Responsible Conduct of Research Training

Ethical standards and responsible practices are the context for successful scientific research. At any step in the research process, you may need to address ethical issues in a thoughtful, responsible manner. The CTSI Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Center serves as a resource for researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. Our objective is to provide education so that you can learn to effectively recognize and avoid research misconduct and understand the resources that are available to support your research.

Explore Our RCR Topics

RCR Topics

  • Conflict of interest
  • Data Acquisition
  • Research Misconduct
  • Human Participants, Animal Subjects, Lab Safety
  • Mentor/Mentee
  • Collaborative Research
  • Responsible Authorship
  • Peer Review
  • Scientist in Society


Continued updates on newly scheduled RCR sessions will be posted to this page. Please check back for more information.

To register for upcoming RCR sessions, visit the CTSI Events Page.


Spring 2021 Schedule

Establishing Positive Culture in Clinical Research

April 14. Noon - 1 p.m. Zoom.

Presented by Sanjay Patel, MD, MS, Professor of Medicine, Director, Sleep and Cardiovascular Outcomes Center.

Having a positive culture in the workplace is vital for optimizing productivity and this is particularly true in clinical research labs where teams must work together to be effective. Challenges to establishing and maintaining the work environment in clinical research will be reviewed as well as strategies to foster a high performance culture. (subject matter: collaborative research)


Using Electronic Lab Notebooks

April 20. Noon - 1 p.m. Zoom.

Presented by Carrie Iwema, PhD, MLIS, AHIP.

This workshop will focus on the Electronic Lab Notebook (ELN) selected by the University of Pittsburgh, LabArchives. We will cover how to get started using it, including access, lab notebook creation and organization, adding and editing entries, linking, and sharing data. (subject matter: data acquisition)


Confronting Research Misconduct – What You Need to Know

April 21. Noon - 1 p.m. Zoom.

Presented by Craig Wilcox, PhD, Research Integrity Officer.

Attendees will learn how federal regulation and University policy define research misconduct, and what to do if they observe possible misconduct. Case studies will be presented, and the University response to allegations of research misconduct will be described, including the process of investigation and sanctions. Attendees will also learn steps to take that can help reduce the possibility of research misconduct in their laboratories.(subject matter: research misconduct


Inclusion of English Learners in Clinical and Translational Research

April 29. Noon – 1 p.m. Zoom.

Presented by Maya Ragavan, MD, MPH, MS, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

 This session will provide an introduction to equitably including communities whose primary language is not English into research. Inclusion of non-English speaking communities is essential to promoting health equity and ensuring that our work centers the perspectives of the growing immigrant and non-English speaking communities in Pittsburgh. Objectives of this RCR include: 1) understanding the inclusion of non-English speaking communities into clinical and translational research, from a health equity and anti-racist perspective; 2) reviewing best practices for translations; and 3) building bilingual and bicultural research teams. (subject matter: human participants)


Animal Research Protections and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

April 30. Noon – 1 p.m. Zoom.

Presented by Deborah L. Chapman, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Chair, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

This workshop is for researchers using vertebrate animals in research and education. It will cover 1) the role of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), 2) laws and agencies that govern how the IACUC functions, 3) the IACUC protocol submission and review process, including who can submit a protocol, turnaround time, tips for writing a protocol,  4) training and who to reach out to for additional help with animal research, and 5) how to maintain compliance. (subject matter: animal subjects)


Study Closeout and Archiving

May 4. Noon - 1 p.m. Zoom.

Note: This workshop is the final in a series of five workshops co-sponsored by CTSI Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Core and the RCR Center.

Presented by Heather Eng, CTSI BERD.

The study database is rarely the final resting place for data. Data may be shared throughout the project, and at study closeout must be archived and, as requested, publicly shared. Techniques in sharing, deidentification, and archiving will be discussed. (subject matter: data acquisition)


Informed Consent 101

May 19. Noon - 1 p.m. Zoom

Presented by Michael Green, MD, MPH, Professor of Pediatrics, Surgery & Clinical and Translational Science, Clinical Translational Science Institute University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

This session will include a discussion of ethical & regulatory implications of informed consent, protecting participant rights, and ways to help participants understand biomedical research in the hopes to form a more honest, trusting, and respectful relationship with clinical investigators. Case-studies will be discussed. (subject matter: human participants)



Previous Sessions

Responsible Conduct of Research Principles and Application, presented by Teri Reiche, CTSI, on November 18, 2020. Principles of Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) that promote safe, ethical, and successful research will be examined. Case studies illustrating specifics such as conflict of interest and research misconduct will be discussed, along with information on federal and university research resources that are available for investigators and students. (subject matter: scientist in society)

Community Partner Research Ethics Training (CPRET): A Strategy for Improving Recruitment and Retention, presented by Bee Schindler, LMSW, and Erricka Hager, MPH, Community Engagement Coordinators, CTSI Community PARTners, on November 19, 2020. Join us to learn about a Pitt-IRB approved research ethics training for community partners. CPRET was designed to help principal investigators and research coordinators tailor research ethics training for a specific study and to encourage dialogue with community members who will participate on the research team. This training is particularly relevant for investigators engaged in clinical and translational research involving community stakeholders. Investigators have the opportunity to create and discuss scenarios that may arise in the course of their specific study while ensuring that Core research ethics principles – i.e., autonomy, beneficence, and justice – are defined and reviewed (subject matter: collaborative research)

Conducting Ethical Human Participant Research, presented by Teri Reiche, CTSI, on November 24, 2020. This workshop discusses ethical issues and policies, using recent cases to highlight ethical principles governing human participant research. Attendees will learn to recognize lapses in ethical research practice and the importance of human participant safety in conducting successful clinical research. (subject matter: human participant research)

Preprints, How, Why, and Should I? presented by Melissa Ratajeski, MLIS, AHIP and Carrie Iwema, PhD, HSLS, on December 4, 2020. In this workshop, we will discuss the facts and myths of preprint publication, addressing the questions: “What are preprints?” “Can I still publish in a peer reviewed journal?” (subject matter: responsible authorship)

Pitt + Me + Kids, presented by Kerri Jackson & Heather Rockwell, CTSI, on December 8, 2020. The Pitt + Me Research Recruitment Program is CTSI’s strategic platform for study recruitment, engagement, and retention. Come to this workshop to find out how your study team can recruit the pediatric participants you need to meet your research aims, using Pitt + Me. (subject matter: human participant research)

Best Practices for Reproducible Science, presented by Janette Lamb, PhD, Genomics Research Core, Health Sciences Core Research Facilities, on December 14, 2020. It has been estimated that at least 50% of basic and preclinical research cannot be reproduced. How can project design contribute to robust, reproducible data? We will discuss how replication can lead to greater data confidence, what controls are appropriate and how N affects high content technologies. (subject matter: data acquisition)

Communicating Science, presented by Judy Cameron, PhD, Department of Psychiatry on January 12, 2021. All audiences want to learn interesting new scientific information and have it delivered as a good story in an understandable format. This workshop will assist you in learning how to convey the importance of your message while being interesting, maintaining the attention of the audience and making the learning process enjoyable. An overview of scientific communication skills, including knowing your audience and why they are interested in the information you are speaking about, how to translate scientific jargon into understandable concepts for the public, and how to keep the audience engaged will be presented. (subject matter: scientist in society)

Authorship Conflict, presented by Tetsuro Sakai, MD, PhD, MHA, Professor of Anesthesiology and CTSI, Vice-Chair for Professional Development, Director, Resident Research Rotation, Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, on January 14, 2021. Upon the completion of this workshop based on actual examples of authorship conflict observed in an academic center, the attendees will be able to describe authorship eligibility in scientific manuscripts, indicate potential types and causes of authorship conflict, and discuss possible methods to solve, address, and avoid authorship conflict. (subject matter: responsible authorship)

“3R” Literature Searching for Animal Research Protocols, presented by Melissa Ratajeski, MLIS, AHIP, Health Sciences Library System, on January 21, 2021. Researchers using warm-blooded species (other than birds, mice of the genus Mus, and rats of the genus Rattus) classified in the USDA Pain Classification D or E are required to conduct a literature review addressing the 3Rs: Refinement, Reduction, and Replacement.  This session will provide tips for searching the literature and meeting the IACUCs requirements. (subject matter: animal subjects)

Mentoring and Teaching Students, presented by Bill Yates, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Research Protections and Professor of Otolaryngology, on January 26, 2021. Providing education to diverse populations (e.g., residents, medical students, graduate students, undergraduate students, lay members of the public) is an important component of a scientist's responsibilities. However, unlike K-12 teachers, scientists receive little or no formal education about teaching strategies. This workshop is intended to provide general education strategies that are effective for any audience. (subject matter: mentor/mentee)

Using Animals Responsibly in Biomedical Research, presented by Amy Cassano, DVM, DACLAM, cVMA. Attending Veterinarian of DLAR, on January 28, 2021. This workshop discusses considerations and practical approaches to the responsible conduct of animal based biomedical research. Strategies to foster productive, collaborative working relationships and facilitate successful animal research at the University of Pittsburgh will be presented. (subject matter: animal subjects)

Managing Conflict of Interest: Protecting the Integrity of Research, presented by Jane Volk, Office of Research Protections, Conflict of Interest Division, on February 2, 2021. This workshop introduces the importance of conducting safe, ethical, and successful research. Topics include conflicts of interest and research misconduct. Attendees will be equipped to identify RCR issues and policies that guide their research management. (subject matter: conflict of interest)

Managing Up, Down, and All Around, presented by Doris Rubio, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research Education and Training, Health Sciences, Director, Institute for Clinical Research Education, Professor of Medicine, Biostatistics, Biomedical Informatics, Nursing, and Clinical Translational Science, on February 4, 2021. Leadership involves successfully managing relationships with people above, below, and lateral to you in the academic hierarchy. This session highlights the importance of these relationships and provides tips on managing your mentor (up), being a good mentor and staff supervisor (down), and providing peer mentorship to colleagues (all around). (subject matter: mentor/mentee)

Study Design (RCR/BERD workshop), presented by Stephen Wisniewski, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology, Co-Director, Epidemiology Data Center, Vice Provost for Budget and Analytics, on February 9, 2021. For a research study to successfully answer the clinical question being addressed, the appropriate study design must be implemented.  The purpose of this workshop will be to provide a basic overview of common study designs, as well as the advantages and limitations of each approach. Note: This workshop is co-sponsored by CTSI Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Core and the RCR Center. (subject matter: data acquisition) 

(Don’t) Lie with Statistics, presented by Li Wang, MS, and PJ Grosse, CTSI Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design, February 10, 2021. How do you know your statistics are done right? In this workshop, we will present accounts of misleading or inaccurate use of statistics in research and provide approaches on how to avoid these common pitfalls. (subject matter: research misconduct)

Creating a Data Collection System (RCR workshop), presented by Heather Eng, CTSI BERD, on February 11, 2021. In this workshop, you will learn how to build a REDCap longitudinal data collection system that includes eConsenting, automated surveys, quality control features, simple reporting, and exporting your data for analyses. Note: This workshop is the second in a series of five workshops co-sponsored by CTSI Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Core and the RCR Center. (subject matter: data acquisition)

The Publication Process: An Editor’s View, presented by Bill Yates, PhD, Vice Chancellor for Research Protections and Professor of Otolaryngology, on February 17, 2021. In today’s competitive funding environment, productivity is extremely important. However, the peer review process has been compromised by time constraints of researchers. This session discusses the problems that may occur during peer review of manuscripts (including ethical concerns), and the steps that authors can take to address these problems. The session is intended to provide insights into how an author can best guide their paper successfully through the peer review process. (subject matter: responsible authorship)

How to Partner with and Recruit in Schools, presented by Lisa Ripper, MPH, CPH, CTSI Community Health Research Manager, and Dr. Elizabeth Miller, MD, PhD, FSAHM, Director, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine Medical Director, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh; Academic Co-Director, CTSI Community PARTners (Community Engagement Core), University of Pittsburgh, on February 18, 2021. There are special considerations and processes for how to partner with schools to conduct research in schools as well as to recruit for research studies through schools. We will share experiences partnering with schools to facilitate research and will lead a discussion about how to work with schools. (subject matter: collaborative research)

Bias in Scientific Literature, presented by Keith Vogt, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Departments of Anesthesiology & Perioperative Medicine and Bioengineering, on February 25, 2021. In this workshop, we will discuss sources of bias in scientific literature, including: falsified and incorrectly analyzed data, possible bias from publishers and media, the impact of proliferation of low-impact and predatory journals, and current research culture favoring positive results and little replication. (subject matter: peer review)

Data Collection: Monitoring and Reporting, presented by Heather Eng, CTSI, on March 4, 2021. Research data must be constantly monitored and reported as it accrues.  We will discuss issues in quality control for completeness, correctness, and logical consistency; specimen tracking; reporting on data accrual; alerting appropriate parties about problems or exceptions; and modifying forms and underlying data mid-study as necessary. Note: This workshop is the third in a series of five workshops co-sponsored by CTSI Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Core and the RCR Center. (subject matter: data acquisition)

An Author’s Responsibilities: Publication and Authorship, presented by Robert Weyant, DMD, DrPH, professor and Associate Dean, School of Dental Medicine, on March 10, 2021. The author’s role in writing, submitting, and ultimately publishing scientific research results ethically will be discussed. Perspectives of the first author, coauthors, journal editors, and other contributors to scientific publication will be addressed. (subject matter: responsible authorship

Relationship Therapy: Investigators and Statisticians, presented by Li Wang and PJ Grosse, CTSI Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design Core, on March 12, 2021. Our objective in this workshop is to go beyond the usual generic advice given to researchers seeking to consult with biostatisticians. We will provide specific suggestions for common problem areas in the investigator/statistician collaboration. Through a series of case vignettes and discussion, we will illustrate the best methods for working productively with a biostatistician on your research. (subject matter: collaborative research)

Pitching Your Science, presented by Aneesh Ramaswamy, PhD, CTSI Project Manager, and Dana Farrell, BS, Project Manager, on March 16, 2021. Pitching your Science is a workshop designed to help you convert scholarly descriptions of your work to succinct, vivid pitches that accurately convey the purpose and promise of your science. Our objective is to enable you to effectively communicate your science to stakeholders at different presentation lengths (30 seconds, 2-5 minutes, 10 minutes) while generating excitement and interest in the work. (subject matter: science in society)

Close Encounters of the Authorship Kind – Why You Need an Authorship Agreement, presented by Colleen Mayowski, EdD, MLIS, University of Pittsburgh Institute for Clinical Research Education, on March 17, 2021. What is an Authorship Agreement? Do you really need one? In this session, we’ll look at several examples of authorship misconduct highlighted in the scientific literature, share evidence of the need for an authorship agreement at the University of Pittsburgh, and provide an Authorship Agreement template that you can customize for your own use. (subject matter: responsible authorship)

Incorporating Equity into Medical Research: Essential Frameworks and Potential Data Sources, presented by Leslie R. M. Hausmann, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, March 23, 2021. This session will provide an introduction to research on disparities in health and health care. Following a brief review of key terms and historical context, the session will orient participants to several conceptual models that have been developed to guide disparities research. The session will end with a discussion of publicly available data sources that participants can use to begin incorporating equity into their own research agendas. Objectives include defining important terms in disparities research, and make important distinctions, such as social justice, differences vs. disparities, health vs. health care disparities, and marginalized populations, describing different conceptual models of health care disparities, and explaining where to find publicly available data sources that can be used to detect disparities in health and healthcare. Attendees should plan to join this interactive discussion on their computers and not by phone. (subject matter: scientist in society)

How the NIH Can Help You Get Funded, presented by Michelle Kienholz, CTSI, March 25, 2021. Using NIH tools and expertise can improve odds of a successful application. In this workshop, we will discuss strategies to make the most of NIH staff and resources to plan and prepare a competitive application and manage the post-submission outcome. Bring questions you might have about the NIH and its grant application and review process. (subject matter: peer review)

It’s Only a Model: What Can and Can’t Be Learned from Computation, presented by Timothy Lezon, PhD, Department of Computational & Systems Biology, on March 30, 2021. Like any research tool, computational modeling is most effective if the user has a good feel for its inner workings. Communication failure between quantitative and wet bench scientists can doom transdisciplinary projects. This session will address the strengths and limitations of computational models, and will explore strategies for effectively communicating across disciplines. (subject matter: collaborative research

Intellectual Property Concepts, presented by Michael Madison, JD, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, on April 2, 2021. The presentation will review basic concepts defining patent law and other IP systems, and how they relate to university-based research, scholarship, and teaching. (subject matter: scientist in society)

Preparing Data for Analysis, presented by Heather Eng, CTSI BERD, on April 6, 2021. Publication of results is the point of a trial, and collected data may need to be groomed and summarized for proper analysis. Topics will include creation of analysis variables and summary datasets, periodic database freezes, and cataloging of analysis data, programs, and results. (subject matter: data acquisitionNote: This workshop is the fourth in a series of five workshops co-sponsored by CTSI Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design Core and the RCR Center.