication, data editing, authorship on manuscripts, conflict of interest, mentor-mentee relationships, and more. MSU training opportunities encourage critical thinking and engagement in discussions about what it means to be an ethical researcher.

Determining Authorship and Resolving Disputes


NSF vs. NIH RCR Requirements

NSF RCR training requirements differ from NIH training requirements in that NSF requires that any student or postdoctoral researcher supported by NSF receive RCR training.  NIH requires all individuals receiving training grants to undergo RCR training.

NSF RCR Training Requirements

Per America COMPETES Act, all NSF-supported undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows engaged in research must complete RCR CITI Training. CITI RCR Training is a multi-faceted, standardized RCR program to meet sponsor requirements. Those required to complete NSF RCR may take CITI RCR Training to fulfill the requirement.

CITI RCR Training

* Note the CITI RCR does not meet the full NIH RCR requirements for researchers receiving NIH training awards – see NIH eligible training below.

NIH RCR Training Requirements

All those receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant must complete RCR training.  This applied to the following programs: D43, D71, F05, F30, F31, F32, F33, F34, F37, F38, K01, K02, K05, K07, K08, K12, K18, K22, 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. MSU offers the following curriculum that meets NIH RCR requirements:

  1. PHL 491. Logic Research Ethics (Offered on demand; 1-4 credits)
  2. BIOB 424. Ethical Practice of Science (3 credits)
  •   PREREQUISITE: PHL 312, PHL 321, or at least one three-hundred level series of any science course. Examines the evolution of the scientific process with specific focus on the ethical responsibilities of scientists and to examine policies and procedures developed by the scientific community to ensure integrity in the research process.

Elective Training Opportunities For All


Research Misconduct

It is the policy of Montana State University-Bozeman to require the highest ethical standards in the research of its faculty and staff; to inquire into and, if necessary, investigate and resolve promptly and fairly all instances of alleged or apparent misconduct; and, as appropriate, to comply in a timely manner with requirements for reporting cases of possible misconduct to sponsoring agencies when sponsored research funds are involved. Misconduct in research shall be considered a breach of contract between the employee and the University. 

The full policy, as well as more information about definitions, reporting, and confidentiality, can be found here: Research Misconduct Policy

(This policy applies to any research activity undertaken by faculty or staff. Cases of research/academic misconduct involving students are subject to the disciplinary rules governing students, but may be reviewed, where appropriate, under this policy.)