Author: Sara Burke, 2002
Contributors: Dena Plemmons and Michael Kalichman, 2005-2010

The Office of Research Integrity (ORI) maintains a list of a variety of free resources and materials for teaching responsible conduct of research at:

An ongoing series of seminars is another useful way to promote discussion and understanding of the ethical dimensions of research. Some features of this format are:

  • sessions are typically offered weekly or monthly, ranging from 1 to 2 hours
  • the focus is on voluntary discussion, rather than mandatory attendance
  • asking faculty to lead seminar discussions is an excellent way to promote faculty involvement

A primary disadvantage is that a seminar series is not an ideal approach to teach a specific curriculum or to certify completion of an identifiable program of instruction in the responsible conduct of research. It can also be difficult to engage graduate students other than as audience members unless the series is intentionally crafted to do so.

Workshops are another commonly used format for teaching about the responsible conduct of research. Some features of this format of instruction are:

  • these are typically scheduled as one-day events, with several offered throughout a semester/quarter, ranging from 1-8 hours each
  • they represent an ideal opportunity to deliver specific information (e.g., institution-specific policies and procedures)
  • they can include case-based discussions

A primary disadvantage of such discrete meetings is decreased opportunity for continued development of and reflection on a topic (e.g., with homework assignments); additionally, such a format may not afford participants the opportunity to develop rapport with one another.

The Leadership Development Institute (LDI)
National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA)

The National Council of University Research Administrators is designed for research administrators at colleges, universities, and teaching hospitals. The society sponsors annual meetings, regional meetings, and offers special workshops on fundamentals of research administration. To promote leadership skills, the NCURA has organized a new training initiative, the Leadership Development Institute, to develop leadership and mentoring abilities of its members. Limited to 25, participation is awarded to members through competitive review of applications. There is no registration fee, but accepted participants must pay their own travel and lodging costs for the one and one-half day workshop, and they must also attend the NCURA annual meeting. Topics include communication and motivation skill development, managing volunteers in a nonprofit environment, and case studies in nonprofit leadership. Each participant is assigned a volunteer mentor to provide additional guidance, support leadership growth, and assist with problems that may develop during the training. Applications are available on the NCURA website.

Contact information:
National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA)
One Dupont Circle, N.W., Suite 220
Washington , DC 20036

Research Integrity Certificate Program
Society of Research Administrators International

The Society of Research Administrators International is a non-profit organization providing support to research administrators worldwide. The SRA offers a Research Integrity Certificate program, which provides a foundation for identifying, understanding and addressing the complex ethical dimensions of conducting research. Those completing the certificate program will have obtained a basic understanding of topics associated with research integrity - including cultural aspects, goals for facilitating research integrity, and strategies for creating an institutional culture that values ethical and responsible practices in research. Topics addressed may include data ownership and management, social responsibility, animal welfare and human subjects protection, peer review, collaboration, mentoring, authorship, research misconduct, international research, and conflict of interest and commitment.

Contact information:
Camille Nebeker
Director, Division of Research Affairs
San Diego State University

Biomedical Ethics Seminar Series
University of California, San Diego

The purpose of the Biomedical Ethics Seminar Series, now in its 5th year, is to provide a forum for faculty, staff, and students to discuss clinical, human subjects, and research ethics. The first organizational meeting was held May 19, 1999. Participants meet monthly on Wednesday afternoons from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. A schedule of upcoming topics is developed and posted on the website. In addition, email announcements are sent monthly with information about the topic, speaker, and suggested advance reading materials. The readings can also be accessed online through the UCSD library. A complete list of the seminars since 1999 is available on the website. There are no fees for participation. Use of the online resource information is free and unrestricted, but author permission and appropriate source citation are required for use.

Tough Cases
University of California, San Diego

A related series for students is Tough Cases. This lunch-time seminar meets once monthly and provides an opportunity for medical students, pharmacy students, graduate students, and others anticipating a career in medicine or science to increase awareness of, and sensitivity to, ethical issues. A complete list of the seminars is available on the website. There are no fees for participation. Use of the online resource information is free and unrestricted, but author permission and appropriate source citation are required for use.

Contact information:
Mary Devereaux, Ph.D.
Ethicist and Director for the Biomedical Ethics Seminars
UCSD Research Ethics Program

Research Ethics Program
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0003

Research Ethics Seminar Series
San Diego State University

The Division of Research Affairs at San Diego State University began a Research Ethics seminar series in the Spring of 2005. The series is part of SDSU’s emerging program in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). The purpose of this seminar is to provide opportunities for the SDSU research community (faculty and students) to explore ethical issues that arise when conducting research and discuss approaches to address these challenges. The series meets once a month, for 1.5 hours each presentation. The series features a different SDSU research project each month. Each speaker will provide a description of their research, identify ethical issues or challenges inherent to the research or identified during the course of the study; and present strategies implemented to address or resolve the ethical issues. Each session will conclude with a question and answer period with the audience. Additionally, one of the sessions is devoted to a graduate student panel on a topic of interest specific to graduate education in research ethics. In the Spring semester, the panel focused on the availability of discipline specific instruction in research ethics. Other topics included research with vulnerable populations, and research on sensitive topics.

Contact information:
Dena Plemmons, Ph.D.
Research Ethics Coordinator

Division of Research Affairs
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-1643

Life Science Ethics Triangle Workshops
North Carolina State University

The Research and Professional Ethics Program offers a seminar/workshop series for students, faculty and the public. Seminars introduce ethical theory and methods, present information about graduate student and faculty responsibilities, discuss the philosophical foundations of the professions, and explain relevant university policies and regulations. With other departments the program co-sponsors a diverse group of speakers from industry and government as well as other universities. There are also one-day workshops for departments and online interactive modules to assist researchers thinking through sensitive matters.

Contact information:
Lonnie Balaban, Program Coordinator

Research and Professional Ethics Program
822 DH Hill Library CB#8101
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695

Responsible Conduct of Research
Michigan State University

Designed for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the context of professional development and presented annually, this workshop series explores a broad range of issues in responsible conduct of research. The series is designed to emphasize ethical analysis and problem solving. Content is organized into 2.5 hour sessions over the course of an academic year. The following topics have been recently presented: responsibilities of students and their mentors; ethical challenges of contemporary academic research; integrity in data collection and stewardship, scientific misconduct, and whistle-blowing; safety and security in the academic workplace; research with human subjects; and scientific objectivity and conflicts of interest. Course sessions include lectures and discussions; and substantive supplemental resources such as case studies, readings, news, and links to additional information for the course are available online. Although sessions are free to faculty, students, and staff of the university, pre-registration is required. Participants may register for individual sessions (at least one week prior to the session) or, as recommended, for the entire series. Completion of the entire series meets criteria for RCR training as required for participation in research funded by the Public Health Service. While developed for internal use, there are no restrictions in accessing or printing the site information, but author’s permission and appropriate source citation are required for use.

Contact information:
Terry A. May, Ph.D.
Director of Research Development

Offices of the VP for Research and Graduate Studies
The Graduate School
Michigan State University
118 Linton Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824

Survival Skills and Ethics
University of Pittsburgh

Designed by Beth Fischer and Michael Zigmond for graduate students and professionals, this series of eight monthly 5-hour workshops, first offered in 1985, promotes professional development and ethics and is offered over the fall and spring terms. Discussions of responsible conduct are integrated into the instruction, as are issues of particular relevance to minorities and women. Current topics include skills necessary for success (planning, selecting mentors, time and stress management), oral presentation, teaching, advancement, writing research articles, grantspersonship, job hunting, and career options. There is a $5.00 advance registration fee per workshop, $10.00 for on-site registration. Use of online resource information is free and unrestricted, but author permission and appropriate source citation are required for use.

Contact information:
Beth A. Fischer and Michael J. Zigmond

University of Pittsburgh
The Survival Skills and Ethics Program
University of Pittsburgh
Hieber Building, Suite 202
3500 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213