Type of Policy
Academic
Effective Date
Last Revised
Review Date
Contact Name
Jason Borenstein
Contact Title
Director of Graduate Research Ethics Programs
Contact Email
borenstein@gatech.edu
Reason for Policy

The responsible conduct of research (RCR) is an increasingly significant component of the education and training of researchers. Policies from federal agencies have contributed to this change. In 2009, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) updated its RCR policy, adding emphasis to the importance of in-person training. That same year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released a new RCR training policy.

As a premier technological university at the cutting edge of education, research, and innovation, the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) is committed to providing leadership in the realm of ethics and RCR. RCR training is central to Georgia Tech’s mission to ensure that students are prepared with the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct themselves professionally and with integrity. Consequently, Georgia Tech enacted the RCR Academic Policy for Doctoral Students described here.

Policy Statement

The RCR Academic Policy for Doctoral Students applies to all doctoral students.

Doctoral students who have a catalog year prior to 2011-12 are not required by this Policy to complete RCR training, but they should refer to the applicability criteria listed in the Georgia Tech RCR Compliance Policy to determine if their source of funding requires RCR training: http://www.policylibrary.gatech.edu/research-support/responsible-conduct-research-compliance-policy.

If this Policy imposes a hardship on a doctoral student who originally had a Catalog Year prior to Fall 2011-12 but now has a more recent catalog year, the student may petition the RCR Program to review the case; for more information on this process, refer to this Policy’s FAQs: http://rcr.gatech.edu/faq-doctoral.

This Academic Policy does not affect undergraduate students or postdoctoral researchers. However, they are still subject to grant and fellowship compliance requirements. 

The Requirements of the RCR Academic Policy for Doctoral Students
As part of their degree requirements, doctoral students must complete:

(1) an online RCR course and (2) in-person RCR training.

(1) The Online Requirement
The online portion of the requirement, an RCR course from the Georgia Tech approved vendor, must be successfully completed within 90 days of when applicable students begin the first full semester of their doctoral program. Information about the online RCR course can be found here: http://rcr.gatech.edu/online-training.

If a student goes past the 90 day time frame, a hold will be placed on course registration until the student completes the online training.

(2) The In-Person Requirement
Students covered by this Policy are required to successfully complete PHIL 6000 OR an academic program’s in-house RCR training approach. The in-house approach must be formally approved by the GT RCR Advisory Subcommittee of the Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee.

Students are strongly encouraged to complete in-person training within the first 12 months of their doctoral program. In general, applicable students who need to take PHIL 6000 will be expected to do so during the first summer session after they begin their doctoral program at Georgia Tech. Additional sections will be available during the fall and spring semesters for those students who would not be enrolled full time during the summer session.

RCR Core Topics Areas and the Criteria for In-House Training Approaches
A proposed in-house approach must include no less than eight instruction hours on the RCR core topic areas in a credit course. The RCR core topic areas are as follows:

(1) Authorship and publication;
(2) Collaborative research;
(3) Conflict of interest;
(4) Data acquisition, management, ownership, and sharing;
(5) Laboratory safety;
(6) Peer review;
(7) Policies regarding the use of human subjects in research;
(8) Policies regarding the use of vertebrate animals in research;
(9) The responsibilities of mentors and mentees;
(10) Research misconduct and policies for handling research misconduct; and
(11) Science and engineering in society.

An in-house approach to RCR training must include all of the above topic areas unless permission has been granted by the GT RCR Advisory Subcommittee to exclude one or more of the topics.

A graduate program must submit a proposal to the GT RCR Advisory Subcommittee by the first working day in November of the current academic year in order for the in-house proposal to be considered for the academic year that follows.  More information about the process can be found here: http://rcr.gatech.edu/sites/default/files/rcr_msphdinhouseguide.pdf

Approved In-House RCR Training Approaches
Students covered by this Policy are required to successfully complete PHIL 6000 OR an academic program’s in-house RCR training approach. Many of the in-house approaches are specific to a particular graduate program. Some utilize a single course; others utilize a combination of courses. The list of in-house RCR approaches is maintained at: http://rcr.gatech.edu/doctoral-courses.

Joint Graduate Programs
Doctoral students covered by this Policy who are part of a joint program must complete the online RCR course within the initial 90 days of their first full semester as a doctoral student. If a student goes past the 90 day time frame, a hold will be placed on course registration until the student completes the training. These students are also subject to the in-person training requirement if they are enrolled and present at Georgia Tech’s Atlanta campus. Joint programs may submit a proposal to the GT RCR Advisory Subcommittee for approval of the in-person coursework at the partner institution. The GT RCR Advisory Subcommittee will apply the same evaluation criteria to such proposals as it does to a proposal for in-house training conducted at Georgia Tech.

Georgia Tech Graduate Students on International Campuses
Doctoral students covered by this Policy who are on Georgia Tech’s international campuses must complete the online RCR course within the initial 90 days of their first full semester as a doctoral student. If a student goes past the 90 day time frame, a hold may be placed on course registration until the student completes the training. If these students enroll at Georgia Tech’s Atlanta campus for at least one semester, they should complete the in-person RCR training component the first semester that they are present on the Atlanta campus.

Tracking and Monitoring
The Administrator of the RCR Program, in conjunction with the Office of Graduate Studies and the Registrar’s Office, monitors student adherence to this Policy. However, doctoral programs must inform their students about this Policy.  Applicable doctoral students can check their RCR training status in DegreeWorks.

The Office of Sponsored Programs in conjunction with the Administrator of the RCR Program is responsible for tracking compliance for students who require RCR training due to their source of funding.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Doctoral RCR Policy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document

Related Information: 
RCR Academic Policy for Doctoral Students website 
RCR Online Training
RCR Doctoral Courses 
RCR Compliance Policy
Responsible Conduct of Research website 
RCR Topics

 

Policy History
Revision Date Author Description
05-2019 Policy Owner Policy updated with revisions
06-2013 Policy Library Update to policy
02-2012 Policy Library Posted new policy