Virginia Tech™home

Research Integrity and Consultation Service

Contact the Office

About the Research Integrity and Consulation Service

Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requires ethical decision-making. Research activities must also follow applicable state and federal requirements, as well Virginia Tech policies and procedures.

The Research Ethics and Consultation Service (RICS) develops and provides a comprehensive program of training experiences and learning opportunities to infuse ethics, and regulatory knowledge across the university. 

RICS also provides a research ethics consultation service that helps researchers to identify, analyze and resolve complex questions that arise during the development, conduct, and dissemination of research.

Numerous considerations inform the design, conduct, and dissemination of research. Recognizing when those considerations have an ethical dimension can be challenging. An open dialogue about ethics can help researchers to identify ethical issues so that they can make informed, deliberate, and intentional decisions. The Ethics and Innovation Blog provides a forum for the Virginia Tech community to share ideas about the ethical issues that affect their research in Blacksburg, across the Commonwealth, and around the world.

Submission Requirements

  • 500-1,000 words submitted to
  • Original works only
  • Articles should highlight ethical issues in research, public policy, or other scholarly endeavors

Who can submit an article?

  • Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff may submit posts for inclusion in the Ethics and Innovation Blog.
  • External contributors will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

What are the criteria for inclusion?

  • Only original articles will be considered. Academic writing, for example writing that was done for a class, will also be considered.
  • Previously published work will not be published.
  • Articles should highlight ethical issues in research, public policy, or other scholarly endeavors.
  • Articles do not need to be related to science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM).
  • Articles that highlight ethical issues in the humanities and arts are encouraged and will be considered.
  • Articles that do not fall within the scope of the Ethics and Innovation Blog will not be published.
  • Blog posts should be at least 500 words, but no longer than 1,000 words. 500 words is the recommended minimum length, but shorter articles will be considered.
  • Articles with more than 1,000 words will not be published.
  • Authors are encouraged to provide pictures or other graphic features with their submission.
  • Pictures should be submitted with the appropriate permissions and citations when applicable.
  • Pictures that include people’s faces or other identifying information should include permission from those individuals. This does not apply to stock photos.

How often are posts made?

  • Articles will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • The exact publication date will be determined the RICS director, who serves as the blog moderator.
  • The capacity of the webmaster, and the volume of approved articles are among the factors that will affect the publication date.

Who reviews submissions?

  • The RICS director will review articles that are submitted for inclusion in the Ethics and Innovation Blog.
  • Review time will vary but the reviews will be conducted in a timely manner.
  • All authors will notified of the outcome of the review.
  • Determinations are final, but the RICS director may provide feedback, or work with the author to further develop their article.

The SIRC Investigator Series is an enrichment program that provides training on ethical decision-making in research, maintaining objectivity in research, and the ethical requirements for conducting research with human subjects.  

Participants who attend 4 of the 6 trainings will receive a certificate recognizing their effort to seek additional professional development in the ethical conduct of research. These courses complement but will not satisfy graduate program ethics and integrity education requirements. For more information about funding related responsible conduct of research training requirements email or call 540-231-3798.


Subject Area

Virginia Tech Training Information and Requirements


Course Information


Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research On-Line Course

Students and postdocs supported by NSF research funding

Training available through CITI:

Renewal: None

More information:

Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research On-Line Course

PIs, Co-Is, and anyone who is paid on a USDA NIFA award

Training available through CITI:

Renewal: None

More information:

Responsible Conduct of Research

Responsible Conduct of Research

Trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars supported by some types of D, F, K, R, T, and U awards

A minimum of eight hours of face-to-face training is required every four years.

The NIH provides a list of commonly accepted topics for instruction in the responsible conduct of research (RCR). Please reach out to for addtional informaitn about face-to-face RCR instruction.

Renewal: Refresher every four years

The NIH requirement has nine topics for comprehensive research ethics training.

More information:

All graduate students are expected to uphold the Virginia Tech Principles of Community and the Graduate School’s Expectations for Graduate Education as well as the scholarly integrity and research ethics standards of their disciplines. Graduate students must complete degree program requirements for learning about 4 required scholarly ethics and integrity topics plus additional topics relevant to the discipline as follows.

Few pressures in academic life equal the pressure to publish. Key ethical issues surrounding the submission and review of manuscripts and grant proposals include: how to appropriately acknowledge contributions on joint projects, what is expected of authors, and what is expected of reviewers.

Authorship Agreements:

The following documents can help to guide the authorship conversation between collaborators. It is also important to note that unless otherwise stated, authorship agreements are not binding. Instead they represent both parties' understanding and acknowledgment of their mutual intentions. Therefore authorship agreements can and should be revisited thought out the lifecycle of a project.

Whose Names Should be on the Paper?

As collaboration grows in all areas of academia, questions concerning who should be named as an author for a journal article, conference presentation, or grant proposal become more complex. The basic principle that authors should make meaningful intellectual contributions to a project is sound, but it can be difficult to apply, because of the many different possible roles in a project. To address these issues, some journals have begun listing the areas of contribution of different authors, and a number of scholars have suggested quantitative systems for determining authorship.

Another important question is whose names should not be on a paper. Because authorship entails rights and responsibilities, contributors should not be named as authors without their knowledge or unless they review manuscripts.

Rights and Responsibilities of an Author

As the admonition "publish or perish" suggests, the major right of an author is to receive credit for the creative work required by most research positions, particularly in academia. With acknowledgment of credit comes an obligation to accept responsibility for publications as novel, meaningful, and truthful contributions to the field. As those responsibilities suggest, three of the most criticized publication practices include:

  1. Duplicate publication-publishing identical or equivalent materials in more than one place. This is also a form of self-plagiarizing.
  2. Publishing in "least publishable units"-breaking up research to maximize publication credit rather than to create intellectually coherent works.
  3. Plagiarism-claiming credit for the words or ideas of another.

Unless the contributions of co-authors are explicitly identified, all authors take responsibility for the entire paper.

Learn more about Virginia Tech Research Misconduct Resources.

Rights and Responsibilities of a Reviewer

Peer review of papers and grant proposals allocates limited resources-journal space or funding-and improves scholarship. Given the importance of publication in academia, access to unpublished works creates responsibilities for reviewers. In general, unpublished material should be treated as confidential. Manuscripts should not be shown to colleagues. Ideas should not be adopted for use in the reviewer's work. If a reviewer learns something from a manuscript and wishes to pursue it or provide it to another scholar, he or she should ask the editor to arrange contact between author and reviewer, so that a mutually agreeable arrangement can be made. There is one exception to the general principle of holding information learned in a review confidential. If a reviewer learns that research he or she is pursuing will not be fruitful because of the review, the reviewer's work in that area can be terminated.

Reviewers should also be scrupulous about potential conflicts of interest. Potential conflicts of interest should be disclosed to editors and discussed. They can include:

  • A financial interest that could be affected by the research results
  • Knowledge of the author and a personal relationship with him or her
  • Significantly overlapping research programs


Authorship, Publication and Peer Review Guidance From The University of Wisconisn-Madison <>


Image of Kory Trott

Image of Kory Trott

Kory Trott
Director, Research Integrity and Consultation Service

RICS Education and Outreach