Instructional Courses and Course Content
Beginning in the spring term 2010, the Graduate School expects to receive proposals from departments for RCR courses to be taught as early as summer 2010, but no later than the 2010-11 academic year. RCR courses will be reviewed and approved by the Graduate School through its usual course-approval process. To be effective, departmental RCR courses must be discipline specific, covering issues and problems that graduate students and post-docs are likely to encounter in their research experience.
Course formats are not mandated. Current offerings in fulfillment of the NIH mandate for formal instruction in the ethical conduct of research are half-term, six-week readings-case studies-discussion courses meeting three hours per week, taught by a regular faculty member, and often involving other faculty who come in to share their expertise and viewpoints on specific topics. Other formats are acceptable and may include: weekly lectures by one or more faculty in an area or broad field, e.g., engineering, followed by discussion groups or precepts in the specific departments; an intensive short course during the summer or during reading/exam period in January or May; or a six-week or longer course taught intensively during the summer. Significant student-faculty discussion, however, should be a major component of any proposed course (a preference strongly expressed by both NIH and NSF). Individual discussions between an advisor and his or her student are not considered sufficient to fulfill the requirement.
Courses should be taught by regular departmental or program faculty or emeriti, one or several depending on the course format. In the short term, to get started, having qualified outside lecturers would be acceptable. Courses should be offered as ungraded or with the P-D-F option, with attendance at all sessions required.
In some circumstances, on-line modules are an appropriate training platform by themselves. In other cases, portions of online training modules may be utilized as a resource for the regular courses. To facilitate training and compliance, the University will subscribe to the online CITI training program for use in training.
Courses should cover the appropriate and relevant topics from among the eleven “core areas” below. These eleven areas are denoted by NIH to be “incorporated into most acceptable plans for” RCR training. The first nine subjects have been defined as core areas for instruction by the NSF’s Office of Research Integrity and propagated by the Council of Graduate Schools’ “Project for Scholarly Integrity in Graduate Education” (in which Princeton is an unfunded participant):
- Data acquisition, sharing, management and ownership
- Conflicts of interest and commitment
- Research misconduct
- Publication practices and responsible authorship
- Peer review
- Collaborative research
- Mentor and student/trainee rights and responsibilities
- Animal welfare
- Human subjects
- Science in society
- Safe laboratory practices
Academic departments will be responsible for
- soliciting and certifying evidence from post-docs’ job applications about completion of RCR training prior to their Princeton hire and documenting their completion of an on-line course or enrolling them in a departmental RCR course if the timing permits,
- creating, gaining approval from the Graduate School, and staffing the RCR course or courses for graduate students,
- certifying that undergraduates and VSRCs have completed an on-line RCR training course before entering them into Labor Accounting for payment from an eligible grant, and
- submitting documentation of RCR activity—e.g., RCR course syllabi, instructors, name rosters of those who have completed the course to the Graduate School and Dean for Research.
The Graduate School will be responsible for
- reviewing and approving departmental RCR courses, and
- tracking and documenting student compliance with RCR training.
The Dean for Research will
- certify that the institution has an RCR training and oversight plan to support the submission of funding applications,
- collect and maintain records related to RCR training plans and compliance, and
- provide these records to grant agencies upon request to review training plans.
The Office of Audit and Compliance will be responsible for
- periodic review of the RCR Plan as part of the University’s three-year audit plan.