Professor and student working in lab

At Villanova, we are dedicated to nurturing a community of researchers who not only excel in their respective fields but also uphold the highest ethical standards throughout their research endeavors. Our aim is to promote integrity, transparency, and responsible conduct in research to ensure the highest standards of academic and scientific excellence.

On this page, you will find important information and guidelines regarding ethical research practices for faculty, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students, and all research personnel. 

Frequently Asked Quesions

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) refers to the set of ethical principles and practices that guide the conduct of research. It involves maintaining the highest standards of integrity, transparency, and professionalism throughout all stages of the research process. 

As defined by federal agencies and other professional and scholarly associations, RCR encompasses topics such as: research misconduct; human participants; research involving animals; data acquisition, management, sharing, and ownership; mentor/trainee responsibilities; publication practices and responsible authorship and peer review; collaborative scholarship; and conflicts of interests and commitment.

To comply with legal or sponsored programs contractual terms, or professional association policies, members of Villanova’s community are responsible for demonstrating commitment to providing the highest quality education for all students and scholars.

RCR is crucial for upholding the integrity of research and scholarship, ensuring the credibility of findings or scholarly output, and maintaining public trust in academia. Adhering to RCR principles promotes ethical behavior, proper data and scholarly records management, responsible authorship, mentorship, and compliance with relevant regulations, policies, and association or publication requirements. 

All faculty, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, undergraduate students involved in research, and any other research personnel at Villanova are required to complete RCR training. This includes individuals funded by NIH or NSF grants as well as those involved in any research projects requiring ethical oversight.

As a supervisor, manager, mentor, or principal investigator: be familiar with your obligations to promote responsible conduct of research, scholarship, and creative works that are in-line with your discipline. This means ensuring your research team is adequately trained and adheres to best practices in the responsible conduct of research. This could include, for example, providing regular training and education on relevant topics in lab meetings, team meetings, departmental brown-bag discussions, etc.

CITI Training - Villanova has engaged the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) to provide online training in responsible conduct of research. CITI training must be completed every three years. Learn more

On-Campus Training in Responsible Conduct of Research – Villanova University’s Responsible Conduct of Research Training program goes beyond CITI training and includes in-person live training available on a routine basis. Upcoming training dates are available on the University Calendar

Yes, RCR training is not a one-time event. It is essential to stay updated on evolving ethical standards and practices. Therefore, Villanova requires periodic refresher courses to ensure that all research personnel are familiar with the latest RCR guidelines and any policy changes. In addition, federal funders such as NIH and NSF require training specific to one’s career level. For example, NIH requires eight hours of in-person training at each research career stage (e.g., undergraduate, graduate, postdoc, faculty). It is each researcher’s responsibility to understand the training requirements associated with their circumstances.

If you have concerns regarding potential research misconduct, such as data fabrication, plagiarism, or other unethical practices, it is important to report them promptly. This can be done by reporting directly to the Vice Provost for Research, or anonymously through EthicsPoint. Villanova’s process for dealing with possible violations in the responsible conduct of research is detailed in the University’s Research Misconduct Policy. Villanova University employees should also be aware of The Notice to Employees of Whistleblower Protections.

Tolentine Hall, Room 103

Office Hours: Office hours are available to all faculty, staff and students. Please contact the VPR to schedule time to meet.