ORI Introduction to RCR
The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) oversees and directs Public Health Serv-ice (PHS) research integrity activities on behalf of the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the American public. This responsibility extends to around $30 billion in Federal research support, devoted primarily to the biomedical and behavioral sciences through intramural and extramural programs, and to the thousands of researchers, research staff, and research administrators who work on PHS-funded research.
As part of its efforts to promote integrity in PHS-funded research, ORI is authorized to undertake activities and to support programs that enhance education in the responsible conduct of research (RCR). The ORI Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research is being issued to further this important mission.
The importance of formal RCR education was first explicitly recognized in the 1989 Institute of Medicine Report, The Responsible Conduct of Research in the Health Sciences, and has since been endorsed by other groups and members of the research community. Thanks to this support, researchers who want to learn about or help others understand responsible conduct in research have many resources available, from formal courses to web-based instruction programs, a growing array of challenging books, and the experience of established researchers conveyed through mentoring.
The ORI Introduction to RCR seeks to supplement existing resources by making a comprehensive overview of basic rules of the road for responsible researchavailable to all PHS-funded researchers. It has been prepared with the needs of small and mid-size research institutions and beginning researchers in mind, since we have often been asked to provide resources for this community, but it may find use in other settings.
In issuing this publication, it needs to be stressed that ORI is not establishing or even recommending how RCR ought to be taught. We understand that responsible conduct in research can be and is learned in different ways, that the standards for responsible conduct can vary from field to field, and that in many situations two or more responses to a question about responsible research may be considered acceptable research practice. We hope the ORI Introduction to RCR will therefore be seen as the beginning and not the end of learning about this important aspect of professional life.
Chris B. Pascal, J.D.
Office of Research Integrity