Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) is an overarching philosophy for every aspect of the College's research and scholarly activity.  Its goal is to create and maintain a research environment that conforms to the highest ethical principles, fosters intellectual honesty and integrity, and encourages scientific advances of the highest quality. Learn more about Amherst's RCR Training Plan.

Some important shared values for the responsible conduct of research that bind all researchers together include honesty (conveying information truthfully and honoring commitments); accuracy (reporting findings precisely and taking care to avoid errors); efficiency (using resources wisely and avoiding waste); and objectivity (letting the facts speak for themselves and avoiding improper bias).

Questions and Answers

Who needs to take RCR training?

Amherst students, post-baccalaureate fellows, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows conducting research in astronomy, biology, biochemistry/biophysics, chemistry, geology, neuroscience, physics, and psychology are required to complete the online RCR CITI Training Program before beginning their research.

In addition, the following researchers are required by Amherst College to complete CITI Training:

  • Amherst students and postbac/postdoc fellows in computer science, mathematics and statistics, and the social sciences who are paid through NSF or NIH grants
  • Students from other colleges doing research in any department who are paid through NSF or NIH grants

What CITI training modules do I need to take?

It depends on your field of research and your role. To get started on the CITI Online Course, go to the CITI Training Site.  If this is your first time accessing the program, follow the instructions to register here.

Whom do I contact if I have questions?

For questions about accessing CITI, please contact Maureen Manning, mgmanning@amherst.edu, 542-8328

Students and postdoctoral fellows conducting science research at Amherst are encouraged to share their questions and concerns related to the ethical conduct of research with their faculty advisor.

What Are the RCR Content Areas?

While NSF has not specified what content areas should be covered, a researcher should understand how the following concepts apply to research activity: 

  • Collaborative Science
  • Conflict of Commitment
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership
  • Mentor/Trainee Responsibilities
  • Peer Review
  • Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship
  • Research Misconduct
  • Research Involving Animals
  • Research Involving Human Subjects