The CITI program: an international online resource for education in human subjects protection and the responsible conduct of research

Acad Med. 2007 Sep;82(9):861-4. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31812f7770.


Since 2000, the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) program has evolved into an international resource for education in human subjects protection and the responsible conduct of research (RCR). More than 600,000 people at more than 715 institutions in dozens of countries have made use of CITI's online curricula. Although this Web-based resource was created in response to federal requirements for education in human subjects protection, the author's evaluation suggests that learners value and respond to the content in ways that transcend mere compliance. Recent expansion of the CITI model to address the RCR is motivated by such evidence, despite the absence of global federal requirement for RCR training. The authors give an overview of the CITI project, report and analyze evaluation data, and discuss the very idea of online education in research ethics. Although the authors exercise extreme caution in suggesting that CITI or any other four-hour curriculum will be causally related to any reduction in misconduct, they submit that when all members of the team are educated about common moral standards and appropriately mentored, the temptation for misbehavior by any one member is reduced, better science is promoted, and the public trust is preserved. At the very least, providing RCR education is a positive and useful means of reminding taxpayers and others that the same investigators who are spending their billions on research are simultaneously striving to ensure that integrity is woven into the fabric of the scientific enterprise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / ethics
  • Academic Medical Centers / standards*
  • Biomedical Research / education*
  • Biomedical Research / ethics*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Curriculum
  • Ethics, Research / education*
  • Human Experimentation / ethics*
  • Human Experimentation / standards
  • Humans
  • Internationality
  • Internet*
  • Online Systems*
  • Professional Competence
  • Program Development*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Research Personnel / education*
  • Research Personnel / ethics
  • United States