Responsible conduct of research and scholarship: implications for social work research.

Author:Delva, Jorge

As the number of students and faculty in schools of social work conducting research continues to increase, especially research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), they have also had to pay greater attention to the subject of responsible conduct of research and scholarship (RCRS). NIH and NSF mandate that undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students, and postdoctoral fellows, receive training on RCRS. In this editorial, we provide a brief summary of the history and nature of RCRS followed by examples of two differing RCRS training programs including a discussion of corresponding benefits and challenges. We conclude with recommendations for social work research and questions social work educators and researchers need to consider concerning RCRS education.

RCRS refers to "the practice of scientific and scholarly investigation with integrity. It involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research and to scholarship" (see Attention to the subject of research integrity became a public issue in the United States in 1981, when the first congressional hearing was held on the subject propelled by a series of allegations of misconduct (see In fact, all aspects of research misconduct concerning NIH-funded research fall under the authority of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity (see As a result of this increased attention to research integrity, legislation has been passed to improve the procedures by which applicants, institutions, and federal agencies prevent and address research misconduct.

One of the significant changes occurring since 1989 when NIH submitted the first notice of policy related to instruction on research integrity (see 1989_12_22_Vol_18_No_45.pdf) is that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving any NIH support for training receive instruction in RCRS. Specifically, as stated in NIH's NOT-OD-10-019:

NIH requires that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant must receive instruction in responsible conduct of research. This policy will take effect with all new and renewal applications submitted on or after January 25, 2010, and for all continuation (Type 5) applications with deadlines on or after January 1, 2011. This Notice applies to the following programs: D43, D71, F05, F30, F31, F32, F33, F34, F37, F38, K01, K02, K05, K07, K08, KU12, K18, K22, K23, K24, K25, K26, K30, K99/R00, KL1 KL2, R25, R36, T15, T32, T34, T35, T36, T37, T90/R90, TL1, TU2, and U2R. This policy also applies to any other NIH-funded programs supporting research training, career development, or research education that require instruction in responsible conduct of research as stated in the relevant funding opportunity announcements (see guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-10-019.html)...

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