Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
Section 7009 of the America COMPETES Act (codified at 42 U.S.C. 1862o-1) requires NSF to ensure that “each institution that applies for financial assistance from the Foundation for science and engineering research or education describe in its grant proposal a plan to provide appropriate training and oversight in the responsible and ethical conduct of research * * *.” NSF's implementation of this requirement is described in the NSF Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide, Part II—Award and Administration Guide, Chapter IV, Part B and is available at
The Office of Inspector General provides independent oversight of NSF's programs and operations. NSF OIG is responsible for promoting efficiency and effectiveness in agency programs and for preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse. NSF OIG supports NSF in its mission by safeguarding the integrity of NSF programs and operations through audits, investigations, and other reviews.
This information collection is necessary for review of institutional compliance with the responsible conduct of research requirements. NSF OIG will primarily use the data collected to inform the Foundation and Congress whether current responsible conduct of research programs comply with NSF's requirement and to make recommendations to strengthen these programs if necessary. The results of the information collection also will assist NSF OIG in developing a responsible conduct of research oversight plan.
The scope of this information request will primarily address how awardees have implemented NSF's requirement by interviewing three groups of people: (1) Upper-level administrators (e.g., Vice Presidents or Vice Provosts), program administrators (e.g., Research Integrity Officers or Compliance Officers), and trainees who have participated in the program (undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers). From the upper-level administrators, we will request information that will allow us to assess the institution's commitment to the program, including resources (both financial and staff), and how the expectations for the program are communicated to faculty and students. We will request from the program administrators specific information such as course structure and content, participation requirements and options, compliance tracking, faculty participation, resource allocation, and oversight. From the course participants, we will request information about their experiences in the courses with regard to format, duration, content, and the benefits and drawbacks of taking an RCR course. The information collection will be conducted through video-conferencing between NSF OIG and the institutions' participants.
This collection primarily will be used for accountability and evaluation purposes, and to inform Congress and NSF on the outcome of the information collection.
At a minimum, each institution will require 4 hours to complete the information collection. The minimum total time burden for 20 institutions per year is 80 hours and 400 hours per year for 100 universities.