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Office of the Vice President for Research
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  Home > Ethics > Curriculum
Teaching Ethics for Research, Scholarship, & Practice

Education in the Responsible Conduct of Research

A Curriculum and Guide for Course Development

When the University Senate policy, Education in the Responsible Conduct of Sponsored Research and Grants Management, was approved in 1999, a faculty committee was appointed by the Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School. The charge of this committee was to develop a curriculum and guide that would serve as the foundation for the development and delivery of educational programs in the responsible conduct of research and the management of sponsored projects for faculty.

The curriculum identified 10 important topics relevant to the responsible conduct of research and offers learning objectives, University policies, content outlines, case studies, and references for each topic.

This curriculum continues to serve as the basis for the RCR program, as a guide to the introductory information presented in RCR parts 1 and 2, and as a set of specific topics to be explored from disciplinary perspectives for RCR continuing education. We have made these original curriculum materials available on this website to emphasize the continuing importance of the educational program and to facilitate consistency in discussion of these important ethical issues through both the graduate programs and the faculty and staff development programs. Please refer comments and suggestions to rschtrng@umn.edu.

© 2009 by the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota.
All rights reserved. All non-University materials used with permission. Produced by the Faculty Education Advisory Committee for The Office of the Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School.

Prologue

The past few decades have seen a remarkable intensity of the social and commercial consequences of research and scholarship, as well as an attendant increase in administrative complexity. The significant increase in public funding of research has led to increased scrutiny of the ways these funds are used, and to increased demands for accountability on the part of the investigators. It is therefore necessary to raise the level of awareness of these issues by all those involved in the research effort.

The matter is further complicated because, as academics, our scholarship is intertwined with our responsibilities as graduate mentors and teachers. The University has mandated that we respond to this matter explicitly and effectively. The strategy that has evolved has been to formulate a syllabus for a course in "The Responsible Conduct of Research" that will be required of all faculty, students and staff.

We have divided the subject matter into 12 categories; thus, they may be clustered to suit the peculiar requirements of students, faculty or staff, or for each disciplinary group. The topics are as follows:

  1. History and Values Relating to Research and Scholarship
  2. Social Responsibility; Scientific Fraud; Reporting Misconduct
  3. Authorship
  4. Plagiarism
  5. Peer Review
  6. Research Data Management
  7. Funding, Fiscal Management
  8. Intellectual Property
  9. Conflict of Interest
  10. Environmental Health and Safety
  11. Animal Subjects
  12. Human Subjects

These sections are presented in more or less detail, depending on the nature of the subject.

Common features are:

  • Statement of Learning Objectives
  • Relevant University policies
  • Outline of content with text
  • Case Studies
  • References

The modules are intended as teaching guides and source material to be used selectively or to be expanded, depending on the particular circumstances of their use. The content will be available as a resource book/syllabus to faculty responsible for educational programs in the responsible conduct of science. The curriculum will also be placed on the web to promote its visibility. The University of Minnesota is a research university; nevertheless, we must be constantly aware of the relationship between our research and scholarship, on the one hand, and our responsibilities as teachers on the other. When considering any aspect of the proper conduct of research, the implications of our responsibilities as teachers, mentors, advisors and protectors of our students must be included.

In an even broader sense, as members of the university community we are obliged to maintain the highest standards of behavior with regard to such issues as respect and encouragement for diversity, interactions with our colleagues and the avoidance of any form of harassment of our students or subordinates.

Marty Dworkin
September 15, 1999

 
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