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Research Guides@Tufts

Research Data Management @ Hirsh Health Sciences Library

RCR Workshop Series

Welcome to the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Workshop Series!

This series of workshops aims to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to conduct research ethically and responsibly. These workshops are relevant to anyone involved in research, particularly those receiving funding from federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).


What is Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)?

Formally, RCR is a course or set of courses that all researchers who have or are working under certain federal government research grants must attend. More broadly, responsible conduct of research is a set of principles and considerations that, when followed, will ensure that your research is conducted in a safe, ethical, transparent, and reproducible manner. This includes elements such as:

  • Protecting human and animal subjects
  • Avoiding research misconduct
  • Managing conflicts of interest
  • Responsible data management
  • Collaborative research practices
  • Authorship and publication ethics

Why participate in RCR?

The most obvious answer is "compliance": You may be required to participate in RCR if you are conducting research under certain federal government grants. However, the ideas and training in RCR can help any researcher! RCR can help you learn how to:

  • Increase transparency in research, which can help increase citations or improve public perception of your research
  • Ensure a safe and nurturing lab environment, which can in turn increase diversity, improve the quality of ideas and research, and improve retention
  • Protect your papers from the need for correction or retraction, which is becoming increasingly common
  • Improve your knowledge of open access and other publishing landscapes, which improves availability of science
  • Improve collaboration both within and outside of Tufts
  • Connect you with other researchers at Tufts you may not run into otherwise

Who needs RCR credits?

If your research receives funding from federal funding agencies such as NIH, NSF, or USDA, completing RCR training is mandatory. These workshops provide credits towards fulfilling this requirement. In addition, your RCR credits can sometimes be applied retroactively to future grants, so if you are not currently doing research under a federal grant but may be within the next calendar year, you can use these sessions to get a jump start on your RCR requirements.

How many sessions do I need to attend?

Right now, we recommend using the library workshop series to supplement Tufts' yearly RCR course in December. If you cannot attend part of the December course, you may be able to make up the time in a library course on a similar topic. Tufts follows the NIH requirement of needing to cover each of 11 topics for at least one hour each (this is not exactly what the NIH requirement is, but it is what we accomplish in our training, which actually exceeds the requirement). Each of the 11 topics should be completed within one calendar year, and RCR requirements need to be renewed every fours years, or roughly at each stage of your scientific career. The 11 topics are:

  1. conflict of interest – personal, professional, and financial – and conflict of commitment, in allocating time, effort, or other research resources
  2. policies regarding human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects in research, and safe laboratory practices
  3. mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships
  4. safe research environments (e.g., those that promote inclusion and are free of sexual, racial, ethnic, disability and other forms of discriminatory harassment)
  5. collaborative research, including collaborations with industry and investigators and institutions in other countries
  6. peer review, including the responsibility for maintaining confidentiality and security in peer review
  7. data acquisition and analysis; laboratory tools (e.g., tools for analyzing data and creating or working with digital images); recordkeeping practices, including methods such as electronic laboratory notebooks
  8. secure and ethical data use; data confidentiality, management, sharing, and ownership
  9. research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct
  10. responsible authorship and publication
  11. the scientist as a responsible member of society, contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research, and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research

Additional information for attendees

How to keep track of your credits:

After completing each workshop, you will receive an electronic certificate of attendance via email. Please keep these certificates for your records.

Getting attendance credit:

To ensure everyone gets the most out of these virtual workshops, please adhere to the following attendance guidelines:

  • Use your Tufts Zoom account: To ensure ease of attendance, log in with your Tufts Zoom account before joining the meeting.
  • Arrive within the first 5 minutes: This ensures you don't miss any opening remarks or important information.
  • Stay logged in for the full session: Please remain present and attentive until the workshop concludes.
  • Minimum attendance: You must attend at least 50 minutes of each hour-long session to receive credit.
  • Camera active: For remote sessions, your camera must be kept on to foster engagement and interaction.
  • Active participation: We welcome your questions, comments, and contributions throughout the sessions.

Additional information:

Slides may be shared on request, at the instructor's discretion. Workshops are generally not recorded, unless explicitly announced in the description. If a session is recorded, watching a recording will not confer RCR credit.

We encourage you to visit the websites of the NIH, NSF, and USDA for further information on RCR requirements and policies.

Feel free to contact Allie Tatarian at or Kirby Johnson at with any questions or concerns.


We believe this workshop series will be a valuable resource for your research journey. We look forward to your active participation and engagement!