Openness in Research
Responsible University Officer: Vice President for Research
Policy Owner: Associate Vice President for Research
Policy Contact: Frances Lawrenz


All research conducted at the University by University faculty, staff, students, visiting researchers, and volunteers must conform to Board of Regents Policy: Openness in Research. Research agreements that do not conform to this policy will only be accepted if the principal investigator obtains an exemption.

The policy does not apply and an exemption is not needed for:

  • Research by faculty members on leave from the University or serving as consultants; or
  • Services performed as an external sale, provided that the results of such services may be published freely in the aggregate or may be used to guide the design of broader research activities.
  • Non research projects.

Note: Clinical trials are subject to this policy.


An open teaching and research environment is fundamental for the free exchange of ideas throughout the University community. Restrictions on who can work on a project and how the results can be disseminated violate this principle. They also may exclude the work from consideration as "fundamental research" in regard to export controls. However, there may be situations when the University must have flexibility to depart from this standard in order to serve a public interest. This policy clarifies the circumstances in which certain restrictions in a research agreement can be accepted by the University while still preserving the principle of open research. It also outlines the process for a researcher to use to request an exemption from this standard and provides guidance for University faculty and staff to use in evaluating these requests.

Primary Contact(s)
Director of Sponsored Projects Administration


Open Research Subcommittee
A subcommittee of the Senate Research Committee that considers requests for exemptions to the Openness in Research policy. The Subcommittee consists of five faculty members, one professional and administrative staff member involved in research, and one student. Three of the faculty, the staff member, and the student are appointed by the Senate Research Committee. The other two faculty members are appointed by the Committee on Committees. The chair is a faculty member, designated by the chair of the Senate Research Committee. Ex officio members include representatives from the Office of the General Counsel and from the Office of the Vice President for Research.
Proprietary research
Industrially-sponsored research that uses the sponsor's proprietary information or results in intellectual property for which the sponsor has an option to an exclusive license. These sponsors often request restrictions on who can discuss the research and under what circumstances. They also may prohibit publication of confidential company information or ask the researcher to delay publication of research results so that they can review the material for proprietary information or take steps to secure intellectual property rights to possible inventions.
Restricted research
Research that is restricted in who can work on the project or how and when the researchers can discuss the results of the project.


Principal Investigator
  • Decide whether to refuse the contract or request an exemption from the Openness in Research Policy. Initiate the exemption request. If requested, participate in discussions with the Senate Research Committee and Open Research Subcommittee. Send statement to Vice President for Research to support or rebut Faculty Senate Research Committee's recommendation.
Faculty Senate Research Committee
  • Chair: Facilitate process of review by full committee and by subcommittee. Complete the Committee's section of the exemption request. Send the exemption request to other Senate committees as appropriate. Provide annual executive summary of exemption requests to the full Faculty Senate.
  • Committee: Consider requests for exemptions from the Openness in Research Policy.
Faculty Senate Open Research Subcommittee
  • Consider requests for exemptions from the Openness in Research Policy and forward to full Senate Research Committee.
Office of the General Counsel (OGC)
  • Assist with contract negotiations. Provide advice to the principal investigator regarding process and implications of requesting an exemption. Complete the OGC's section of the exemption request.
Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA)
  • Grant administrators: Review the Request for Proposal/Application, draft research agreement or draft Material Transfer Agreement for troublesome clauses. Determine whether the research is proprietary or restricted. Working with the Office of the General Counsel, conduct contract negotiations with sponsors. Inform the principal investigator about the open research policy.
  • Director: Provide advice to the principal investigator regarding process and implications of requesting an exemption. Complete SPA's section of the exemption request. Participate in discussions with the Senate Research Committee and Open Research Subcommittee.
Vice President for Research
  • Approve or deny requests for exemptions. Track requests for exemptions and provide annual reports to the Chair of the Faculty Senate Research Committee.


October 2013 - Comprehensive Review, Minor Revision. 1. Expands the exemptions to the policy to include non-research projects. 2.Modifies the process flow diagram and procedure to reflect current practice.
November 2007 - Enhanced and clarified responsibilities.
January 2006
Document Feedback
Date Revised
October 2013
Date Effective
January 2006