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RCR Objectives: Introduction

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We developed a set of objectives for teaching the responsible conduct of research (RCR) in nine core areas. To assess the objectives, we set up a test website and brought together a panel of experts online to identify, evaluate, and rate the importance of each topic in an RCR course. The panel used a version of the Delphi method to achieve consensus. Panelists completed three successive rounds of questionnaires. All responses were anonymous.

Round 1 consisted of an open-response format which asked participants to list at least five specific topics in each of the core areas. After each participant had finished Round 1, their responses were condensed, re-worded, and organized into topics and subtopics to enhance clarity and prevent redundancy.

Round 2 involved presenting participants the lists of topics they had generated and asking them to evaluate the importance of teaching each topic in an RCR course. 

Round 3 added to Round 2 by asking participants to rate the importance of assessing each item within an RCR course as well as the importance of teaching each topic. For each question (one on assessing, one on teaching), each topic receiving a vote of “Important” or “Very Important” from at least two-thirds of participants was deemed to meet consensus criteria, and has an asterisk in the final table.

Click on the links below to see the final results.

Panel 1 convened RCR experts to address the following questions: 
1. What should be the overarching educational objectives of RCR instruction? 
2. Are the 9 core areas of RCR instruction complete, or should new core areas be addressed within RCR instruction?

Panel 2 convened RCR and research experts to address the following core areas:
1. Data acquisition, management, sharing and ownership
2. Research misconduct

Panel 3 convened RCR and research experts to address the following core areas:
1. Mentor/trainee responsibilities,
2. Collaborative science, and
3. Conflicts of interest and commitment

Panel 4 convened RCR and research experts to address the following core areas:
1. Publication practices and responsible authorship
2. Peer review