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Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Toolkit Print Email


Tools for developing programs on
responsible conduct of research
for postdocs


Kathleen Flint, Ph.D.
Project Manager
National Postdoctoral Association


The NPA's RCR Toolkit provides advice on developing responsible conduct of research (RCR) programming for postdocs. It is intended for those developing programs, but may also prove useful for individuals seeking information on RCR topics.

The toolkit was developed as part of the NPA's Bring RCR Home Project, with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research Integrity (Contract #HHSP23320072201TC)

Download the Full Toolkit:
NPA RCR Toolkit (PDF)


Table of Contents

An introduction to RCR for the postdoc, including a list of RCR topic areas for emphasis

Quick Start Guide
Suggestions on how to begin planning an RCR training program and some good introductory resources

Determining the Goals and Content of your Program
Basic advice on designing a program, including identifying objectives

RCR Topics for Postdocs
A brief overview of some key RCR content areas, specific issues within each that are important for postdocs, and suggestions on references and course materials

A. Data Acquisition, Management, Sharing and Ownership

B. Mentor/Trainee Responsibilities

C. Publication Practices and Responsible Authorship

D. Peer Review

E. Collaborative Science

F. Research Misconduct

G. Communication and Difficult Conversations

Tailoring RCR Programs to Postdocs
Some guidance on tailoring an RCR program to postdocs

Choosing a Program Format

An overview of some different program formats with model programs

Sample Agenda, Syllabuses, and Materials
Downloadable samples of agendas, syllabuses, flyers, brochures, evaluation surveys, presentation slides, case studies, and postdoc performance evaluations

RCR Surveys and Program Evaluation
A brief overview of some commonly used tools for evaluating the effectiveness of RCR programs with links to some model tools.

Marketing RCR Programs to Postdocs
Some advice and suggestions for attracting postdocs to professional development programming


Selected References on the Responsible Conduct of Research
An annotated bibliography of general references and online resources on RCR topics and RCR training with particular relevance for postdocs

NSF 2010 RCR Requirement


If you know of an RCR program for postdocs at your institution or in your community that you would like to share, please e-mail NPA Staff.


Please complete a short feedback questionnaire on the toolkit and tell us how it might be improved!


Latest Toolkit Updates:

  • June 29, 2010:
    • Minor formatting changes and copy editing
  • Oct 8, 2009:
    • Addition of Sample Agenda, Syllabuses and Materials section
    • Separation of section on RCR Topics for Postdocs from Determining the Goals and Content of Your Program
    • Addition of overview of new NSF RCR requirement for postdocs
    • Minor text edits




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