Purpose: To explore the extent to which U.S. research institutions are meeting or exceeding National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation mandates to provide instruction in responsible conduct of research (RCR).
Method: In summer 2011, the authors sent an e-mail survey to officials responsible for overseeing RCR instructional programs at the 200 top-funded research institutions in the United States and Puerto Rico. They cross-classified the proportions exceeding federal mandates by the types of additional individuals required to receive training and by medical school presence/absence.
Results: Responses were received from 144 institutions (72%); all had an RCR program. Of these 144 institutions, 69 (47.9%) required only federally mandated individuals to take RCR training, whereas 75 (52.1%) required additional individuals to be trained as well. A greater proportion of institutions with medical schools (62.3%; 53/85) went beyond the federal mandates than did those without (37.3%; 22/59). Types of additional individuals required to receive training included all students in selected programs (23.6%; 34/144), all students participating in externally funded research (12.5%; 18/144), all graduate students (11.1%; 16/144), all faculty/staff participating in externally funded research (9.7%; 14/144), all postdoctoral students or fellows (8.3%; 12/144), all doctoral-level students (4.9%; 7/144), all faculty/staff involved in human subjects research (4.9%; 7/144), and all faculty/staff involved in animal research (2.1%; 3/144).
Conclusions: More institutions with medical schools exceeded federal RCR training mandates than did those without. The authors encourage other institutions to expand their RCR requirements to promote research integrity.
Dr. Resnik is a bioethicist, Ethics Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
Dr. Dinse is a principal investigator, Biostatistics Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Resnik, Box 12233, Mail Drop CU 03, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709; telephone: (919) 541-5658; fax: (919) 541-9854; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.