Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

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Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

The MSU College of Engineering takes seriously the responsibility to train students in the responsible conduct of research.  All graduate students within the College are required to participate in appropriate RCR training each year.  The RCR requirements vary depending on when you began your first engineering graduate degree at MSU.

If you began your first engineering graduate degree at MSU in Spring 2017 or LATER, then you must follow the "NEW" requirements, which vary depending on your program type:

  • Master's Degree "Plan B" (non-thesis) students must complete (1) the "first year" requirements and (2) "discussion-based training"
  • Master's Degree "Plan A" (thesis) students must complete (1) the "first year" requirements, (2) the "second year" requirements, and (3) "discussion-based training"
  • Doctoral Degree students must complete (1) the "first year" requirements, (2) the "second year" requirements, (3) "discussion-based training," and (4) "annual refresher training"
  • All training must be completed and logged into the RTTS system by December 31st each year
  • For complete details, please review the PDF file of the "NEW" Requirements

If you began your first engineering graduate degree at MSU in Fall 2016 or EARLIER, then you have the option of EITHER completing the "NEW" requirements OR finishing the "OLD" requirements:

  • A minimum of 5 hours of RCR training in your first year, including at least 1 hour in person with your advisor
  • A minimum of 3 additional hours of RCR training each subsequent year, including at least 1 hour in person with your advisor
  • All training must be completed and logged into the RTTS system by December 31st each year
  • For complete details, please review this PDF file of the "OLD" Requirements

 

RCR Resources and "How To" Guides

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • I missed the December 31 deadline to complete my training for last year; what should I do? Complete the required training from last year as soon as possible to "catch up." Record this training in the RTTS report for the current academic year. Then complete ADDITIONAL hours to fulfill the current year's training requirements.
  • I missed the December 31 deadline to log my training for last year; what should I do? Add them to your RTTS report for the current academic year. Print a copy of all RTTS reports containing training from last year and include them with your annual report.
  • My RCR hours for this reporting year are on more than one "reports" in RTTS; what should I do? Print all of the reports from RTTS that include training for the calendar year in question, put them together into one PDF file, and include that file with your annual report.
  • I need help with the RTTS system (logging in, creating an account, etc.); what should I do? Email grs-help@egr.msu.edu for assistance.
  • I already completed my RCR training for this year, but I got a reminder message; what should I do? The reminder message was sent to all students; if you have already completed your RCR training for this year you can disregard that message.
  • I am a BAE, BME or CMSE graduate student; do I have to do RCR? Yes. All graduate students affiliated with the MSU College of Engineering are required to complete RCR training each year.
  • I am a non-thesis (or coursework-only) MS student in Engineering; do I have to do RCR? Yes. All graduate students affiliated with the MSU College of Engineering are required to complete RCR training each year.
  • I am a Linked BS+MS or dual-enrolled student; do I need to complete RCR training? Yes. You are considered simultaneously an undergraduate and graduate student, and all graduate students must complete RCR training each year.
  • I did RCR last year; do I have to do it again this year? Yes. RCR is an annual requirement and must be completed each year while you are a graduate student.
  • I am graduating this semester; do I need to do RCR? RCR is a graduation requirement and must be completed prior to graduation. However, if you have already received notice from the MSU Graduate School that your degree requirements are completed, meaning that you are no longer a student, then you are not required to file a report of your RCR training for 2018.
  • How do I count "hours" of training? The policy in the College of Engineering is to "round up" to the nearest whole hour. For example, if a CITI module takes you 38 minutes to complete, you should record it in RTTS as one hour of training. Another example: if a seminar lasts 65 minutes, you should record it in RTTS as two hours of training.
  • My online training is already recorded in CITI (or SABA); do I need to manually enter it into the RTTS system? Yes. All training needs to be logged in the RTTS system in order for it to count towards your RCR requirements.
  • Does my advisor need to sign the RTTS report? No. You will submit the RTTS report with your next annual report, at which time your advisor will review your training and provide an electronic signature for the entire annual report.
  • Do I need to turn in a hardcopy of my RTTS report? No. You need to log all training in the RTTS system by December 31; however, no hardcopy (or advisor signature) is required.
  • Where are the "First" or "Second" year required courses in CITI? Please read the PDF above (How to Reigster for CITI and Find the "First" and "Second" Year Courses).

 

RCR-Related Professional Development Seminars and Courses

The College of Engineering hosts regular professional development seminars for graduate students; some of these may be counted towards students' RCR training requirements, with the advisor's approval.  Some graduate courses also include substantial discussion of RCR topics, and students enrolled in these classes may use them to fulfill some RCR requirements.

Recent courses that include substantial RCR focus include:

  • Fall 2019 and Spring 2020, EGR 891 Section 002: Technical Writing for Engineers and Scientists (students who completed this class may count 6 hours of discussion-based RCR training)
  • Spring 2019 and Spring 2020, CMSE 890 Section 005: CyberAmbassadors Communications, Teamwork, Ethics and Leadership training for Muldisiplinary Research Teams (students who completed this class may count 6 hours of discussion-based RCR training)

For calendar year 2020, seminars with RCR focus include:

  • Spring Semester New Graduate Student Orientation (1/3/20) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry
  • Discovering and Developing your Mentoring Philosophy (1/10/20) Presented by: Dr. Beronda Montgomery
  • Data Management (2/7/20) Presented by: Scout Calbert
  • Productive Pathways: Finding Balance During Remote Graduate Study (3/27/20) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry (zoom recording | PDF slides)
  • Authorship Presentation and Question and Answer (4/10/20) Presented by: Dr. Andrew Christlieb (zoom recording)
  • MSU Library Resources (4/24/20) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry (zoom recording | PDF slides)

For calendar year 2019, seminars with RCR focus include:

  • Spring Semester New Graduate Student Orientation (1/4/19) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry
  • Preparing an Effective Research Poster (1/25/19) Presented by: Dr. Tom Wolff
  • Authorship (2/8/19) Presented by Dr. Andrew Christlieb
  • Fall Semester New Graduate Student Orientation (8/27/19) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry

For calendar year 2018, seminars with RCR focus include:

  • Spring Semester New Graduate Student Orientation (1/5/18) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry
  • Preparing an Effective Research Poster (2/9/18) Presented by: Dr. Tom Wolff
  • Fall Semester New Graduate Student Orientation (8/28/18) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry
  • Data Management (11/2/18) Presented by: Dr. Scout Calbert
  • MSU and Engineering Libraries (11/16/18) Presented by: Tom Volkening
  • RCR Training Seminar (11/12/18) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry

For calendar year 2017, seminars with RCR focus include:

  • Spring Semester New Graduate Student Orientation (1/6/17) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry
  • Annual Report Training Seminar (1/11/17) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry
  • Annual Report Training Seminar (1/12/17) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry
  • MSU and Engineering Libraries (2/2/17) Presented by: Tom Volkening
  • Preparing an Effective Research Poster (3/2/17) Presented by: Dr. Tom Wolff
  • Fall Semester New Graduate Student Orientation (8/29/17) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry
  • MSU and Engineering Libraries (10/20/17) Presented by: Tom Volkening
  • Data Management (11/3/17) Presented by: Dr. Scout Calbert
  • RCR Training Seminar (11/13/17) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry
  • RCR Training Seminar (11/28/17) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry
  • "Entering Mentoring" Training Seminar (10/7/2017) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry and Dr. Dirk Colbry
  • "Entering Mentoring" Training Seminar (6/5/2017) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry and Dr. Dirk Colbry
  • "Entering Mentoring" Training Seminar (5/15/2017) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry and Dr. Dirk Colbry

For calendar year 2016, seminars with RCR focus include:

  • Spring Semester New Graduate Student Orientation (1/8/16) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry
  • Annual Report Training Seminar (1/14/16) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry
  • Annual Report Training Seminar (1/20/16) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry
  • Preparing an Effective Research Poster (2/25/16) Presented by: Dr. Tom Wolff
  • Fall Semester New Graduate Student Orientation (8/30/16) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry
  • Annual Report and RCR Training Seminar (11/4/16) Presented by: Dr. Katy Luchini Colbry
  • Data Management (11/18/16) Presented by: MSU Library

 

External Resources

The National Academy of Sciences has developed a book entitled "On Being a Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research (3rd Edition)" which is available for free download through the National Academies Press.  You can also access a copy of the PDF document by CLICKING HERE.  There is also a free podcast and video to accompany the lessons in this book.

Other publications of the National Academies that relate to ethical research practices include:

  • "Sharing Clinical Trial Data: Maximizing Benefits, Minimizing Risk"  (available as a free download)
  • "Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences"  (available as a free download)
  • "Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age"  (available as a free download)

Additional free resources are available through the Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science.