NSF Review of RCR Requirements

Thanks to yesterday’s issue of Nature’s “Seven Days” feature, I learned of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) report on compliance to the RCR instruction policy.

The NSF’s RCR mandate came online in 2010, and in 2013 the NSF OIG

contacted 53 institutions to learn how they had implemented their own RCR training in response to NSF’s requirement. We requested and reviewed institutions’ RCR plans and asked a variety of questions of institutional officials and RCR trainees about the institutional plans, such as who gets trained, the format of the training, and the training’s content. [NSF OIG 2017:2]

To make a 14-page report short, “almost one quarter of the institutions in our sample were not in compliance with NSF’s RCR requirements at the time they received our engagement letter” [NSF OIG 2017:3]. I don’t know how well a 75% implementation is good in this situation, but in a college test, 75% is a C.

I applaud the NSF OIG for pursuing this review, and I hope this effort will have a positive result.

NSF OIG. 2017. “OIG Review of Institutions’ Implementation of NSF’s Responsible Conduct of Research Requirements.” (July 25) https://www.nsf.gov/oig/_pdf/RCR_MIR_Final_7-25-17.pdf



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