Office of Research, UC Riverside
Office of Research Integrity

CITI Instruction for RCR Requirements - draft July 8, 2019


This page reviews the principles of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) and the use of CITI courses to satisfy RCR training requirements.

Please note: this is not the same as the Human Subjects Research (HSR) training required for IRB applications. For instructions regarding HSR training, go to this page instead.

What is Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)?

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) involves the awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research. Projects funded by NSF and NIFA have different requirements regarding training that vary by funder and role on the study.

RCR courses vary by discipline. You only need to complete one of these based on your field of study:

  • Biomedical Responsible Conduct of Research Course
  • Social and Behavioral Responsible Conduct of Research Course
  • Physical Science Responsible Conduct of Research Course
  • Humanities Responsible Conduct of Research Course
  • Responsible Conduct of Research for Engineers

Projects funded by NSF and NIFA have different requirements regarding training in RCR. NIH RCR training requirements cannot be met by completing CITI courses since it must be face-to-face or in-person training.

What units on Campus are involved in RCR training?

The Office of Research and Economic Development (RED) and the Research Ethics Education Program (REEP) have developed an Institutional Plan to Meet Federal Requirements for Training and Oversight in the Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research.

Do I have to complete RCR training?

UCR strongly encourages all students and faculty to complete RCR training. If you are working on a project funded by NSF or NIFA it is likely that some RCR training requirements apply to your participation. See below for details.

What are the training requirements for specific funding agencies?

This table shows federal funding agencies that have requirements for RCR training

Federal Funder Minimal Requirement for RCR Target Audience (who must do the training) CITI RCR

NSF Online or face-to-face training Undergraduates,
Graduate students,
Postdoctoral researchers
NIFA Online or face-to-face training Faculty,
Program Directors,
Undergraduate students,
Postdoctoral researchers,
any staff
Includes faculty training
NIH Face-to-face training/interaction

Trainees, Fellows,
Scholars, Participants

X Must be completed at least once during each career state and at least once every 4 years

Where do I obtain the required training?

If you have NSF or NIFA funding, you can use CITI's online RCR training to fulfill the RCR training requirements. See the instructions below.

Where can I find more information regarding RCR?

Several resources are available for UCR researchers. The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) provides RCR information on its Resources Page. ORI also offers a seminar series that deals with topics in human subjects research and compliance. Finally, many professional societies and governmental licensing authorities have adopted policies or best practices that might be usefully considered.

Whom can I contact?

If you need to arrange for in-person RCR training, or are interested in templates for tracking training, contact the Director of the Research Ethics Education Program, Dr. Dena Plemmons at or 951-827-4312

For information regarding online training and requirements, contact RED's AVC Charles Greer at

Additional Information Regarding RCR


NSF requires training in RCR for any undergraduates, graduate students, or postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF to conduct research.

Each institution is responsible for the content requirements of its RCR training program, and the frequency with which such training must occur. NSF understands that some institutions would like NSF guidance about content for training in responsible conduct of research. However, NSF believes that the research community, encompassing both individual researchers and institutions, is best placed to determine the content of RCR training without a need for NSF specified standards. Furthermore, NSF recognizes that specific training needs may vary depending on specific circumstances of research or the specific needs of students intending to pursue careers in basic or applied science after completing their education. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each institution to determine both the content and the delivery method for the training that will meet the institution’s specific needs for RCR training in all areas at that institution for which NSF provides support. Furthermore, each institution must decide if development of content or pedagogical method is required, or if appropriate content and training can be provided from some existing sources or capabilities, and take appropriate action to implement their decisions.


NIFA training requires training of those above as well as Faculty, Program Directors, and Staff.

The responsible and ethical conduct of research (RCR) is critical for excellence, as well as public trust, in science and engineering. Consequently, education in RCR is considered essential in the preparation of future scientists. By accepting a NIFA award the grantee assures that program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff participating in the research project receive appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research and that documentation of such training will be maintained. Grantees are advised that the documentation of the training are subject to NIFA review upon request.

Note that the training referred to herein may be either on-campus or off-campus training. The general content of the ethics training, at a minimum, will emphasize three key areas of research ethics: authorship and plagiarism, data and research integration and reporting misconduct. Each institution will be responsible for developing its own training system, as schools will need flexibility to develop training tailored to their specific student needs. Grantees should consider the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program for RCR. Typically this RCR education addresses the topics of: Data Acquisition and Management - collection, accuracy, security, access; Authorship and Publication; Peer Review; Mentor/Trainee Responsibilities; Collaboration; Conflict of Interest; Research Misconduct; Human Subject Research; and Use of Animals in Research.


Online training cannot be used to satisfy RCR training requirements for NIH.

While on-line courses can be a valuable supplement to instruction in responsible conduct of research, online instruction is not considered adequate as the sole means of instruction. A plan that employs only online coursework for instruction in responsible conduct of research will not be considered acceptable, except in special instances of short-term training programs..., or unusual and well-justified circumstances.


Instruction should involve substantive contact hours between the trainees/fellows/scholars/participants and the participating faculty. Acceptable programs generally involve at least eight contact hours. A semester-long series of seminars/programs may be more effective than a single seminar or one-day workshop because it is expected that topics will then be considered in sufficient depth, learning will be better consolidated, and the subject matter will be synthesized within a broader conceptual framework."

CITI's Online RCR Training

Step One: Create/Access Your Account

a. New CITI Users (use UCR institutional email if available)

  1. If you have never registered for CITI courses, navigate to the CITI website and click the Register link
  2. Affiliate with UCR by typing the full name: "University of California at Riverside"
  3. Provide the requested user information and click the Next button

b. Returning Users with CITI Accounts Created at UCR

  1. Log into the CITI website
  2. On the Welcome Page in the Learner Tools section, click the Add a Course link

c. Returning Users with CITI Accounts from Other Institutions

UCR accepts CITI certifications, regardless of employer, if the training was completed within the past three years. See the instructions for retrieving certificates of completion. Please submit a copy to You may be required to re-take the above modules in CITI if the previous training did not include human subjects training or if it was completed more than three years ago.

  1. Log into the CITI website using your username and password from the other institution
  2. On the welcome page, click the Add an Affiliation button
  3. Choose University of California at Riverside as your institution
  4. Provide the required profile information and click the Next button to advance to the curriculum selection

Step Two: Select Curriculum

The Select Curriculum page contains several questions designed to help you choose courses to be added to your profile.

Be sure to choose training from the relevant RCR category.

For most of the questions, you can only make one selection, but courses can easily be added later.

The courses related to RCR appear in Question 1, so select the one that most closely matches your discipline.

For the remaining questions, select No or Not at this time, depending on the options available.

At the end of the Select Curriculum page, click the Submit button. A message indicates that your enrollment was successful.


You can start the training right away or complete it later by exiting and logging back into the CITI website.

Step Three: Obtain a Certificate of Completion

CITI automatically records your training completions, so your RCR training completion can be verified by UCR staff. However, you may choose to generate a certificate of completion for your own records. This is especially useful if you completed the training through a different institution.

  1. Log into the CITI website
  2. Click the View Courses button to go to the Courses page, where you can review a list of your complete and incomplete courses
  3. Click the View-Print-Share Record button for the completed course
  4. Select the method you prefer for sharing your completion and click the associated button

For Technical questions, contact CITI at or 1-888-529-5929.

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