Responsible Conduct of Research

Dear Deans, Directors, Associate Deans for Research, and Department Heads/Chairs:

In 2010, the National Science Foundation (NSF) began requiring formal training in the responsible conduct of research (RCR) for all graduate, post-doctoral and undergraduate students supported by NSF funding. Since then, several National Institutes of Health (NIH) programs have begun requiring the same for individuals receiving NIH funding. In order to meet these training requirements, UNL has created an online RCR course (GRDC 98) that is administered through Blackboard (

The RCR training covers subjects that apply to all students and post-doctoral researchers like mentor and trainee roles, authorship, and collaboration.  It is not meant to replace any existing training but rather to provide individuals engaged in research with the baseline knowledge they need to continue the study and practice of RCR.  There is no tuition associated with GRDC 98.  It is available to anyone affiliated with the University of Nebraska. It takes about one hour to complete GRDC 98.  Anyone with a UNL Blackboard account may now self-enroll in GRDC 98 by signing in to Blackboard, clicking the Courses tab and searching for “Responsible Rsh Trng”.

Although any university person may register for the course, please note that all undergraduate researchers, graduate students, and post-docs receiving NSF funding are required to complete GRDC 98 .  Training for the Spring semester should be completed by Wednesday, April 4th 2012. Each individual will receive a certificate once the course is completed.

Thanks for your help with this project,

Regina Werum
Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
303 Canfield Administration, UNL
Lincoln, NE 68588-0433

Phone: 402.472.2851
Fax: 402.472.3834

For questions regarding the RCR training requirement or to verify whether you have completed the RCR training, please contact Research Compliance Services (RCS) at 472-6929.

Step-By-Step Directions for Self-Enrolling in RCR Training on Blackboard

Frequently Asked Questions

Click the show/hide icons (red triangles) to expand or collapse content.

Q1: I need to (or would like to) complete the training but I can’t find the course listed on my Blackboard, how can I get enrolled? expand/collapse content

A: Sign into Blackboard and search Courses for “Responsible Rsh Trng” to enroll (see screenshot).

Q2: I took the UNL RCR training course through Blackboard last semester (or as an undergraduate), do I need to take it again this semester?expand/collapse content

A: The UNL RCR training course is a one-time requirement. Therefore, if you have taken the UNL RCR course through Blackboard, you will not need to take it again. If you are unsure whether you have completed the course, contact Research Compliance Services (RCS) at 472-6929.

Q3: What are the consequences if I don’t complete this course?expand/collapse content

A: The NSF is requiring all mentored researchers to complete RCR training; therefore, non-compliant institutions are not eligible for NSF funding. Your department may lose some financial support and you may not be able to renew your assistantship or other research employment.

Q4: I’m an undergrad working in a Biological Sciences lab, but I’m a History (or Art, or English, etc.) major. Do I need to take the training?expand/collapse content

A: Although the regulation requires RCR training for undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral researchers receiving NSF funds, we believe that this is a useful tool for all students and postdoctoral researchers on UNL’s campus.  Therefore, the training is available for self-enrollment and open to the entire campus.

Q5: How do I access the training?expand/collapse content

A: If you’re required to complete the training, you will need to enroll in GRDC 98 (see also Q1 above). Once you are enrolled in the course, the training program will appear in your Courses list on Blackboard:

Q6: Can the training be completed in pieces throughout the semester or does it all need to be done at one time? Is there a completion deadline?expand/collapse content

A: Blackboard saves your progress so you can split the course into sessions as you see fit, keeping in mind that you’ll need to complete the course by April 4, 2012. If you don’t complete the course, you may not be able to renew your assistantship or other research employment and you will need to register for GRDC 98 again next semester (see also Consequences, Q3 above).

Q7: What course materials will I need to purchase? Is there a reading packet or book for the course?expand/collapse content

A: GRDC 98 is completely self-contained on Blackboard. No outside materials are required.

Q8: Will I be charged more class fees or tuition hours because I registered for this training?expand/collapse content

A: The training course is offered at no cost to you, there are no fees or tuition. GRDC 98 will not appear on your class schedule or transcript, you will be enrolled only on Blackboard.

Q9: I’ve previously completed RCR training courses, however, they were not taken through Blackboard at UNL. Do I really need to take this new training?expand/collapse content

A: We commend you for completing other training and apologize for any inconvenience, but the UNL Research Compliance Services (RCS) needs to track compliance with the new NSF requirement. The new training on Blackboard allows the RCS to easily see who has (and hasn’t) completed the base requirement. The new training program will only take about an hour to complete. Approach it with an open mind and have fun.

Q10: Does this new training replace the IRB and IACUC training programs offered through CITI?expand/collapse content

A: No. The new course doesn’t replace IRB, IACUC and other training programs. The new training course covers only seven topics of RCR that apply to students and researchers of all disciplines. If the other training programs pertain to you, you’ll still need to complete them as well.

Q11: How is completion of the RCR training tracked?expand/collapse content

A: Upon completing the RCR course you will receive a completion certificate. You should keep this certificate of completion for your records. You may also want to provide a copy of the certificate to your department office or the Principal Investigator of the project you are working on. A list of individuals who have completed the RCR training is also maintained by RCS and on SAP.

Learning Video Vignettes

UNL’s Office of Research Responsibility has created several video vignettes exploring dilemmas often experienced by faculty and graduate students in areas of research misconduct, conflicts of interest and authorship designation. Each is followed by a set of questions to stimulate discussion among viewers.

Research Misconduct Policies

Misconduct in research harms the individuals directly responsible for the misconduct, but also threatens the integrity of department, college, university, and broader scientific community.   University policies and procedures regarding misconduct encompass the definition of what constitutes misconduct, the process of investigating misconduct and consequences of research misconduct.

Policy and Procedures for Responding to Allegations of Research Misconduct