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Research Integrity

University of Illinois students, faculty and staff are expected to adhere to the highest ethical standards. Sites selected for the Research Ethics pages are designed to increase understanding and facilitate the discussion of current ethical issues. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the external sites are not those of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Illinois.


Campus and Federal Agency Requirements

The National Science Foundation mandates that its funded projects provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research for all graduate students, undergraduate students and postdoctoral researchers supported on awards resulting from any full proposals submitted or due on or after January 4, 2010.  The NIH also requires that all trainees, fellows, participants, and scholars receiving support through any NIH training, career development award (individual or institutional), research education grant, and dissertation research grant receive such training. Similarly, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has mandated that, effective for awards subject to the February 2013 Research Terms and Conditions and those issued subsequently, program directors, faculty, undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and any staff participating in the research project receive appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research. Multiple campus resources are available and many units provide training that is customized to particular fields of study. The Principal Investigator on each award is responsible for ensuring that those supported on the award receive appropriate training.

Campus Reporting Requirements

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (OVCR) annually queries all academic units with graduate students to ensure that programs exist in the responsible conduct of research (RCR) to satisfy the federal requirements. The OVCR also queries PIs of funded NSF, NIH, and USDA-NIFA awards, requesting a report with the names of all personnel who have completed RCR training and a description of the training completed by each required participant.



University personnel assure quality and integrity in their research and publications primarily by self-regulation, by adherence to individual ethical codes and professional standards, and by reference to the traditions and collegiality that characterize research institutions. This document articulates University policy on academic integrity in research and publication, and prescribes procedures for impartial fact-finding and fair adjudication of allegations of academic misconduct. Although it focuses upon deterring and penalizing unacceptable conduct, its purpose is to promote compliance with the highest scholarly standards.

A variety of informal practices exists within the University for addressing questions and controversies that may arise concerning the conduct of scholarly activities. Most problems are and should be handled by reasoned discussion or informal mediation at the level of University organization closest to the persons involved. It is nevertheless incumbent upon a research university both to articulate its policies on academic integrity and to provide effective procedures for institutional treatment of incidents of academic misconduct that cannot be handled satisfactorily by informal or mediational procedures.

Many professional associations have ethical codes and guidelines for the conduct of research; University personnel are expected to comply with such standards. Violations of professional standards are a matter for peer review and censure; in some instances, they may become grounds for University disciplinary action as well.

University staff members in leadership or supervisory positions have a special obligation to foster academic integrity in their relationships and in their work. By virtue of their positions, they are mentors. Their examples of fastidious compliance with ethical standards, their exercise of supervisory responsibility for the work of senior and junior associates, and their good judgment in resisting assignments in which the number of reporting investigators or volume of work is more than can be supervised carefully, will be observed and followed.

Additional information about ethics and integrity in research publications provided by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

For further information contact:

Howard Guenther
Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
Research Integrity Officer

416 Swanlund Administration Building
(217) 333-6771


RCR Training Resources

Ethics CORE, the national online ethics resource library

Contains a vast array of curricular resources (online courses, reference materials, scholarly and research literature. In addition, the site’s interactive community offers a place where users can publish and share scholarship, discuss ethics-related issues for professionals and researchers and develop and share new course offerings. Users are encouraged to share resources that they have developed, and faculty from around the country have contributed everything from videos to role-acting activities.

National Center for Professional and Research Ethics, NCPRE

The NCPRE brings together information on best practices in research, academia and business in an online portal and center.  The Center will develop, gather, preserve and provide comprehensive access to resources related to professional and research ethics for many audiences. It will provide information and expertise for:

  • instructors who teach ethics

  • students with questions about research integrity

  • researchers and engineers who encounter ethical challenges in practice

  • administrators in universities

  • businesses who oversee ethics and compliance policies

  • scholars who conduct research on professional and research ethics

  • others with questions or interests in these areas

Center investigators hail from diverse backgrounds, including business, law, civil engineering, education, electrical and computer engineering and library sciences. The project draws on the University’s strengths in engineering, digital library technologies, mathematics, medicine, business, law and other fields.

Center for Professional Responsibility in Business and Society

Promotes a national vision that articulates societal expectations of professional responsibility and accountability at both the individual and organizational level.  Because society depends on business professionals to exercise sound judgment and to perform with a high degree of competence while attending to daily matters, the Center focuses on these complex and multi-dimensional professional attributes and how they must be nurtured in order to be attained. It also provides intellectual leadership and resources that advance the understanding of ways professionals can serve the public interest in the context of an ever-changing business environment. Those involved with the Center explore the concept of professional responsibility in its broadest terms and are committed to infusing their findings throughout the curriculum and sharing that knowledge outside the University.

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative, CITI

Customized for use by the Illinois research community according to interest/specialization 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 are attached. Completion of the CITI RCR module by graduate students may be one option for fulfilling the NSF responsible conduct of research training requirement, but is not meant to replace or substitute for more direct, in-person instructional programs.

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research

Provides assistance and advice in matters of research integrity, conflict of interest and export controls.

University Policy and Procedures on Integrity in Research and Publication

"Responsible Professional Conduct: Guidelines for Teaching, Research, and Service”

Academic Staff Handbook

“Academic Integrity and Intellectual Property”

The Graduate College Handbook of Policy and Requirements for Students, Faculty and Staff, 2013

Howard Guenther
Research Integrity Officer
October 2013