Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research

Beginning September 2011, all newly hired full-time faculty and undergraduate students who are engaged in research and scholarly activities outside their normal coursework are required by Penn State to participate in the new SARI@PSU program. It is the responsibility of the student's faculty mentor to determine whether or not the student's work meets the University's definition of "research."

The University employs two different ways to determine if a specific activity constitutes "research." The first is drawn from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the second, from Penn State policy. Thus, research is defined as either:

  • "Research" under the DHHS regulations means a "systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge."
  • "Research" means systematic investigation, study or experiment designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge. The term encompasses basic and applied research that may or may not be published in an article, book or book chapter and product development (e.g., a diagnostic test or drug). As used in this policy, the term includes, but is not limited to, any such activity for which research funding is available from a federal, state or local government agency, or a public or private entity, through a grant, contract or cooperative agreement (e.g., a research grant, career development award, center grant, individual fellowship award, infrastructure award, institutional training grant, program project, or research resources award). As used in this policy, research also includes research activities that are not funded or sponsored.

By this definition of research, a student who receives an Undergraduate Research Grant is required to undergo the SARI training.

Faculty mentors should meet with the student and determine which of the CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative) training modules is appropriate for their area of study. To view the optional training opportunities, go to the CITI website, register as a user (this is a proprietary website with restricted access), and log on. Students and faculty report that the training program will take between two and three hours to complete. Registration for the CITI training is found at online at the CITI Web site.