Ethics Training and Information


For compliance purposes, federal and state sponsors of research require that all faculty, staff, and students engaged in sponsored research be informed regularly about campus policies on research integrity. The University-wide procedures for addressing particular instances of unethical conduct in research and publication are available on the Web at: Under this policy, all members of the University community are expected to observe high standards of academic integrity and ethical behavior in research and publication. Any practice or conduct by a member of the University community that seriously deviates from those ethical standards for proposing, conducting, and publishing research that are commonly accepted within the professional community constitutes academic misconduct in violation of University policy.

Examples of Research Misconduct

Research misconduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • Fabrication: making up data or results and recording or reporting them;
  • Falsification: manipulating research materials, equipment, or processes, or changing or omitting data or results such that the research is not accurately represented in the research record;
  • Plagiarism: appropriation of another person's ideas, processes, results, or words without giving appropriate credit; Intentionally misleading or deliberately false reporting of credentials and related information;
  • Abuse of confidentiality with respect to unpublished materials;
  • Misappropriation of research materials;
  • Evasion, or intentional failure to comply after notice with research regulations, such as those governing conflict of interest/commitment, human subjects, laboratory animals, new drugs, radioactive materials, genetically altered organisms, and safety; and
  • Any other conduct that constitutes a serious deviation from accepted ethical guidelines and professional standards in scholarship and research.

Responsible Conduct of Research Resources

All physics research students should read the document "Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research for Physics Students" before starting research at Illinois. 

Additionally, for a discussion and examples of research misconduct, you should consider reading the Lecture on Scientific Ethics issues and the series of Scientific Ethics case studies from the Physics 596 (Physics Orientation) course.

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (OVCR) at UIUC provides a discussion of and links to information about research integrity and ethics:, and a section on academic integrity in organized research involving graduate students is also provided in Chapter 9 (pg. 64) of the Graduate College Handbook, available on the Web at:

Also, the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs at UIUC provides policies and procedures for integrity in research and publication:

The Office of Research Integrity at the US Department of Health and Human Services provides a responsible conduct of research (RCR) site containing various RCR resources and an interactive movie on research misconduct.

Finally, the American Physical Society maintains a Draft APS Statement on Ethics related to professional and research ethics for physicists. 

NSF Responsible Conduct for Research Training

As part of the America Competes Act, the NSF has implemented a responsible conduct of research (RCR) training requirement for undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral researchers supported by NSF funding. The respective PI's are responsible for identifying personnel supported by NSF grants that require RCR training, as well as documenting the specific training provided and completion date for each individual. Please note that an RCR training module within the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) is now available to UIUC researchers as one option for completing this requirement (please see This utility has been customized for use by campus personnel according to their interests/specialties in the biomedical, social and behavioral, physical sciences, or humanities disciplines. Each course includes basic required modules, plus a number of electives in a variety of interest areas. Upon completion, the participant may print a completion report. The latter will be useful in cases where certified training is required, such as for the NSF or other college/department applications. The condensed instructions for the CITI module are included below.

Responsible Conduct of Research Training Module

The Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) has created a Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) training module that will satisfy NSF and University ethics training requirements. To use this module, please follow these instructions:

  1. Proceed to the following web site:
  2. If it is your first visit to this site, set up a new account by clicking on 'Register Here' and follow the instructions. If you already have an account, login by providing your Username, Password, and clicking on 'Submit.'
  3. On the 'Main Menu' page, click on link for 'View University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign instructions page' and note the basic process:
    1. Click on the 'add a course or update your learner groups' link;
    2. For the RCR training section, proceed to 'Question 3.'
    3. Enroll in a 'Learner Group' appropriate to your interests; for RCR training these include:
      • Biomedical Responsible Conduct of Research Course
      • Social and Behavioral Responsible Conduct of Research Course
      • Physical Science Responsible Conduct of Research Course
      • Humanities Responsible Conduct of Research Course
    4. Click on 'Go Back to Learner's Main Menu'
  4. The 'Learner's Menu' lists your course options; identified are core areas and the option to access a number of case studies:
    1. Click on the red link (Enter or Re-Enter) to Begin/Continue the Course;
    2. Complete the 'Integrity Assurance' module;
    3. Complete the required modules (estimated time 15 minutes)
    4. Complete any twelve (12) of any 'Elective' modules that interest you (~5-20 minutes per module);
    5. When required modules are completed, you can print your completion report through the 'Print' link in the Learner's Menu.
  5. The minimum 'passing' grade has been set by the Research Integrity Officer (RIO) at the UIUC; if you want to improve your score on a quiz, you may repeat any section.
  6. Print or download a 'Course Completion Report' which may be required by your department or your research advisor; a copy is automatically sent to the UIUC RIO.
  7. You may return to the course site to complete other sections or to obtain a copy of the completion report.

If you have any questions about ethics training and requirements, contact the Physics Department Graduate Programs Office (227 Loomis, 333-3645).