Responsible Conduct of Research

At the George Washington University (GW), we are committed to fostering a research environment that is guided by the highest standards of research ethics and integrity. Conducting research responsibly is crucial to producing objective and unbiased results and maintaining the public’s trust as stewards of research funds.

GW encourages all of its faculty and students to be familiar with professional and ethical standards in academic research in general as well as in their chosen fields. Ongoing Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training is a critical part of these efforts. RCR training provides researchers with the tools they need to make ethical decisions and is also required by many federal research sponsors.

Responsible Conduct of Research Training

Faculty and students engaged in certain sponsored or academic research programs are required to participate in RCR training. Discussion of the issues raised by this training is an important element of professional development.

RCR topics include:

  • Animal Research
  • Collaborative Science
  • Human Subjects Research
  • Intellectual Property and Commercialization
  • Peer Review
  • Responsible Publication, Authorship, and Copyright
  • The Mentor-Mentee Relationship
  • Data Management
  • Research Misconduct
  • Conflicts of Interests
  • Reproducibility and Replicability
  • The Scientist as a Responsible Member of Society

NSF and NIH Training Plans

Certain individuals supported on National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Institutes of Health awards must complete RCR training:

  • National Science Foundation (NSF) - Mandatory for all undergraduate and graduate students, and postdocs supported on any NSF award.

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Students, faculty and other researchers supported on certain NIH training, career development, research education, and dissertation research grants are required to complete RCR training.

Read more about NSF and NIH training plans including who is covered and how to complete required RCR training.

GW Policies and Standards

GW has multiple policies and standards related to RCR topics:

Please note that GW also has policies regarding compliance, ethical responsibilities in conducting research, and required training for human subjects protection, animal protection, and protection of health and laboratory safety when working with hazardous materials. 

For a list of GW polices including those focused on RCR, please see GW’s Policies.

Writing Resources

GW offers resources to assist students in being responsible writers. GW’s Code of Academic Integrity administered by the Office of Academic Integrity represents our community’s commitment to academic honesty. The office is available to consult on issues of academic integrity.

  • RefWorks is an online tool supported by Gelman Library that helps writers organize their research and create bibliographies—and avoid inadvertent plagiarism in the process.
  • The WID Studio offers a range of resources and references on writing, including guidance on avoiding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty.

Research Administration Trainings

The Office of Sponsored Projects in the Office of the Vice President for Research conducts periodic training sessions on research administration. For a list of upcoming events please go to the OSP website.