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Institutional Policies

Policy RSCH-VP-001

logo of The University of Southern Mississippi  
Responsible University Administrator: Vice President for Research
Responsible Officer: Director of the Office of Research Integrity
Origination Date: 06/25/10
Current Revision Date: 09/13/19
Next Review Date: 09/13/23
End of Policy Date: N/A
Policy Number: RSCH-VP-001
Status: Effective



Policy Statement

All University personnel involved in research and scholarly activities must participate in the Research and Scholarly Integrity Assurance Program.

Reason for Policy/Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to set forth The University of Southern Mississippi’s requirements for participation in the Research and Scholarly Integrity Assurance Program, also referred to as the Integrity Assurance Program (IAP). The purpose of the program is to 1) enhance understanding and foster discussion of the relevant ethical and professional norms of research and scholarship; 2) to encourage USM researchers and scholars to follow best practices of research and scholarship in their work; and 3) to provide the educational opportunities and resources necessary for Southern Miss to meet the demands of various sponsor RCR training requirements, including the National Science Foundation’s implementation of the America COMPETES Act (NSF), the latest National Institutes of Health regulations (NIH), and the latest Public Health Service (PHS) regulations concerning disclosures of financial conflicts of interest (FCOI).

Who Needs to Know This Policy

This policy applies to all members of the University Community involved in research, scholarly or creative activities under the aegis of the University: graduate faculty members, including regular, research, clinical, part-time, and adjunct faculty; all graduate students; all of those involved in human subjects research, including members of the University’s IRB and investigators; all of those involved in animal research, including members of the University’s IACUC, investigators, and animal facilities managers and employees; all research staff, including scientists, postdoctoral fellows, project or lab directors and managers, technicians and assistants; and Honors College and selected other undergraduate students.

Website Address for this Policy



CITI Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative, which provides USM with a series of educational modules written by various national experts.
FCOI Financial Conflicts of Interest
IACUC Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee
IRB Institutional Review Board
ORI Office of Research Integrity
RCT Responsible Conduct of Research, the phrase used by the federal agencies to refer to mandated research ethics training
SPA Sponsored Programs Administration



This policy requires all individuals involved in research, scholarly or creative activities under the aegis of the University to participate in the University’s Research and Scholarly Integrity Assurance Program. The IAP includes two components: online educational course modules hosted by CITI and on-campus workshops and forums.


I.A Online Courses

All program participants must complete a CITI “Common Course.” Different versions of the Common Course are designated depending on an individual’s discipline of interest and relationship to the University. Faculty members, graduate students, staff members, and undergraduates each have their own Common Course, as do USM Arts & Humanities faculty members and graduate students, as do Honors College students and select other undergraduates. Additional courses also may be required, depending on an individual’s activities and responsibilities.  The relevant Common Course must be completed by the end of an individual’s first semester at USM.

Members of the University’s IRB and investigators applying for IRB approval must complete the IRB course and keep Common Course and IRB course certificates active (non-expired). 

Members of the University’s IACUC and animal facilities managers and employees must complete the IACUC Members course; investigators applying for IACUC approval must complete the IACUC course. Both must keep Common Course and IRB course certificates active (non-expired). 

Investigators applying for a grant from one of the Public Health Service agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), must complete the FCOI course.

Individual departments, Deans or graduate advisory committees may expand these requirements for individual students.

To pass a course, a cumulative score of 85% or better is required for all (but not each) of the quizzes in the course.

As developed, ORI may substitute a USM-produced online module hosted on Canvas or a comparable mode of online delivery, in place of one or more of the CITI modules.


I.B On-campus Forums and Workshops

All program participants are encouraged (but not required) to attend on-campus forums and workshops sponsored by ORI.Topics may include scholarly misconduct, research on human and animal subjects, conflicts of interest, collaborative research, data management and record-keeping, and grant-writing.




ORI is responsible for providing access to the CITI course modules, and also for scheduling, promoting and managing on-campus workshops and forums. Materials related to both are maintained and continuously updated on the ORI website. ORI is also responsible for keeping up-to-date and accurate records of all program participation. Upon passing an online course, CITI sends a certificate of completion to ORI. Individuals should download a copy for their own records. ORI also records attendance at online workshops and forums.


Graduate Faculty status is dependent on completion of the Common Course requirement. The Graduate School is responsible for assigning Graduate Faculty status and also monitors that the appropriate Common Course has been completed. Completion of refresher courses is not required for faculty members whose certificates expire, except when required for IRB or IACUC purposes, as indicated above.  The Graduate School adds completion of the Common Course requirement to graduate students’ Degree Requirements and is responsible for ensuring that this requirement is satisfied.

ORA is responsible for ensuring that investigators submitting grant proposals have completed the appropriate requirements.

The Honors College is responsible for ensuring that HON 300 students have completed the appropriate Common Course.

Principal Investigators are responsible for ensuring that all staff members reporting to them complete the relevant requirements. Research supervisors are responsible for ensuring that postdoctoral fellows involved in research have completed the appropriate Common Course.

ORI is responsible for ensuring that the relevant IRB, IACUC, and Financial Conflict of Interest requirements have been satisfied. 


This policy will be reviewed every four years by the Vice President for Research and the Director of the Office of Research Integrity with recommendations for revision presented to the University Research Council for consideration. 





Related Information



Amendments: Month, Day, Year – summary of changes


06/25/10: Origination

05/31/12:  Amended

03/14/13: Formatted for template. Name change from Responsible Conduct of Research.

11/2/15: Substantial Revision

10/19/17: Reviewed.

11/10/18: Minor Revision.

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