"Responsible Conduct of Research" (RCR) is sometimes used interchangeably with "research integrity" or "research ethics" but these phrases do not always mean the same thing. RCR comprises the ethics of research practice, the promotion of high ethical standards in the conduct of research, and legal-regulatory compliance.
Its importance is integrally connected to the prevention of behaviours that could cause harm to researchers, research communities, research participants, or the public.
Like much of the training that researchers complete–for example, related to research involving human participants, the care of research animals, or on conflicts of interest–RCR instruction is often motivated by the goal of encouraging all researchers to behave ethically, to uphold the highest standards of conduct in research, or it may be a reaction to cases of research misconduct or other unethical behaviours.
When a researcher acts inappropriately, it erodes the trust that the public has in research communities. However, the operating assumption of RCR training is that most researchers aim to "do the right thing" and will do so provided they understand what that means in the context of their own research. RCR training and education is meant to provide that understanding.
RCR Training is available as part of the CITI Program. This training is:
- Mandatory for faculty and graduate students in the Faculty of Applied Sciences
- Strongly encouraged for all faculty and graduate researchers, but particularly incoming faculty, Department Chairs and TPC Chairs.
RCR at SFU follows the principles detailed in Policy R60.01, based on the Tri-Agency Framework on RCR, which include:
- Rigour: Scholarly and scientific rigour in proposing and performing research; in recording, analyzing, and interpreting data; and in reporting and publishing data and findings.
- Record keeping: Keeping complete and accurate records of data, methodologies, and findings, including graphs and images, in accordance with all relevant agreements, policies, laws, regulations, and professional or disciplinary standards in a manner that will allow verification or replication of the work by others.
- Accurate referencing: Referencing and, where applicable, obtaining permission for the use of all published and unpublished work, including theories, concepts, data, source material, methodologies, findings, graphs, and images.
- Authorship: Including as authors, with their consent, all those and only those who have made a substantial contribution to, and who accept responsibility for, the contents of the publication or document. The substantial contribution may be conceptual or material.
- Acknowledgement: Acknowledging appropriately all those and only those who have contributed to research, including funders and sponsors.
- Conflict of interest management: Appropriately identifying and addressing any real, potential or perceived conflict of interest in accordance with the University’s policy on Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment (GP 37).
SFU's Research Integrity Officer is the first point of contact to discuss or report issues related to research integrity.