Scholarship and Research Integrity: SARI @ PSU

The Goal

The goal of the SARI @ PSU Program is to create an awareness and application of established professional norms and ethical principles in the performance of all activities related to scientific research to foster trust among scientists and the public’s support for research.


Training is critical to prepare students to address ethical challenges that may  arise when conducting research. Both the NIH and NSF require responsible conduct of research (RCR) training for students, postdoctoral researchers, and other trainees working on researcher supported by either agency.  Following the precedent of the NIH and NSF, Penn State requires RCR training for all graduate students, post-docs, and new faculty to ensure the ethical conduct of research at the University.


What are the requirements?

The first part is an online course offered through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI Program), and provides a common language and understanding of the history and principles of the responsible conduct of research (RCR).

The second paris an interactive, discussion-based component that provides an opportunity for in-depth exploration of important issues unique to each field of study. Each graduate department or program establishes what can count toward this SARI requirement; for example, some departments may offer their own workshops or incorporate SARI lessons into a required course. The Office for Research Protections also offers workshops that can count toward SARI credit; please note that only two hours of the required SARI discussion-based activities can come from ORP workshops.  See the SARI Workshop Schedule for upcoming events.

How do I fulfill SARI @ PSU requirements?

Those performing research that may be included in, or lead to, a publication or other research report, should participate in SARI @ PSU. Consult with your mentor/adviser or program director to determine the appropriate CITI Program course.

The CITI course you should take is specified in your program's SARI @ PSU plan. For some SARI programs, the CITI course in Human Subjects Research (the "IRB" course) has been designated. For others, students should take the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course. Students should check with their graduate program director for information on which CITI Program course to take.

Graduate student must also complete five hours of discussion-based activities that can be offered by their department and/ or by the Office for Research Protections. Graduate Program Administrators are responsible for tracking information and reporting annually to the ORP. 

Must take the appropriate CITI Program online training. The five hours of discussion-based activities are optional. The faculty advisor will monitor participation.

Since September 1, 2011, all new PSU full-time faculty are required to participate in SARI @ PSU activities. New faculty have 12 months from date of hire to complete the SARI @ PSU requirement, which consists of two hours of RCR educational activities. This requirement may be met through: 

  • any CITI online course 
  • two hours of discussion-based activity, or 
  • a combination of activities 

SARI @ PSU participation should be self-reported to ORP via the SARI@PSU faculty portal. Completion of any CITI course will be automatically recorded in the faculty member’s profile. SARI @ PSU participation records will be shared annually with campus administrators, college deans and department heads. 

SARI@PSU Faculty Portal

Continuing education requirement: Every three years (by the 48th month of employment at PSU, and every three years after that), faculty must report one hour of SARI @ PSU continuing education activity. These requirements can be met by any of the SARI @ PSU activities described above, or by completing an online “refresher course” offered by CITI.

Are you?

Graduate program administrators are responsible for keeping track of students’ progress for fulfilling their SARI @ PSU requirements.  They also submit an updated annual tracking form for their program(s). SARI@PSU tracking forms are due at the end of June and uploaded into a webform(include hyperlink for webform) Program administrators also receive updates about SARI @ PSU, as well as information about upcoming educational events via email. If you are a program administrator leaving your position, please report any personnel changes by contacting us at  

An information sheet about the SARI @ PSU program is available to download and print for handouts.

Many departments within the University offer their own course or seminar on responsible conduct for research to fulfill the SARI @ PSU requirements.  Resources are available to assist you by clicking on this link.

If you need language to verify Penn State's RCR training, feel free to copy and paste the language found at the following link into your grant proposals, or anywhere that a description of the SARI @ PSU is required:

For assistance please contact us at

Do you have more questions?

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.

SARI Program Plan Development for Colleges

Information and tools for planning your college's or graduate program's SARI @ PSU educational program:

Download a SARI @ PSU Program Plan:  SARI@PSU Program Development Template 2015

See an example of a SARI @ PSU Master’s Program Plan: SARI@PSU Program Plan Example (Masters Program)

See an example of a SARI @ PSU Ph.D. Program Plan:  SARI@PSU Program Plan Example (Ph.D. Program)