5.   Publication, Data and
        Intellectual Property

Implications of openness   


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Stanford Policy

* Openness in

* Inventions, Patents
and Licensing

* Retention of
and Access to
Research Data

* Export Controls




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* Openness in

* Export Controls:
Information and Resources

* Exports Controls
and International

* Suggestions for
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* Office of
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Publication in peer-reviewed journals is at the heart of the academic research enterprise. Stanford considers openness in research, i.e., the principle of freedom of access by all interested persons to the underlying data, to the processes, and to the final results of research, to be of crucial importance. From the founding of this university, when it was used to attract the first faculty, our assurance of the right to publish research results has withstood a range of challenges. Stanford will not accept, for example, funding for classified or proprietary research projects, where rights to publish results would be limited. As one important consequence of this policy, most federal export controls related to the sharing of information with foreign nationals in research activities on campus ("deemed exports") do not apply to the fundamental research conducted here.

To protect both the individual researcher and the university, PIs should be alert to language in proposals, award notices, or other project documents that would limit openness. Stanford's Faculty Senate Committee on Research has prepared a checklist to assist in reviewing such documents. Any concerns about restrictions on openness or publishability should be resolved before an award is accepted.

In addition, if you are asked by an outside organization to sign a consulting or non-disclosure agreement, you must present them with a statement of Stanford's requirements in this regard.

Participation in scholarly publication is also a key component of the research apprenticeship of students. Donald Kennedy's 1989 paper, linked here, presents a systematic discussion of the topic.

On Academic Authorship

As Stanford has achieved an international reputation for technology transfer, one outcome has been increased interest in patentability and licensing of intellectual property developed at the university. This has brought new attention to issues of openness and publishability, as well as potential conflicts of interest.

Underlying Stanford's intellectual property policies is the principle that University resources should be reserved for academic purposes. The use of research facilities and resources for commercial purposes or for personal financial gain is prohibited. As a recipient of federal research funding, Stanford must report invention disclosures and promote technology transfer for the good of society. Specific provisions, including royalty-sharing, can be found in Stanford's policies.

Finally, after the research project is complete, regulations stipulate the length of time that scientific records and data must be retained. In general, data must be kept for THREE YEARS following the closure of a project (this applies to both scientific and financial records). Special circumstances may require longer retention periods. Lab notebooks are crucial project records, for example, in support of a patent application (see Suggestions for Keeping Lab Notebooks). Records related to human subjects must be kept confidential.


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